Incredible Research that Medicine Continues to Ignore
Resveratrol (pronounced rez-vair-ah-trawl) is commonly known as the “red wine molecule”. Resveratrol was at first believed helpful mainly for cardiovascular protection. But, now we know that even the list of benefits below, as shocking as it is, may be only the tip of the iceberg. This piece would turn into a book if I tried to do justice to all the research listed in the government database, PubMed which contains over 6,000 papers on resveratrol!
Some readers will probably roll their eyes at this list because any supplement with a long list of benefits is almost automatically suspected. To keep the impact of this natural substance in perspective, consider this: simple things like exercise, rest, sunshine and vegetable intake have each been shown to improve a similar list of conditions. And conversely, smoking, stress, sugar and toxins each worsen a list of conditions at least this long. As you will see, a substance can have very wide-ranging benefits if it works at the cellular level. Note: not all types of resveratrol supplements or all dosage levels provide these benefits.
The list below is not proof, but it is certainly interesting and encouraging that resveratrol (trans resveratrol to be exact) is at least being studied because of its promise with these health issues:
- Aging protection similar to calorie restriction and even reversal of aging according to a Harvard researcher. (…the potential for another 30 years of health!) Supports the survival of your stem cells in the eyes, heart and brain. Stem cells are kind of a blank canvas that can become whatever type of cell are needed.
- Alzheimer’s Disease (inhibits hardening/oxidation of beta amyloid plaque)
- Blood pressure
- Cancer (As one example, Chris D. Meletis, ND said “Resveratrol inhibits the growth of non-small cell lung cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner.” Link to study. Resveratrol is being studied for prevention of and as an ancillary treatment for many other types of cancer such as breast, prostate, liver and colon.)
- Cardiovascular (also protects the heart prior in case of a heart stoppage)
- Depression (it is a natural MAO inhibitor)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney disease and kidney stones
- Liver (aids in the removal of cholesterol from the liver especially fatty liver)
- Lung (COPD)
- Macular degeneration (covered in greater detail below)
- Brain function
- Obesity (inhibits adipocytes, the fat cells)
- Osteoporosis (stimulates osteocalcin, the hormone that signals to hold calcium in bone)
If your particular concern was not listed, check out this list of 110 facts about resveratrol. If you don’t find what you are looking for there, that may be because no one has asked the question yet. I didn’t dig for the most compelling articles as links from my list, but rather picked representative ones mostly from the last month or two. Some of the above are laboratory or animal studies and these benefits would not be considered by most scientists as “proven”. However, aren’t the sheer volume and variety astonishing? I just can’t image that there is a drug that does even a few of these things.
Why resveratrol can have such an effect. Resveratrol can impact so many seemingly unrelated conditions because it acts at such a basic cellular level—it works upstream to stop trouble before it even begins. Resveratrol has a positive effect on the following processes that are basic instigators of virtually all diseases and even determine how rapidly we age:
- Inflammation (resveratrol is anti-inflammatory.)
- Oxidation (in proper dose, activates internal antioxidant enzymes glutathione, catalase, SOD)
- Mitochondria decline (These are the energy-producing elements within cells. Normally, at age 80, only about 4% of the hundreds of mitochondria in each cell are still functional.)
- Fungi (According to expert Doug Kaufmann, it is one of the most powerful anti-fungals. Yeasts in our systems can cause all kinds of symptoms from boggy brain to sore joints and much worse.)
- Unhealthful accumulation of metals such as copper
- Weakened immune function
- DNA damage
- Loss of muscle
- Stem cell action
The pace of research is escalating and extremely dramatic testimonials from consumers hint at more benefits. The science doesn’t lie, but a substance that can do so much good may be its own worst enemy because it just seems too good to be true.
Why isn’t resveratrol in use in every doctor’s office? There are several reasons starting with medical schools where physicians are taught to fear anything that isn’t a drug. Secondly, no one comes into the docs’ offices to teach them and their staffs about natural approaches. (Drug companies of course do that for prescription medication.) Resveratrol is a big problem for the practice of medicine in general because it has such a broad range of activity that it could replace many profitable drugs. In fact, drug companies are scrambling to make a synthetic version of resveratrol but it will not be nearly as good. Resveratrol is also under the radar in part because the Food and Drug Administration will not allow supplement companies to talk about benefits such as those listed above.
