Sometimes it’s possible to make a good thing better, like adding lemon and honey to hot tea when you have a cold. The tea itself is soothing, but adding some tartness and sweetness makes it even more comforting for a sore, scratchy throat.
Some nutrients also work together, each accentuating the other’s strong points while providing advantages of its own. Such is the case with resveratrol, the beneficial compound in red wine, and vitamin D. Each boasts a wealth of supporting research; together they help fight aging and the disorders that accompany it.
One of the biggest health dangers is low-level inflammation, and both resveratrol and vitamin D have shown anti-inflammatory capacities. Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, may play a role in controlling the inflammation seen in Alzheimer’s disease (Molecular Neurobiology 6/10); D deficiency has been linked to increased risk of not only Alzheimer’s but multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease as well (Psychoneuroendocrinology 12/09). This may help explain why lower vitamin D levels have been associated with poorer cognitive performance (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 7/09). D deficits have also been linked with depressive symptoms in older people (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 7/10).
Reseveratrol has shown its own brain benefits. In one study, aged mice whose diets were supplemented with reseveratrol showed less neuron inflammation and better cognitive function (Rejuvenation Research 12/09, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 12/09).
Vitamin D and resveratrol share an ability to protect the heart. In National Institute on Aging research, resveratrol may help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating glucose and blood pressure; low levels may make it more difficult for cardiac tissue to heal after a heart attack.
Helping to defend against disease is one thing. But a growing body of research suggests that resveratrol and vitamin D may retard the aging process itself. Studies have identified a gene called vitamin-D-receptor (VDR) that enhances longevity; low D levels have been associated with greater mortality from all causes (Nutrition Research 8/09). Resveratrol has been found to act on a gene called sirtuin-1, which controls the rate of aging, and to slow age-related decline in older mice (Biogerontology 8/09).
Aging often impairs immunity regulation. Now scientists are learning that vitamin D is crucial to a proper immune response, one that reacts vigorously to threats such as harmful microbes and cancer cells without the out-of-control over-response that marks autoimmune diseases such as lupus. For its part, resveratrol has been found to reduce DNA damage, a key step in cancer development (Age 8/21/10 online).
Brittle bones and weakened muscles are among aging’s most distressing effects. Vitamin D is known for strengthening bones by regulating calcium; resveratrol may also help reduce bone loss (Journal of Bone & Mineral Metabolism 5/11/10 online). Vitamin D has proven helpful in preventing falls, while resveratrol supports healthy body composition by regulating fat cells (BMJ 10/1/09, AJCN 7/10).
Vitamin D and resveratrol are widely available in a number of forms. Some supplements now combine them, using the 5,000 IU of vitamin D supported by recent research.
Getting older doesn’t have to automatically mean illness and frailty. Use vitamin D and resveratrol together to slow the clock of age.