Resveratrol and Antioxidants
All Antioxidants Are Not Created Equal
There are many different antioxidants. There are anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins (also known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs), phelonic acid, etc. Many people think an antioxidant is an antioxidant, but that is not the case. For example when we look at the ORAC score for a fruit, we are not seeing the type of antioxidants in the fruit. So, just looking at the ORAC score can be deceiving. There is much more to be learned about which antioxidant does what. While scientists have focused a lot of attention on the resveratrol in wine to help explain the French Paradox, much more research needs to be done to confirm that the resveratrol is the substance that deserves the attention. Wine has many substances in it and it may be unlikely that just one supplement will duplicate all of the positive benefits thought to come from wine.
More About Antioxidants
Polyphenols are found in plants.
One class of polyphenols are flavonoids.
There are thousands of types of flavonoids.
Two types of flavonoids are Proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins.
Proanthocyanindins (OPCs) are flavonoids that tend to be found in grape seeds and pine bark. Anthocyanidins are flavonoids too and they are found in the skin of a fruit.
There are also many different types of OPCs and anthocyanidins.
Both anthocyanidins and OPCs have antioxidant capacities, but they are not the same.
Here's an example. The acai berry is rich in anthocyanidins but not in OPCs. (Acai contains more polyphenols than just anthocyanidins, but its high concentration of anthocyanidins are what has caused the excitement about this berry. The acai berry is also very rich in phelonics, or phelonic acid. Phelonics are plant metabolites which are antioxidants. Blueberries have a phelonic concentration of about 85mg per 100 grams while acai has a phelonic concentration of about 4500mg per 100 grams. This makes acai a fruit with one of the highest concentrations of phelonic acid in the world.
The takeaway here is that there are many, many different antioxidants in existence.
Maybe the phytochemicals (the anthocyanidins and phelonics) that is also in acai explain some of the French Paradox. Maybe the OPCs in wine explain it. Maybe, it's the resveratrol that explains it. Maybe it's all part of it. Wine certainly has a lot of substances in it. Maybe the alcohol in the wine is an important part of it.
Right now, the French Paradox… is a paradox!
If one believes that the French Paradox can be explained by the high levels of OPCs and anthocyanidins in the French diet, then one may want to take acai berry and resveratrol. But much more research needs to be done to answer these questions, especially on the resveratrol side of the equation.