test your knowledge
How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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March 31, 2009: by ResveratrolNews
The luster surrounding the red wine molecule resveratrol isn’t fading, but the growing body of pseudoscience being created by online hucksters, as well as exaggerations by scientists who have a commercial interest in a resveratrol-like drug, casts a pall over the excitement of a maybe-it’s-real-this-time anti-aging pill.
Few Americans who go online have escaped the barrage of spam advertising for one particular brand of resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trawl) pills, which has within the past month or two become the leading brand by sales volume.
What six years of growing science, front-page coverage by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, and a CBS-TV 60 Minutes special report couldn’t do, spammers and the blogger accomplices did – create a swelling demand for red wine resveratrol pills.
Only when the spammers misled the public that a particular brand of resveratrol dietary supplement was “seen on 60 Minutes,” and now on “Oprah,” then made prohibited claims their product cures cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, erases wrinkles and produces weight loss, and misled consumers that their product was being used at major universities, did consumers fall for an offer they couldn’t refuse – free resveratrol pills just for the cost of shipping, $3.95. 1 1
What consumers failed to read, in the fine print at websites, where terms of sales were posted, that they were going to be billed $87 a month if they didn’t call back and cancel an autoship program within 14 days of receiving their free 15-day supply.
Add to all that the fact that Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey have now blessed and placed their imprimatur on resveratrol pills, and you have a modern phenomenon that a train couldn’t halt.
Word has spread among spammers of the fast money that can be made selling resveratrol pills online. It’s great income for out of work real estate agents and Wall Street financial consultants.
The renegade company selling this brand also has many affiliate websites where bloggers obtain commissions or click fees for sending customers. This has spawned many bloggers who now claim to be the authority on resveratrol, spreading falsehoods that could even be harmful to health. Bloggers are the most commonly found source of (mis)information about resveratrol on the internet.
One blog site suggests resveratrol is good for people at any age even though it is contraindicated for growing children and menstruating females who may easily become anemic because of resveratrol’s copper-chelating properties. (Copper is needed to make collagen as well as hemoglobin in red blood cells.)
Proper dosing is another problem. Mega-doses (360 mg and 1565 mg) actually shortened the life of laboratory mice on a standard-calorie diet. Ivy League university researchers who appeared on 60 Minutes only mentioned their 2006 study where mice were engorged with fat and lived a bit longer, not the 2008 where mice were fed a diet similar to humans and resveratrol shortened their lives.
|Country||Centenarian population||Total population||Centenarians per million population||Wine intake
/liters per annum
|France||20,000 (2008)||65 million||307.6||55.8||3653|
|Japan||36,000 (2008)||127 million||283.4||1.9||2760|
|United States||55,000 (2008)||305 million||180.3||8.7||3774|
|England||9,330 (2007)||58 million||160.8||18.9||3412|
The French will never fall for the pills, they have their red wine and it produces unprecedented longevity. France has double the ratio of centenarians of any other developed country. The longevity dosage range is 3-5 five-ounce glasses of dark, aged, red wine providing just (can you believe it) just 3-5 milligrams of resveratrol, but 60 mg of total polyphenols (resveratrol, quercetin, catechin, ferulic acid, malvidin, gallic acid, kaempferol) per glass, or 180-300 mg total daily dose.
The magic of French red wine is (a) it is a concentrated source, by fermentation, of grape skin molecules. Grape juice or grapes will not provide nearly enough of these molecules; (b) wine molecules are preserved in a dark, airtight bottle, usually kept cool. Resveratrol and the other molecules are vulnerable to degradation if exposed to light, heat, oxygen over time; (c) these red wine molecules work at far lower dose in a more dramatic manner to activate longevity genes. This was shown in a recently published experiment where plain resveratrol was compared against a matrix of mineral-chelating molecules (resveratrol, quercetin, rice bran phytate). Plain resveratrol activated 225 longevity genes, the nutriceutical matrix 1711 longevity genes – 9 fold more. [Experimental Gerontology 2008 Sep; 43(9):859-66]
The researchers who conducted this gene array study were interviewed by Morley Safer on the 60 MINUTES program about resveratrol, but failed to mention that one commercially available resveratrol pill (Longevinex®) had already been found to produce profound biological effects, at a very low dose, and without alcohol or calories provided in wine.
In fact, the SRT501 resveratrol drug being touted by a pharmaceutical company is just plain resveratrol, according to the drug company’s SEC 10k filing. Furthermore, another recently published study conducted by the drug company itself reveals that huge impractical doses of resveratrol were used to demonstrate biological effects (1000 mg/kilogram of body weight, or 70,000 mg for a 160-lb human), which is likely being employed to continue the falsehood that only mega-dose resveratrol will work.
The drug company has been telling the world to wait for their more powerful gene-activating SRT1720 drug, but in its own published study, SRT1720 was only marginally better than SRT501, though it worked at far lower concentrations than SRT501 (equivalent to 7000 mg human equivalent). This would still require about 7 pills a day to replicate the same effects in a human. Both SRT501 (plain resveratrol) and SRT1720 were deemed to mimic signaling pathways similar to a calorie restricted diet. [BMC Systems Biology 2009 Mar 10; 3(1):31. Entire paper: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1752-0509-3-31.pdf ]
But a nutriceutical matrix (Longevinex®) was found to activate 9-fold more Longevity genes than plain resveratrol, prompting one to ask, what are we waiting for? It looks like a bona-fide longevity pill has arrived.
It is becoming more obvious that mega-resveratrol, as provided in most resveratrol pills sold on the market today, may not confer longevity to consumers and may even shorten the human lifespan, if animal studies can be correlated with human usage.
The miracle of red wine appears to be the array of polyphenolic molecules. A recent study appears to confirm this idea. Breast cancer cells were placed in lab dishes and their growth was recorded after placing resveratrol, quercetin or catechin, three red wine molecules, in the dishes. Resveratrol and quercetin individually only reduced tumor-cell growth rates at very high doses, but when resveratrol, quercetin and catechin when combined produced profound inhibition of tumor cell growth. [Source: Clinical Experimental Metastasis 2009 Mar 18]
Three concentrations of red wine molecules were employed
(0.5, 5.0, 20.0 micromole concentration)
RQC = resveratrol, quercetin, catechin (similar to IP6 rice bran)
Study reveals these molecules in combination exert
far greater biological effect at much lower (safer) doses.
Effects are not just additive but synergistic
(1+ 1 + 1 = more than 3-fold effect)
Vehicle = corn oil + alcohol
Size of tumor 77 days after inoculation with resveratrol, quercetin, catechin
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