Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a group of compounds thought to act as antioxidants in the body, reducing oxidative stress.
Although grape skin and seeds are rich in resveratrol, and red wine is a natural source, it is usually consumed as a dietary supplement. Other food sources of resveratrol include peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, and even cocoa and dark chocolate.
Treating the Cancer
Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action
Lab and Animal Evidence
Managing Side Effects and Promoting Wellness
Managing or relieving side effects or symptoms, reducing treatment toxicity, supporting quality of life or promoting general well-being
Lab and Animal Evidence
Reducing the risk of developing cancer or the risk of recurrence
Reduced IGF-I and IGFBP-3 in 40 healthy volunteers is limited evidence toward a reduced risk of cancer from resveratrol supplementation.13
Lab and Animal Evidence
The “About Herbs” description of resveratrol cautions patients with hormone-sensitive cancers about using resveratrol supplements. However, while resveratrol exhibits estrogen-like properties, neither of its metabolites do, and so metabolized resveratrol from foods does not display estrogen-mimicking activity in the body.17 Some clinicians actually suggest using resveratrol supplements in some estrogen-influenced cancers, such as uterine.18
Resveratrol is generally well tolerated, although high doses can cause gastrointestinal disturbance. Resveratrol should not be used in conjunction with a few prescription drugs, including antiplatelet drugs, cytochrome P450 substrates and carbamazepine. Patients using any of these medications should consult a medical professional before using resveratrol.
Resveratrol supplements are widely available.
BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated.
Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.
Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:
- Solutions 4 Health
- Breast Cancer Wellness Plan
- Colorectal Cancer Wellness Plan
- Lung Cancer Wellness Plan
- Lymphoma Wellness Plan
- Melanoma Wellness Plan
- Prostate Cancer Wellness Plan
- Natural Medicines Database (requires purchase)
- Also see protocols below.
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
|For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.|
- Programs and protocols
- Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches22
- Bastyr University Integrative Oncology Research Center protocol for stage IV breast cancer23
- Block program24
- Lemole, Mehta & McKee protocols25
- McKinney protocols26
Non-cancer Uses of Resveratrol
Resveratrol is used in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cardiovascular disease. It may protect the liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and it has increased insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients. Resveratrol has been applied topically to reduce acne. BCCT has not reviewed the effectiveness of this therapy for non-cancer uses.
Written by Nancy Hepp, MS, and reviewed by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS; most recent update August 21, 2019. Note: BCCT has not conducted an independent review of research of resveratrol. This summary draws from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs and other sources as noted.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center About Herbs: Resveratrol
- TRC Natural Medicines: Resveratrol (subscription required): in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness and safety and evaluation of specific resveratrol products
- Consumer Labs: Product Review: Resveratrol Supplements (Grape, Red Wine, and Polygonum Sources)
- Moss Reports (purchase required): Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
- ClinicalTrials.gov: studies involving resveratrol
- Keith I. Block, MD: Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
- Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition
- Lone Star Medical Group: Natural Alternative Treatments
- Neil McKinney, BSc, ND: Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition
- Donald I. Abrams, MD, and Andrew T. Weil, MD: Integrative Oncology, 2nd Edition
- EmpowHER: Keith Block: My Activity
- Dwight McKee, MD, editor: Clinical Pearls
- Keith Block and others: A Broad-Spectrum Integrative Design for Cancer Prevention and Therapy
- Barbara MacDonald, ND, LAc: The Breast Cancer Companion: A Complementary Care Manual: Third Edition
- Block KI, Block PB, Gyllenhaal C: Integrative Treatment for Colorectal Cancer