Monday, October 7, 2013

Could Resveratrol in Red Wine Give Us a Clue Into the Mechanism of Action Behind Endocrine Disruptors?

The compound most commonly studied in terms of examining the health benefits of red wine is resveratrol.  Structurally, resveratrol is very similar to estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen that is notorious for being given to pregnant women from the 1940s to the 1970s resulting in significant birth defects, with many of the children continuing to have significant health problems throughout the remainder of their lives.  Like DES, resveratrol has been shown to interact with estrogen receptors (ER), though more so with ERα than ERβ.  Unlike DES, resveratrol and its derivatives seem to have a positive effect on health, whereas DES has quite the opposite effect.

Studies have shown that the health benefits of resveratrol and its derivative may be a result of their interactions with estrogen receptors, however, what is unclear is exactly which form or forms of the metabolized compound is most important, or even the relative importance of all of the metabolites together.  A recent study by a group of collaborating scientists from the University of Parma, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Milan examined the interactions of resveratrol and its derivatives in the presence of human estrogen receptors; in hopes to gain further understanding of how exactly resveratrol in its various forms interacts on a chemical level in humans.

"If resveratrol is so structurally similar to DES, a harmful synthetic endocrine disruptor that is linked to a plethora of birth defects and health problems, how could it have such an opposite effect?”

"Could learning about the estrogenic activity of resveratrol help us understand the mechanisms of these more harmful synthetic endocrine disruptors?  Additionally, could understanding the estrogen activity and mechanisms of resveratrol help us develop a sort of “antidote” to harmful endocrine disruptors?" 

Read more on The Academic Wino here....

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