Resveratrol is a phytoalexin that is found in certain plants. A phytoalexin is a compound that is produced by a plant to protect itself from invading microorganisms. Just as bioflavonoids, which are produced by plants as a protection from the oxidative stress of photosynthesis, can protect human cells when ingested, resveratrol may also be beneficial. One place where resveratrol is found is in dark-colored grapes and wine.
An animal study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology (2010 Feb 1; [Epub ahead of print]) looked at the effect resveratrol supplementation had on ulcerative colitis. Acute colitis was induced in six-week old mice and developed into chronic inflammation. The mice were given either a standard diet or a diet fortified with 20 mg/kg of resveratrol. The supplemented group had a reduction in symptoms and a reduction in inflammatory chemicals (cytokines, like TNF-alpha, IL-beta, prostaglandin E synthase-1, COX-2 and iNOS), and the non-supplemented group did not experience these improvements.