We were initially surprised by the lack of any apparent protection against heart disease or cancer, and no association with lifespan. Since limited animal and cell studies suggested that resveratrol might have beneficial effects, I think people were quick to extrapolate to humans. In retrospect, this was really oversimplified. But there are still ongoing trials, so one must keep an open mind about possible benefits.
- prevent skin cancer in mice;
- protect against high blood pressure, heart failure, and heart disease in mice;
- improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar, and blunt obesity induced by a high-fat diet in rodents;
- protect nerves and the brain in various lab animals.
Estrogen has beneficial effects on conditions like diabetes and obesity but may increase cancer risk. What hasn't been well understood until now is that you can achieve those same beneficial effects with something like resveratrol.
Now that we understand that we can do this through the estrogen receptor, there might be compounds other than resveratrol out there that can do the same thing, only better.