Then there is what I believe is a more sinister reason. Medical specialties have a conflict of interest. For example, injections into the eyeball may be helpful for the majority of patients with macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. (Yikes, I don’t know about you but, I’d rather prevent the disease or at least use a natural remedy that doesn’t involve sticking needles in my eye.) Those injections are quite a lucrative piece of business in the ophthalmology field and, in fact, may a doc’s main source of income. So, it would be a bad business practice for them to tell patients that resveratrol has actually been shown to reverse macular degeneration. That would stop the office visits and billings for a variety of services and materials.
*Meanwhile, the results for reversing macular degeneration with an exceptional combination resveratrol product, Longevinex, are nothing short of miraculous. Dr. Stuart Richer (a professor and eye specialist at a VA hospital) discussed this subject during my April 2013 interview with him. LINK to archive. In a second 2014 interview, journalist, radio host and supplement formulator, Bill Sardi goes into greater depth.
Where is resveratrol found in nature? Grapes are the best known source, however, heat pasteurization of grape juice degrades resveratrol. Small amounts are also found in peanuts and mulberries. But the magic of resveratrol is found in wine, which, via fermentation, increases concentration 1000-fold. There may only be a few micrograms of resveratrol in 5-oz glass of grape juice, but a full milligram in a glass of wine.
Is supplementing it safe for everyone? Yes, in the correct modest dose. As with many supplements that are actually restoring balance, some mild side-effects might be noticed but they are transient. Note: Because resveratrol, like several foods, may increase the action of certain medications, it is advisable to take it at a different time of the day than the drug.
What is the best type/brand of resveratrol supplement? This is where it gets tricky. It is so tempting to think that whichever brand gives the most milligrams of resveratrol for a dollar is the best bargain. But, what you really want is results and true value. So, nothing could be further from the truth. To achieve the kind of health benefits I’ve discussed here, it is imperative to take a resveratrol supplement that meets the following standards. (Note, I’m going to use Longevinex as the example because it is the only one I’ve found that meets all of these criteria:
- Is the proper type, quality grade, freshness and purity. Great pains are taken in the laboratory to protect resveratrol from damaging light, heat and oxygen. The trans resveratrol in Longevinex is micronized and microencapsulated which is crucial. In contrast, resveratrol in some common dietary supplements is degraded and biologically inactive because it has not been protected this way and stabilized. Because there are not yet universally established standards, sometimes low-end raw material suppliers can fool otherwise good brands into thinking that theirs will have the same benefit as the best kind. Don’t be fooled by the wording “pharmaceutical grade” because that is not a real thing-it is just marketing talk.
- Is the correct dose. Resveratrol works within a limited dosage range. Studies point to doses between 50-300 milligrams as being effective, but read on…
- Is combined with synergistic ingredients. Longevinex provides 100 mg of resveratrol but has been found to be far more effective than larger doses because it is complexed with other molecules found commonly in red wine. Resveratrol when combined with other small molecules like quercetin (also found in red wine grapes) it is more immediately bioavailable. IP6 (from rice bran) helps chelate excess copper and iron as well as reducing unhealthful calcification in the body.
- Has been clinical studied. The special synergistic blend of ingredients in Longevinex has been shown (in this product specifically) to affect 1711 genes compared with only 225 for plain resveratrol and 198 for calorie-restriction. It is important that research is done on the actual product. For example, Longevinex was also shown to renew mitochondria (amazing).
- Is blister-packed. This protects the ingredients from degradation by the elements.
The potential benefits of resveratrol are too important to me to mess around with inferior products at any price. If you listen to our show, you know that I am proud of my sponsors. But no large company can be expert in every ingredient and I always want to tell you about the very best choices. I personally take Longevinex, choosing it even over resveratrol products sold by brands that sponsor my radio show—it is that different and that good. In fact, a laboratory study showed that you would have to take a plain resveratrol pill for 50 years to activate the same number of longevity genes as Longevinex does in just 12 weeks. HealthWorks Mart is another source.
Copyright 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN