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Adverse Resveratrol Side Effects

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Expert Fact Checked

Resveratrol side effects may occur at low doses, and may be both good and bad. Resveratrol is the latest anti-aging wonder ingredient found in red wine, red or purple grapes, and several other foods. Since Dr. Mehmet Oz M.D., Oprah Winfrey's frequent talk show guest, touted the benefits of resveratrol, supplement makers have churned out hundreds of resveratrol pills and formulas. Like any food, drug or health supplement, resveratrol supplements may cause side effects, and you should always tell your doctor about any supplements, vitamins or herbal products you're taking since some can interfere with medications.

Resveratrol Side Effects

It's important to note that resveratrol has not been studied by the FDA, nor have any studies on its reported benefits appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Some studies, such as one conducted on obese mice by Harvard University, have shown resveratrol may offer some anti-aging benefits; but, more studies must be conducted using rigorous methods before researchers are willing to grant resveratrol any health claims. Until then, you take resveratrol at your own risk, and you must decide for yourself whether the benefits outweigh potential side effects.

Most of the side effects reported to date are anecdotal. They usually disappear once people stop taking resveratrol supplements. If you experience any sudden side effects such as a rash or difficulty breathing, this may be a sign of a several allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention. While you wouldn't think an ingredient found in wine or fruit could produce an allergic reaction, you don't know what else might be in the supplement. Dyes, additives and even higher than normal concentrations of healthy substances can cause reactions. Seek medical attention immediately.

Reported Side Effects

People taking even the lowest dose resveratrol supplements have reported the following resveratrol side effects,

  • Stomach cramps - users reported stomach cramping within an hour of taking resveratrol supplements.
  • Diarrhea - diarrhea may accompany stomach cramps.
  • Decreased appetite - people taking low dose resveratrol supplements reported a decreased appetite.

At higher doses, resveratrol users reported side effects included more serious effects on the skin and joints.

  • Arthritis pain - although rare, joint pain that mimicked arthritis pain appeared in some people taking 2 grams or more per day of resveratrol. Such people did not have any arthritis symptoms prior to taking resveratrol supplements.
  • Jittery feelings - some users reported feeling tense, nervous or jittery. They described it as similar to drinking too much coffee or sports drinks, likening it to too much caffeine.
  • Tendonitis - like people who developed arthritis symptoms, tendonitis symptoms developed among people taking high doses of resveratrol, typically defined as 2 or more grams per day.

Other side effects reported include tingling or numbness in the arms, legs and extremities.

Other Warnings

The Linus Pauling Institute states that resveratrol may act as an estrogen antagonist or estrogen enhancer, depending on other factors. This means that it may increase the likelihood of estrogen-dependent cancers, such as certain kinds of breast cancer, or it may decrease the likelihood. Whether it boosts a woman's chances of developing cancer is uncertain. Women with a family or personal history of breast cancer may wish to avoid this supplement until more is known about its effects.

Avoiding Side Effects

To avoid side effects, take the smallest dose recommended, and gradually increase the dose if desired. If you feel any side effects, stop taking the supplement, and if they persist, seek medical attention immediately.

A report published at Business Wire indicates that higher quality resveratrol supplements appeared to reduce the likelihood of side effects, possibly because the overall quality was better than generic supplements or the resveratrol extracts were of higher quality. Since there is no peer-reviewed medical literature on the subject, it is difficult to say whether or not a higher quality (and perhaps more expensive) supplement is safer to take, or if that is just marketing hype intended to get people to purchase more expensive products.

Whether or not you choose to take this resveratrol, many side effects have been reported. The safest way to get resveratrol is through enjoying red wine in moderation, or enjoying other foods containing resveratrol such as grape juice, red or purple grapes, or berries.

Adverse Resveratrol Side Effects