Get Ready for the Resveratrol Deluge

Marketers have, for years, made billions of dollars from consumers’ never-ending quest for the quick and easy fix to bad eating habits. Acai berry snack, drinks and pills are just one recent example. It seems like the next wave of health-promoting products will be based on resveratrol, the antioxidant responsible for red wine’s health halo.

In a recent study conducted by Dutch researchers, resveratrol consumption in fat men had a very positive impact:

Without changing their diet or exercise habits, the mens’ metabolic function improved, evidence of inflammation declined, fat deposits in their livers decreased and circulating triglyceride levels fell. While their bodies burned up the same amount of energy over a 24-hour period, their bodies’ resting and sleeping metabolic rate declined and their muscles’ use of fuel became more efficient — signs that they were using and storing calories more like athletes in training than obese couch potatoes. read more from the  Los Angeles Times

Perfect, no? Eat like there’s no tomorrow, take a little red pill before going to bed, and wake up the next day with the body of a triathlete.

What you need to know:

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in some plants. Most notably it is present in the skin of red grapes and as a result, a small amount may be found in red wine. Its role in nature is to protect a plant from attack by fungi or bacteria. Many animal studies have been conducted in the past few years, with huge quantities of resveratrol being fed to various small animals. The results were impressive, from cancer fighting to an increase in lifespan in some invertebrates.

Will supplements based on resveratrol be the new fountain of youth for humans? We highly doubt it. But some smart marketing folks will figure out a way to make gazillions convincing the public otherwise…

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kenleebow Ken Leebow

    We already have a magic pill:

    Dr. James O. Hill states: “Exercise is better than any drug or anything else we have for aging. There’s no downside. If this were a drug, it would be the safest, most effective drug in the universe.”Dr. Stuart Seale states: “Exercise is medicine. It reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, stress and depression. It increases energy and well-being.” 

    Ken Leebow
    http://101.feedyourheaddiet.com

  • Guest

    First of all, I love this blog–but I have a question:

    You say, “Will supplements based on resveratrol be the new fountain of youth for humans? We highly doubt it”.

    Could you give a few reasons for your doubt?

    Thanks!

    • Gerome

      “Guest”, I think the comment is representative of the opinion of the scientific community. There just is not any compelling evidence that resveratrol can make a significant improvement in your health. Given that this is indeed the Holy Grail, there is likely to be a lot of hype piled on top of what will probably be no more than modest (insignificant?) improvements in health. For everyone who complains that nutrition news moves to fast and too erratically, this would be a story to put on the shelf and let it mature before er, uh, drinking the kool-aid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/polimom Sharon Polidan

    everything in moderation!

  • nilda

    I agree that it is not a panacea for good nutrition and exercise, but resveratrol has proven to have very potent anti-inflammatory properties. This is not new science. People with autoimmune or other inflamation based illnesses (anything that attacks itself, the body) may benefit from daily supplements. If you have endometriosis, lupus, RA, etc., you can do the research for yourself and decide. An endo sufferer…

  • Bsardi

    The gazillions have turned to fizzelions.  Resveratrol pills rank 109th in sales of US dietary supplements.  There is over-supply (~345 branded products) and waffling demand.  Consumers are not so sure.  There are only 9 published studies of branded products, 6 by one brand.  The rest are living off of borrowed science.  Will Americans adopt the idea of an anti-aging pill.  Maybe, if somebody else pays for it.  Surveys show most seniors fear living longer and prefer looking younger — smoother skin, thicker hair, viagra are desired.  Look at how much consumers spend today to look younger versus live longer.  The idea of paying for a pill today and realizing the benefit decades later leaves consumers with the idea they may never realize its benefits.   But resveratrol doesn’t stop with anti-aging — it’s already been shown to turn mortal heart attacks in lab animals into non-mortal events, is the most promising anti-cancer molecule on the planet and will soon be announced as way to regain lost sight.  If allowed to, resveratrol will replace hundreds of drugs in one pill.  The prospect of such a pill has pharmaceutical companies trying to ignore this molecule.  All roads may lead to resveratrol, but so far consumers or drug companies have shunned it.  It will continue to be an enigma.  There is no warm reception for the hope of the ages, an anti-aging pill. -Bill Sardi

  • Bsardi

    The gazillions have turned to fizzelions.  Resveratrol pills rank 109th in sales of US dietary supplements.  There is over-supply (~345 branded products) and waffling demand.  Consumers are not so sure.  There are only 9 published studies of branded products, 6 by one brand.  The rest are living off of borrowed science.  Will Americans adopt the idea of an anti-aging pill.  Maybe, if somebody else pays for it.  Surveys show most seniors fear living longer and prefer looking younger — smoother skin, thicker hair, viagra are desired.  Look at how much consumers spend today to look younger versus live longer.  The idea of paying for a pill today and realizing the benefit decades later leaves consumers with the idea they may never realize its benefits.   But resveratrol doesn’t stop with anti-aging — it’s already been shown to turn mortal heart attacks in lab animals into non-mortal events, is the most promising anti-cancer molecule on the planet and will soon be announced as way to regain lost sight.  If allowed to, resveratrol will replace hundreds of drugs in one pill.  The prospect of such a pill has pharmaceutical companies trying to ignore this molecule.  All roads may lead to resveratrol, but so far consumers or drug companies have shunned it.  It will continue to be an enigma.  There is no warm reception for the hope of the ages, an anti-aging pill. -Bill Sardi