Evaluation of Resveratrol as an anti-cancer food

Evaluation of Resveratrol as an anti-cancer food

Natural active components in the present day are considered as one of the most potent sources in drug development. Isolated from various sources, especially from plants and their parts, these natural components significantly helps in treating or managing various ailments. Cancer is one of them.

Till date, many studies have evaluated the efficacy of certain natural components in form of chemoprotective or synergistic agent in lowering the cancer risk or chemotherapy-related adverse effects and improving chemotherapeutic efficiency of chemotherapeutic drugs. That is the reason, it is recommended to include these components in the diet for cancer patients as these acts as a potent anti-cancer food.


  1. What are the natural plant active components?
  2. What is Resveratrol?
  3. What foods contain resveratrol?
  4. Broad-range functions of resveratrol
  5. Resveratrol as chemoprotective agent
  6. Resveratrol as synergistic agent

What are the natural plant active components?

The active components of plants are the chemicals, renowned with the name of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the bioactive non-nutritive components of the plants, often are secondary metabolites produced by the plants through various chemical pathways.

There are about 4,000 phytochemicals exists with significant therapeutic action in respect to numerous diseases like degenerative, metabolic and cancer. Majorly known phytochemicals are alkaloids, anthraquinones, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, lycopene, phenols, coumarins, quercetin, glycosides and glucosinolates.

Despite these, there is one more phytochemical which has also been well-known for its medicinal and anticancer properties and tend to fight against many health problems. This is resveratrol.

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a non-flavonoid polyphenol, originates naturally as a phytoalexin. Phytoalexin is a compound which activated or formed in response to parasite attack on the host plant. This phytochemical acts upon these parasites and obstructs the fungus development in hypersensitive tissues.

Initially, resveratrol was extracted from the roots of white hellebore by Michio Takaoka in 1940. Today, it is known to be around 70 plant species which contain this phytochemical.

What foods contain resveratrol?

Resveratrol is present in grapes, berries like cranberry, blueberry and bilberry, itadori, peanuts, pistachios, cocoa and purple grape juice in significant amounts. The fresh grape skin is known to contain 50-100 μg/g resveratrol. Other than this, sources like itadori contain this phytochemical in higher levels and peanuts contain lower levels.

Itadori young leaf (867 ± 17 μg/g), itadori old leaf (370 ± 9 μg/g), itadori young stem (497 ± 4 μg/g), itadori old stem (83 ± 3 μg/g), itadori root (2170 ± 9 μg/g), itadori tea (974 ± 2 μg/g), boiled peanuts (1.8 ± 7.1 μg/g), raw peanuts (0.07 ± 1.8 μg/g), red wine (0.98 ± 1.80 mg/L) and grape juice (4 MG/L).

Broad-range functions of resveratrol

One of the major biological roles of resveratrol refers to cardio-protection. Mimicking caloric restriction is another known function of resveratrol. Other than these, resveratrol also exhibits potent neuroprotective, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties.

The anti-carcinogenic properties of resveratrol are also quite popular. Several studies have been evaluated that resveratrol possesses chemopreventive effects, for instance, cardio-protection and neuroprotective actions in cancer patients. Other than these, along with concurrent administration with chemo-therapeutics, this phytochemical is known to reduce the treatment-related adverse events and improves associated drug efficacy.

As we all know how detrimental the cancer disease is as it spreads like wildfire in the body. Intake of anti-cancer foods is found to be helpful in the management of this disease. Moreover, when the phytochemical can also be used as concomitant therapy, the importance of these natural components rise to double.

Let's explore how resveratrol exhibits its anti-cancer and chemopreventive properties:

Resveratrol as a chemoprotective agent

#Nephroprotective and hepatoprotective effects

Resveratrol significantly protects the liver and kidneys from the potential side effects of some chemotherapeutic drugs like As2O3. This is one of the traditional cancer drug used against hematologic malignancies and acute promyelocytic leukaemia.

Resveratrol attenuates the harmful effects of this drug by initiating methylation, improving antioxidant activities and lowering oxidative stress.

#Cardio-protective effects

Cardio-toxicity is one of the major adverse effects of chemotherapeutic agents. Anthracyclines like daunorubicin or Dox are significantly associated with the cardiotoxic effects and may cause arrhythmias, myocarditis, congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy.

The co-treatment of Dox with resveratrol significantly lowers the intracellular ROS levels which becomes the reason behind cardio-toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs.

#Gastrointestinal protective effects

Chemotherapeutic drug-mediated therapy also associated with considerable gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhoea and constipation.

In the context of resveratrol, it has been noticed that intake of the lower dose of resveratrol protects the gastrointestinal tract from gastric mucosa. In another study, the intake of grape juice found to associated with improved tubular dilatation, tubular cell vacuolization and gastric emptying against cisplatin-induced GI problems.

#Skin protective effects

There are several studies which evaluated that resveratrol exhibits potent protective roles against UVR-induced skin cancer. This phytochemical do this function by modulating the proteins associated with apoptosis. It is also noticed that the topical application of resveratrol both before and after the treatment for a long period helps to delay the onset of tumorigenesis.

Resveratrol as a synergistic agent

Along with chemoprotective and chemopreventive impacts, resveratrol also possesses anticancer activity. This phytochemical play role in modulating numerous pathways engaged in the cell cycle, inflammation and apoptosis. Being used in combination therapy with chemotherapeutic drugs, resveratrol also acts as a synergistic agent.

  • It is found that resveratrol inhibits the generation of estrogen-DNA adducts when given along with NacCys in cancer patients.
  • Introduction of resveratrol with a roscovitine-a CDK inhibitor significantly improves drug efficacy.
  • In combination with rapamycin, resveratrol helps to reduce the rapamycin-induced AKT phosphorylation and improves rapamycin anti-tumour activity.
  • Co-administration of resveratrol along with MEL, a renowned alkylating agent used in breast cancer therapy, aids in improving the anti-tumour efficiency of MEL.

Other than these, resveratrol also protects against toxicity produced by carcinogenic substances. For instance,

  • Resveratrol protects the lungs from apoptosis and DNA damage induced by benzo[a]pyrene.
  • Resveratrol partially averts acute liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride.
  • Resveratrol also exhibits a striking impact upon reducing the multiplicity of tumour cells during DMBA-induced mammary carcinogenesis.

It can be seen resveratrol is potent phytochemical to modulate cancer therapy by exhibiting cancer-protective, cancer-preventive and synergistic impacts. So, it can be said that resveratrol is a potent anti-cancer food and should be also included in the diet for cancer patients.

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