July 29, 2006
Q: What is resveratrol? - Layperson
Resveratrol is a substance that is produced by several plants and that is sold as a nutritional supplement. A number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and life-prolonging effects have been reported. Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and as a constituent of red wine may explain the ìFrench paradoxî that the incidence of coronary heart disease is relatively low in southern France despite high dietary intake of saturated fats.
Plants and foods
Resveratrol is produced by plants as an antifungal chemical. It is found in the skins of certain red grapes, in peanuts, blueberries, some pines, such as Scots pine and eastern white pine, and the roots and stalks of giant knotweed and Japanese knotweed, called hu zhang in China. Resveratrol was first isolated from an extract of the Peruvian legume Cassia quinquangulata in 1974.
The amount of resveratrol in food substances varies greatly. Red wine contains approximately 5 mg/L, depending on the grape variety, whilst white wine has much less - the reason being that red wine is fermented with the skins, allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol, whereas white wine is fermented after the skin has been removed.
Chemical and physical properties
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic phytoalexin. It is a stilbenoid, a derivate of stilbene, and is produced in plants with the help of the enzyme stilbene synthase.
It exists as two structural isomers: cis- (Z) and trans- (E), with the trans-isomer shown in the image. Trans-resveratrol can undergo isomerisation to the cis- form when heated or exposed to ultraviolet irradiation.
Resveratrol is available as a mass-produced nutritional supplement but not as a therapeutic agent, although it is registered as an investigational drug. The supplement, first sourced as ground dried red grape skins, has shifted somewhat to include some types of knotweeds as a raw material.
FDA Quote from New Dietary Ingredient Notification:
"First, trans-Resveratrol is excluded from the definition of a ìdietary supplementî under 21 U.S.C. 321 (ff) (3) (B), because it is an article authorized for investigation as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and made public in the U. S."
"FDA authorized trans-Resveratrol, which is also known as ìresveratrolî or 3,5,4í-trihydroxystilbene, to be an Investigational New Drug on January 30, 2001. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined a ìnew dietary ingredientî as one that was marketed in the U.S. on or after October 15, 1994. This office does not have any information that indicates that trans-Resveratrol was legally marketed as a dietary ingredient in the U.S. before October 15, 1994."
Resveratrol is often referred to as a nutraceutical, along with other bioactive plant compounds that are being studied for potential clinical applications such as curcumin, EGCG and silibinin, among others.
In a 2004 issue of Science Magazine, Dr. Sinclair of Harvard University said that resveratrol is not an easy molecule to protect from oxidation. Most commonly available supplements tested have no ability to stimulate Sirtuin 1 enzymes.
Activities and mechanisms of action
Resveratrol interferes with all three stages of carcinogenesis - initiation, promotion and progression. Experiments in various cell types and isolated subcellular systems in vitro implicate a multitude of mechanisms in the pharmacological activity of resveratrol. These mechanisms include inhibition of the transcription factor NF-kB, cytochrome P450 isoenzyme CYP1A1, androgenic actions and expression and activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. Resveratrol has been shown to induce Fas/Fas ligand mediated apoptosis, p53 and cyclins A, B1 and cyclin-dependent kinases cdk 1 and 2, furthermore it possesses antioxidant and anti-angiogenic properties. Due to these discoveries, resveratrol is currently being investigated extensively as a cancer chemopreventive agent.
Resveratrol has recently been reported to be effective against neuronal cell dysfunction and cell death, and may be of use for diseases such as Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Recent research at Ohio State University indicated that resveratrol inhibits the development of cardiac fibrosis.
It is worth mentioning that resveratrol bioavailability is dependent on its conjugate forms: glucuronate and sulfonate, despite almost all in vitro studies use the aglycone form of resveratrol. Furthermore, if resveratrol is taken in with food, most of it is destroyed by the digestive system.
Life extension and anti-aging
Experiments from the laboratory of David Sinclair at Harvard were published in 2003 the journal Nature claiming that resveratrol significantly extends the lifespan of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr. Sinclair then founded Sirtris pharmaceuticals to commercialize resveratrol as an anti-aging drug.
