Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Resveratrol, Fact or Fiction?

The latest fad in the unending search for the cure to the natural aging process is Resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and as a constituent of red wine. It came to scientific attention only four years ago as a possible explanation for the "French Paradox" - the low incidence of heart disease among the French people, who eat a relatively high-fat diet.

Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced by several plants that is sold as a nutritional supplement, which were first sourced from ground dried red grape skins and grape seeds (sometimes from residual byproducts of winemaking), but are now primarily derived from the cheaper, more concentrated Japanese knotweed.

Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, what do we really know about the effects [especially the long term] of Resveratrol? Well, not much. According to Melissa Q.B. McElderry, M.S., R.D.:

Laboratory tests have clearly demonstrated that resveratrol may help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, there are several reasons why recommending a population-wide increase would be premature.

- First, little is known about the absorption and clearance of resveratrol, the identities of its metabolic products, or its effects on the liver. A study in rats showed that resveratrol is absorbed in the gut and has a high affinity for the heart and liver.
- Second, the research on resveratrol has focused on its short-term effects and has been dominated by in vitro studies on non-human models.Third, its role as a potentiator of breast carcinomas may significantly limit its use, even for its "proven" benefits.
- Finally, its main dietary source is red wine. Not only is its concentration in wine extremely variable, but recommending increased consumption of red wine to boost resveratrol intake could certainly do more harm than good. In spite of any beneficial aspects, red wine and other alcoholic beverages pose health risks that include liver damage and physical addiction.

The health-food industry is claiming that resveratrol is the wine component responsible for the "French Paradox." While taking resveratrol pills is certainly safer than heavy consumption of red wine, supplementing with unproven substances is generally unwise. At this point, occasional use of red wine seems far more prudent.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

Please be aware that Resveratrol is so minuscule in your everyday foods and wine, that it get's flushed out easily by your system.

Look for a supplement if you are serious about this. Please read this scientific study to understand why Resveratrol in wine or everyday foods will probably be to small for good health:

http://www.revgenetics.com/pdf/Bioavailability.pdf

Thanks Anthony Loera
www.RevGenetics.com

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