Resveratrol Promises Fat Control, Lasting Health and Longevity

By Mel Thompson

Why are people in France less likely to die of heart attacks than Americans despite similar high cholesterol diets? The answer, we all know, is the French consume greater amounts of red wine which protects their hearts.

This "French paradox" was the subject of a study widely publicized by its coverage on 60 Minutes. That study identified resveratrol as the active ingredient in red wine responsible for protecting the heart.

As a result of that study and others, the scientific community began taking resveratrol seriously. Venture capitalists have even invested in further research to find a longevity pharmaceutical based on resveratrol.

According to a leading resveratrol website and other sources, recent studies have concluded that:

• Adding resveratrol to the diet of yeast, fruit flies, worms, and a species of fish increased their life spans up to 70%, 29%, 24%, & 50% respectively;

• Resveratrol is the key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots;

• Resveratrol has potent antioxidant activity;

• Resveratrol made fat related deaths drop 31% in obese mice. The resveratrol-fed obese mice also performed much better in movement and agility tests than obese mice not fed resveratrol;

• Mice fed resveratrol had 100% more endurance than mice not fed resveratrol (i.e. they were able to run twice as far on a treadmill);

• Resveratrol protects circulation and heart function by inhibiting platelet aggregation, which can lead to dangerous clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes;

• Resveratrol has been proven to fight cancer in the laboratory at all three stages; (1) initiation, (2) promotion, and (3) progression.

Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and in red wine, as well as in blueberries and peanuts. Its powerful antioxidant effect can help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (free radicals are unstable atoms caused in part by pollution, sunlight, and our bodies natural burning of fat that can lead to cancer, aging, and brain degeneration).

The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Some studies have suggested that red and purple grape juices have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine.

Research led by David Sinclair and Joseph Baur at the Harvard Medical School and by Rafael de Cabo at the National Institute on Aging concluded that drugs taken orally "at doses achievable in humans can safely reduce many of the negative consequences of excess caloric intake, with an overall improvement in health and survival." According to the New York Times, their report, published in Nature in October 2006, implies that very large daily doses of resveratrol could offset the unhealthy, high-calorie diet thought to underlie the rising toll of obesity in the United States and elsewhere, if people respond to the drug as mice do.

The research in mice given resveratrol also indicated the antioxidant could help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How does resveratrol extend life in certain organisms? Resveratrol is believed to activate an enzyme which extends cell life by 'coercing' cells to repair themselves as opposed to dying. So resveratrol extends the lives of individual cells and the lives of the 'host' organisms are extended as a result.

The mice in the Harvard/NIA study were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-lb person would need to drink 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose, if, in fact, human dosing needs to be proportional to the doses given mice.

By comparison, a typical resveratrol extract dose contains 20 mg. Resveratrol extracts provide the heart-health longevity benefits of red wine without the alcohol, sulfites, headaches or excess calories.

Any herbal extract should be standardized. Standardization of an extract assures specific, measurable levels of the important compounds that benefit the body. Standardized extracts need to be GMP compliant. (GMP is a subset of Food and Drug Administration regulations.)

As always, check with your doctor before taking herbal or diet supplements and starting a weight loss program. Always consult a health professional for your healthcare needs. Content is for informational purposes only and not for treating a health problem or concern.

Mel Thompson is the Vice President of offering quality, competitively-priced weight loss and longevity supplements.


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