Later studies showed that resveratrol prolongs the lifespan of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In 2006, it was shown that it also extends the maximum lifespan of a short-lived fish, Nothobranchius furzeri, by 59% and the median lifespan by 56%. Also noted were an increase in swimming performance, an increase in cognitive performance (learning tasks), and no neurofibrillary degeneration, which was found in a control group. The authors wrote "the observation that [resveratrol's] supplementation with food extends vertebrate lifespan and delays motor and cognitive age-related decline could be of high relevance for the prevention of aging-related diseases in the human population."
The mechanisms of resveratrol's apparent effects toward life extension are not fully understood.
Seventy years ago, McCay CM, et. al., discovered that by reducing the amount of calories fed to rats, there was a substantial increase in the length of the lifespan - it was almost doubled. For the last seventy years, scientists have proposed hypotheses as to why. Some explanations included reduced cellular divisions, lower metabolism rates, and reduced production of free radicals generated by metabolism. Recently Harvard professor David A. Sinclair has conducted research that provides a new explanation for the lifespan extension caused by calorie restriction. It involves the activation of a gene called Sirt1. When Sirt1 gene activity is increased by genetic manipulation, caloric restriction does not increase it any further. Knocking out the Sirt1 gene also eliminates any beneficial effect from caloric restriction. Resveratrol has been demonstrated to increase the activity of the Sirt1 gene the same way caloric restriction does. When resveratrol increased lifespan, caloric restriction failed to increase it any further. This provides evidence that caloric restriction acts by increasing the activity of the gene Sirt1 and that the benefits of caloric restriction might be had with the use of resveratrol.
Only the trans-form is capable of activating the mammalian SIRT1 gene in vitro; it is also the form predominantly found in red grape skin (red wine).
Recent research by Kaeberlein et al. calls into question this theory connecting resveratrol, Sirt1 and calorie restriction.
Resveratrol has also been seen to increase the potency of some antiretroviral drugs against HIV in vitro.
A cell culture study has found that resveratrol thwarts the ability of the influenza virus from carrying viral proteins to the viral building site, hence restricting the ability to replicate. The effect was 90% when resveratrol was added six hours after infection and continued for 24 hours thereafter.
Metabolism of resveratrol
In humans resveratrol rapidly undergoes phase II conjugation, both glucuronidation and sulphation at multiple sites on the molecule. The effect of conjugation on efficacy is debated .
Did your trans resveratrol just change to cis?
That's what happens when resveratrol is exposed to light, heat
A conspiracy of silence by scientists who know of the real promise of resveratrol, political maneuvering to prevent an anti-aging pill from becoming a reality, the dissemination of misleading science to steer the public away from resveratrol dietary supplements, false advertising claims by supplement companies, the unexplained lack of human trials, and a public thatís not sure it really wants an anti-aging pill, are all part of the modern story behind resveratrol.
Most people mispronounce resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trawl) when they first hear the word. Resveratrol wasnít discovered till 1976. Historically, it has been known that red wine exhibits unusual health properties. Roman soldiers dressed their wounds in red wine. After the great flood subsided and his ark came to rest on dry land, Noah is reported to have immediately planted a vineyard. The Book of Genesis spoke of a ìtree of life.î What was that tree?
Resveratrol 100 A.D.
Wine is wine because it is preserved. Fermented grape juice will turn to vinegar if left exposed to the air. Ancient wine makers were able to ferment grape juice in amphora jars, seal them with a clay cap, then turn the jar on its side and allow fermentation gases to escape from a small hole. The art of winemaking was to seal the jar so it was airtight. The Romans shipped wine on boats to Egypt, and it didnít turn to vinegar. Ancient winemakers were preserving resveratrol, though they didnít know it at the time.
The French reveal its power
In the 1991 the Sixty Minutes television news magazine first reported to the public the phenomenon of the ìFrench Paradox.î The French were consuming more calories, and more fatty foods, than western countries, and experiencing far less heart disease. The French in wine-growing districts are living 25-45% longer. France has the highest concentration of centenarians of any modern country.
In the small town of Roseto, Pennsylvania,it was reported in the 1960s that immigrant male Italians were virtually immune from heart attacks. For four decades researchers couldnít determine why. Now it is known these Italians imported treasured red wine from Italy, which was the apparent reason for their cardiovascular health.
There was other corroborative information. The oldest woman to have lived in modern times, 122 years, was Jean Calment of France. The longest living male, 115 years, was Antonio Todde of Sardinia. Both were wine drinkers.
None of this made much sense till Harvard Researchers announced late in 2003 that resveratrol mimics the health benefits of calorie restriction, an unequivocal method of prolonging the life of all organisms.
A year prior to that, Scientific American Magazine said, now that the human genome had been mapped, and there were only 30,000 genes, and it was known that single genes control the rate of aging, that it would be possible to develop an anti-aging pill. All that was needed was the discovery of the right genetic address and a small molecule that could enter the cell nucleus to switch it ìon.î
It only took a few months for Harvard researchers to locate the gene, sirtuin 1, a DNA repair gene, and its molecular switching agent, resveratrol. This red wine molecule would theoretically overcome the unhealthy properties of the worst diet. It would turn Darwinian biology upside down ñ this discovery represented ìsurvival of the unfittest.î
Big pharma threatened by resveratrol
Pharma companies knew they would have no opportunity to make resveratrol into a drug if the public began to consume resveratrol pills as dietary supplements. They had to do something, before the public caught on. In quick fashion, a pharma-sponsored study hit the news wires, which claimed resveratrol dietary supplements were ìbiologically unavailable.î
Researchers misleadingly claimed resveratrol was orally absorbed but was metabolized by the liver (complexed with glucuronic acid), and was therefore ìout of action.î
Resveratrol has a short half life of around 15 minutes. In less than an hour it would degrade in the body. But the process of glucuronidation in the liver actually preserves resveratrol, keeping it intact for up to 9 hours. Sites of inflammation, infection or malignancy in the body produce an enzyme called glucuronidase, which releases resveratrol from its carrier molecule, and delivers it at the right time in precisely the right place.
Pharmacologists actually utilize this process as a delivery system for prescription drugs. The researchers were being disingenuous. They knew this all along, but the misinformation effectively served to steer the public away from resveratrol pills. Their research was sponsored by a billion-dollar pharma company.
Another subsequent news story about the cancer-prevention properties of resveratrol quoted a researcher as saying too much resveratrol could cause cancer. The researcher later claimed reporters misunderstood what he really said ñ that too much alcohol in wine, not resveratrol, could cause cancer. The researcher never made any effort to correct the mistaken news story. The public was frightened away from red wine pills again.
How to re-arrange a small molecule?
Pharma companies have a problem with resveratrol. It is such a small, simple molecule, that it is going to be difficult to convince patent examiners that any small alterations are novel enough to gain a patent. No patent, no drug.
Molecular weight 228.2482
Molecular formula C14H12O3
Modern medicine stands both in awe and fear of resveratrol. The idea of a ìdrug for this disease and another for that diseaseî could be dismantled by resveratrol. It is difficult to find a malady that resveratrol doesnít address. One researcher is quoted as saying: ìDonít ask what resveratrol can do; there isnít anything that it cannot do.î
Researchers at the University of Illinois state that ìresveratrol holds great promise for future development as a chemopreventive agent that may be useful for several disorders.î [Annals N Y Academy Sciences 2002 May; 957: 210-29] Another research report describes resveratrolís effects as so overwhelming that it exerts ìa whiff that induces a biologically specific tsunami.î [Cancer Biology Therapy 3:889-90, 2004]
THE MANY BIOLOGICAL ACTIONS OF RESVERATROL
Preserves or stimulates superoxide dismutase (antioxidant)
J Agriculture Food Chemistry 2005 May 18; 53(10):4182-6; Free Radical Biology Medicine 2003 Apr 1; 34(7):810-7
Elevates glutathione (antioxidant)
J Agric Food Chem. 2005 May 18; 53 (10):4182-6; Archives Biochemistry Biophysics 2000 Sep 15; 381 (2):253-63
Elevates catalase activity (antioxidant)
Life Science 2003 May 2; 72 (24):2741-50
Prolongs life of cells via Sirtuin 1 gene
Trends Pharmacological Sciences 2005; 26: 94-103
Anti-histamine action (allergy)
Planta Medica 2004 Apr;70(4):305-9.
J Chemotherapy 2004 Nov;16 Suppl 4:3-6; J Environ Pathology Toxicology Oncology 2004; 23(3):215-26
COX-2 inhibitor (anti-inflammatory)
Inflammation Research 2005 Apr; 54(4):158-62
Potentially helpful for rheumatoid arthritis
International Immunopharmacology 2005 May;5(5):849-56
World J Gastroenterology 11: 3171-74, 2005
Promotes DNA repair (via Sirtuin 1 gene)
Nature 2003 Sep 11; 425 (6954):191-6
Inhibits abnormal new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
J Physiology Pharmacology 2005 Mar;56 Suppl 1:51-69
Inhibits dietary sugar absorption
Journal Natural Products 2001; 64: 381-84
Regulates blood sugar
J Agric Food Chemistry 2005 May 4; 53(9):3403-7
Normalizes blood pressure
J Hypertension 2000 Dec; 18(12):1833-40
ACE Inhibitor properties
European J Pharmacology 2005 May 16; 515(1-3):1-9
Prevents blood clots
Blood Coagulation Fibrinolysis 2004 Sep;15(6):441-6
Reduces LDL cholesterol
Life Sciences 2003 Aug 1; 73(11):1393-400
Life Sciences 2003 Aug 1; 73(11):1393-400
Raises HDL ìgoodî cholesterol
J Agric Food Chemistry 2005 May 4; 53(9):3403-7
Inhibits arterial plaque w/o altering cholesterol
Int J Mol Med. 2005 Oct;16(4):533-40.
Calms effects of estrogen (estrogen blocker)
J Steroid Biochemical Mol Biology 2005 Apr;94(5):431-43
Prevents bone loss
J Medicinal Food 2005 Spring;8(1):14-9
Protects retinal cells (retinal pigment epithelium)
Chemical Biological Interaction 2005 Jan 15;151(2):143-9
Increases sperm count
J Nutrition 2005 Apr;135(4):757-60
Inhibits viral growth (influenza)
J Infectious Disease 2005 May 15; 191 (10):1719-29
Inhibits viral growth (HIV)
J Pharm Science 2004 Oct; 93 (10):2448-57
Inhibits viral growth (herpes)
Antiviral Research 2004 Jan;61(1):19-26; 1999 Oct;43(3):145-55
Antibiotic against bacteria (Chlamydia)
Atherosclerosis 2003 Dec;171(2):379-80
Antibiotic against bacteria (H. pylori)
Am J Gastroenterology 2003 Jun;98(6):1440-1
Inhibits growth of fungi (yeast, mold)
J Agriculture Food Chemistry 2003 Feb 26;51(5):1464-8
Inhibits initiation of tumors
Proc Natl Sci Counc Repub China B. 1999 Jul;23(3):99-106
Inhibits growth of tumors
Drugs Experimental Clinical Research 1999;25(2-3):65-77.
Inhibits spread of tumors
Proc Natl Sci Council Repub China B. 1999 Jul;23(3):99-106
Targets multiple genes (silencing/activation)
J Nutritional Biochemistry. 2005 Aug;16(8):449-66.
Protects brain cells
Ann N Y Academy Sciences 2003 May;993:276-86
Inhibits hepatitis (liver inflammation)
Hepatogastroenterology 2002 Jul-Aug;49(46):1102-8
Eradicates plaque in brain (beta amyloid toxicity)
British J Pharmacology 2004 Mar;141 (6):997-1005
Chelates metals (copper)
Biochem Pharmacology 1997 May 9; 53(9):1347-55
Leukemia Lymphoma 2002 May;43(5):983-7
Inhibits prostate cancer
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 2005 Mar;14(3):596-604
Inhibits breast cancer
Molecular Nutrition Food Research 2005 May;49(5):462-71
Neoplasia 2005 Jan;7(1):37-47
Inhibits liver cancer
World J Gastroenterology 2003 Oct;9(10):2341-3
Inhibits brain cancer
Molecular Cancer Therapy 2005 Apr;4(4):554-61
Inhibits pancreatic cancer
Pancreas 2002 Nov;25(4):e71-6
Inhibits kidney cancer
Cancer Biology Therapy 2004 Sep; 3(9):882-8
Inhibits colon cancer
International J Cancer. 2005 Jun 10;115(2):194-201
Inhibits ovarian and cervical cancer
Anticancer Res. 2004 Sep-Oct;24(5A):2783-840.
Cancer Letters 2001 Feb 10;163(1):43-9
Exhibits Viagra-like effects (nitric oxide)
Free Radical Biology Med. 2004 Mar 15;36(6):774-81
Novel molecule for organ transplants
World J Gastroenterology. 2005 Aug 14;11(30):4745-9
J Nutrition 2002 Feb;132(2):257-60
No claim can be made that resveratrol dietary supplements have the same action as demonstrated in the above experiments
Recognize, resveratrol exhibits biological activity superior to drugs like the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, the cholesterol-control drug Lipitor, the anti-diabetic drug Metformin, the anti-cancer drugs Gleevec, Herceptin and Tamoxifen, the blood-pressure controlling drug Vasotec, the memory-enhancing drug Tacrine, the blood vessel dilator Viagra, and the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, to name a few. It makes no difference whether resveratrol is a drug or dietary supplement; it is an entire pharmacopeia (drug compendium). Now what? Billions and billions of dollars of drug sales stand to be replaced by one pill.
Modern medicine ready for a U-turn
A feature editorial in a recent issue of Nature Magazine says the direction of modern pharmacology needs to do an about face. Now that the human genome has been mapped, biology is struck by the fact that single-gene disorders only represent 1% of all human disease. Targeted drugs, so-called ìmagic bulletsî aimed at single genes, like Erbitux and Iressa for cancer, will not work against multiple-gene disorders, which represent the major chronic diseases. Biologists are now searching for small molecules that can be easily absorbed, pass through cell walls, enter the cell nucleus, and influence the genetic machinery of the cell. Trials of a number of small-molecule drugs are underway.
However polyphenols, found in olives (oleuropein), apple skins (quercetin), turmeric (curcumin), pomegranates (ellagic acid), grapes (resveratrol) serve as examples of small molecules, found in nature, that may out-perform any patented molecules pharmaceutical companies design.
Consumers: an anti-aging pill isnít on their wish list
The public is puzzled if not paralyzed. There is no rush to purchase red wine pills. A survey conducted a few years back by MIT showed that most Americans prefer other technological breakthroughs, such as a driver-less car or biodegradable plastic, over an anti-aging pill. Most people think of anti-aging as looking young, keeping a full head of hair, and remaining virile, not living extra long.
When people do ponder the prospect of living 100-plus years, they imagine years of debilitation, being over-drugged, wheelchair bound, and subsisting with poor memory. The red wine drinkers Calment of France and Todde of Sardinia lived 30-35 years longer than the average lifespan, without adherence to any special diet, vitamin pills or exercise. They were active, mentally and physically, to their dying day.
Resveratrol: synthetic or natural?
Pharmaceutical labs have already made synthetic versions of resveratrol. Yet there is little advantage to this. Itís an incredibly cheap molecule to extract from Polygonum cuspidatum, known as giant knotweed, usually grown in Asia. Extracts from red wine are, however, quite expensive.
Resveratrol pills: which one?
For those few futurists and life extenders who have chosen to begin taking calorie-restriction mimics, i.e. resveratrol pills, the choice of products is perplexing. What all the resveratrol pill makers have overlooked is that there are no human studies, not one, to prove resveratrol works in pill form. The only human study in progress is a cancer-prevention trial in Europe. Itís not likely to yield any data for years, and may have intentionally been designed that way.
How to preserve resveratrol
Resveratrol is a fragile molecule once extracted from a botanical source. Exposure to light, and secondarily to oxygen or heat, can degrade resveratrol. Light exposure can quickly alter trans-resveratrol, the active form that triggers the sirtuin 1 gene, into cis-resveratrol.
All of the lab dish and animal studies involve the use of research-grade resveratrol which is provided in a sealed opaque vial, and extracted or synthesized in a nitrogen rather than oxygen environment. To the contrary, no special measures are known to be taken to preserve trans-resveratrol during encapsulation or tableting in dietary supplements. Harvard researchers claim most of the resveratrol dietary supplements they tested are inactive.
Dr.Leroy Creasy (retired) of Cornell University, a leading investigator of resvertrol in wine, has been quoted as saying he could find no significant amounts of trans-resveratrol in dietary supplements. It keeps in a dark wine bottle in a dark refrigerator for some time, according to Creasy.
Longevinexô is the first generation of red wine pill to address bioavailability and preservation of trans-resveratrol. It uniquely combines quercetin, which permits a few more passes through the liver, to facilitate immediate bioavailability, before it is metabolized. Lecithin is added to the Longevinex formula to enhance absorption and facilitate passage into distant organs such as the brain. Rice bran extract is added as a metal chelator and natural preservative.
Longevinexí liquid contents are uniquely sealed in an airtight opaque capsule (Licaps, CapsugelÆ), being filled in a nitrogen environment, all which is the subject of a patent application. Longevinex attempts to provide research-grade resveratrol in a dietary supplement.
The public has great difficulty sorting out which resveratrol pill to purchase. Most resveratrol pill makers are oblivious to the need to preserve resveratrol, as it is in the laboratory.
There are resveratrol pill makers that make overt claims their product cures diseases, which is forbidden by FDA regulations. There are resveratrol pills that claim to provide resveratrol when little can be found by independent laboratory testing. Itís a world of confusion for consumers.
Consumers search for alternatives
Some consumers believe the pill makers arenít leveling with them. They mistakenly believe grapes, grape juice, raisins, peanuts, and mulberries, which contain resveratrol, serve as inexpensive alternatives to pills or wine. There are only trivial amounts (a few micrograms) of resveratrol in these foods. Grape juice is pasteurized, which destroys resveratrol. Only red wine exhibits unusual health properties because it concentrates resveratrol via its natural fermentation/ extraction process.
Red wine consumption is an option, but the alcohol and sugar content are undesirable and the amount of resveratrol provided in red wine is highly variable. Also, some wine drinkers will over-imbibe. Recent studies show many of resveratrolís health benefits are dose dependent, and supplements are required to achieve adequate intake.
Politiciansí attempts to undermine an anti-aging pill
Meanwhile, politicians are not completely unmindful of the prospect of an anti-aging pill. Such a pill could upset insurance actuary tables, pension funding, and more. President Bushís medical ethics advisor, Dr. Leon R. Kass, went so far as to say the government will not fund technology that would cause humans to live beyond the years God intended. Ah, what about Adam, Noah and Methuselah, who are reported to have lived beyond 900 years? Dr.Kass actually gave a speech before an audience of Jewish seniors, trying to talk them into rejecting any life-prolonging technology and into dying on time.
Politicians know about resveratrol. The Rand Corporation recently reported that potential breakthrough treatments - from cancer vaccines to anti-aging compounds - are expected to be enormously expensive for the amount of time they add to life.
Yet, anti-aging pills appear to be more affordable than other technologies. Furthermore, Randís experts canít fathom the idea that one pill may improve health and result in less dependency upon costly other medical treatments.
The long sought after ìfountain of youthî is not a desirable proposition given the population control agenda now underway. Ponce de Leon would be dismayed to learn his long sought after ìfountain of youthî is not something society is ready to adopt.
Researchers are fully aware of the revolutionary impact of resveratrol, but appear to be scheming how to make money out of it before they give their nod of approval. One leading researcher told news reporters that he was fearful resveratrol pills might be harmful. He never disclosed resveratrol would put his anti-aging drug development company out of business. Donít ask the experts about resveratrol, youíll get a slanted answer.
Resveratrol has some potential drawbacks.
It does, like many other medicines and herbs (example: grapefruit), inhibit detoxification enzymes in the liver (cytochrome p450 enzymes), and if other medications are taken simultaneously with resveratrol, the medications might work too well. For example, blood pressure pills taken after a resveratrol pill may cause a person to feel dizzy because their pressure dropped too low. Additionally, resveratrol is not for growing children, women who are pregnant, or for use during major wound healing, since it inhibits growth factors. A couple of people have reported tingling sensations, evidence that nerve growth factors are being inhibited.
Living longer costs money ...
Rand, a non-profit research firm, estimated the cost to Medicare if 10 promising medical technologies were developed and widely adopted. The figures represent costs ó not just for the specific treatment ófor each 12 months of added life the technology brought to an American 65 and older.
What it does or would do
Cost per additional year of life
Anti-aging compound for healthy people
$1-a-day compound adds 10 years to life
Stimulates immunity to cancer
Treatment for acute stroke
New drug reduces cell death after stroke
Anti-aging compound for unhealthy people
$1-a-day compound adds 10 years to life
Limits cancer cell reproduction
New drug delays onset of disease
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
Controls heart rhythm
Insulin-sensitizing drug reduces disease
Limits cancer cell growth
Left ventricular assist device
Sometimes called "artificial hearts"
Pacemakers for atrial fibrillation
New generation of pacemakers
What will happen now?
Most of the public awaits approval from medical authorities, which is not likely to occur. Some people ask, ìwhy hasnít my doctor told me about this?î Others hear of resveratrolís spectacular claims and lump them in with other bogus remedies being peddled by multi-level marketing companies. It will be a tough road for any bona fide anti-aging pill to take hold. The public will simply stand in disbelief.
Will anti-aging pills work?
Just how do anti-aging pills compare to other efforts to live long and healthy? For comparison, life-long cholesterol control will lengthen the human life span by about 6 months; regular physical exercise by 1.5 years; a vegetarian diet after age 35 by 4-7 years. Females gain 5-8 years over males because they avoid iron overload till the onset of menopause. But if a person practices calorie restriction, the consumption of about 1 meal per day (1200-1500 calories), it is estimated they will add about 30-50 years of healthy living to their lives. Resveratrol is a molecular mimic of calorie restriction.
So there is great promise. But there is no absolute way of proving this. Adults would have to practice life-long resveratrol supplementation to see if this molecule significantly prolongs human life. The FDA says the claim that any drug is an anti-aging pill is beyond the design capability of modern clinical trials.
Users of resveratrol pills are launching a great human experiment, buoyed by recent genetic discoveries along with population studies showing wine drinkers outlive their non-drinking contemporaries. Even Benjamin Franklin once asked: ìWhy do winos outlive their physicians?î
If a person intentionally deprives himself of food, various measurable health parameters should be achieved. Blood sugar and pressure should normalize, HDL îgoodî cholesterol should rise, and body temperature drop slightly. The same should occur if taking a calorie restriction mimic like resveratrol. Consumers who use resveratrol pills might want to watch these numbers to determine if dietary supplementation is activating genetic mechanisms that promote health and longevity.
In short, resveratrol lives up to its reputation in fighting cancers, viruses, bacteria, inflammation, obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, triglycerides, and many others. As usual, consult the appropriate healthcare professional familiar with its use.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.