test your knowledge
How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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December 27, 2016: by Bill Sardi
Life prolonging resveratrol pills are difficult to evaluate if for no other reason than it may take decades to conclusively prove they extend human life. Furthermore it was Thomas Fuller (1608-1661 AD) who said sickness is felt but health not at all. A different version of that same idea is that you can’t count all the bodies that never died. Well, maybe if you are an epidemiologist and can actually compare death rates among users and non-users of resveratrol pills, but there is no such data available, only red wine consumption and mortality. Modern medicine only has that kind of data for aspirin tablets and they actually induce ~20,000 deaths a year due to bleeding gastric ulcers, which represents disease substitution not disease prevention. [American Journal Medicine July 27, 1998]
The long-standing finding is that modest wine consumption (3-5 five-ounce glasses a day) produces a decline in mortality from coronary artery disease, largely because of wine’s ability to inhibit blood clotting, not its ability to lower cholesterol. [American College Physicians Journal 1995]
Dr. Serge Renaud who first talked about The French Paradox, that the red wine drinking French had far lower mortality rate for coronary artery disease than cholesterol-phobic North Americans, was the first to emphasize red wine’s overlooked ability to inhibit clots in coronary arteries. [Lancet 1992]
But with resveratrol we’re talking about people not getting sick at all, not just a statistical reduction in mortality rates. We’re talking near-zero mortal heart attacks.
When and if a blockage of a coronary artery occurs, the heart muscle is protected by prior resveratrol-activated preconditioning. This is a biological phenomenon where protective internal antioxidant enzymes (glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutase) are activated prior to a heart attack so when blood circulation is restored by clot reduction (balloon angioplasty or streptokinase enzymatic clot degradation or other blood thinning drugs) there won’t be any resultant heart muscle damage (called reperfusion injury). [Canadian Journal Physiology Pharmacology Nov 2010]
Now we find cholesterol reduction does not appreciably lower mortality rates. Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs reduce the risk of experiencing a non-mortal heart attack in healthy adults by only 1 in 200 statin drug users. Even in high-risk individuals, statins reduce the risk for a non-mortal heart attack from 3 to 2 in 100 over a 5-year period (a 1% drop in hard numbers which is presented as a 33% relative risk reduction). [Bloomberg News Jan 16, 2008]
Calcification of coronary arteries, not atherosclerotic plaque, is a better indicator of mortality than circulating cholesterol. In a recent study 36% of women had calcified coronary arteries. [Journal American Medical Assn. Nov 22, 2016] But these are women who have been taught to be phobic over cholesterol in their diet, not calcium. A large study reveals traditional risk factors such as cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, were not appreciably responsible for heart attacks but calcification of coronary arteries were. [European Heart Journal Sept 1, 2014]
Talk about costly misdirection! The reigning paradigm of modern medicine in the past five decades has been cholesterol.
Resveratrol failed to reduce cholesterol and cardiac death said a study released by the highest regarded healthcare institution in the world, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. [Johns Hopkins Medicine May 12, 2014] (But resveratrol wasn’t even used in the aforementioned study; only wine was evaluated. [JAMA Internal Medicine July 2014] And the study investigators completely overlooked that the heaviest wine drinkers were half as likely to experience mental decline over a period of 9 years.) [ResveratrolNews.com] This appears to be intentional misreporting.
Fortunately, resveratrol inhibits calcification. [Journal Medicinal Food Feb 2014] But it is difficult to find a politically incorrect cardiologist who recommends resveratrol pills these days. [ResveratrolNews.com]
Modern medicine has yet to launch a human study using resveratrol for prevention of heart disease or heart attacks. Though after 3 years of foot dragging one study is beginning to recruit subjects. [Clinical Trials]
Late in 2003 when Harvard geneticist David Sinclair linked the red wine molecule resveratrol, believed to be responsible for the French Paradox, with the Sirtuin1 survival gene, which when activated by a life prolonging calorie-restricted diet doubles the healthspan and lifespan of laboratory animals, a huge connection had been made. Humans could molecularly mimic a limited calorie diet and possibly derive all the health benefits and longevity without food deprivation. [Nature Sept 11, 2003] But that connection has yet to be fully capitalized upon by the masses.
While a few early adopters of resveratrol pills were undeterred by negative studies and even alleged scientific fraud, for the most part modern medicine continues to shun resveratrol pills.
If concerned about what robotics would do to manufacturing jobs and what the hydrogen-powered automobile would do to the oil industry, just think what resveratrol would do to life insurance companies and the health care industry.
Via resveratrol’s broad ability to affect hundreds of genes it could potentially replace a countless number of drugs and a countless number of doctors. [Oxidative Medicine Cellular Longevity 2015; Annals New York Academy Science 2015] Instead of the politically correct drugs that treat individual diseases, with resveratrol we have one natural medicine that addresses many diseases. [Annals New York Academy Sciences Jan 2011]
Forget bringing 5 million manufacturing jobs back from Asia. Resveratrol could make more cardiologists and oncologists resort to driving cabs for a living than any other threat to their profession. But then the cabs will be self-driving!
Employment in healthcare occupations is being counted on to grow 19% from 2014 to 2024, adding about 2.3 million new jobs. [Bureau Labor Statistics] How many of the 12 million jobs in the healthcare industry would be threatened by a single molecule extracted from grapes or Giant Knotweed? [Kaiser Foundation]
Politicians are banking on a growing population of senior Americans in need of medical care for employment. And Americans had better die on time. Otherwise Social Security, Medicare and life insurance companies collapse into insolvency.
But tell that to actor Kirk Douglas (age 100), George HW Bush (92), Doris Day (92), Henry Kissinger (93), Betty White (94), Billy Graham (97) and Dick Van Dyke (91), to name a few celebrities living into their tenth decade of life. And none of them are known to be taking resveratrol pills. Just wait till that happens.
Since 2003 when Dr. Sinclair’s paper was published linking resveratrol, red wine and the Sirtuin1 survival gene [Nature Sept 11, 2003], over 8000 papers have been published that involved resveratrol. But modern medicine is still mired in its obviously archaic cholesterol paradigm. The public is not ready to give up cholesterol phobia either.
Then recently it was demonstrated that resveratrol by virtue of its ability to favorably alter gut bacteria, abolished a liver toxin and therefore improved bile flow and disposal from the liver of laboratory animals. Since bile is produced from cholesterol, it was not surprising to learn the alteration of gut bacteria abolishes atherosclerosis. [MBio April 5, 2016]
The setbacks that have plagued resveratrol from becoming a modern day panacea are dubious.
The mistaken claim that resveratrol is not bioavailable has been made many times (449 times in various scientific journals). Resveratrol is intercepted by detoxification molecules as it passes through the liver and this blocks its biological availability say researchers. But studies actually show liver-metabolized resveratrol (conjugated or attached to sulfate and glucuronate) exerts equal or even more biological activity than plain resveratrol itself. And once resveratrol is shuttled to the kidneys it is re-circulated and contributes to resveratrol’s overall biological effects. [Journal Pharmacology Experimental Therapeutics 2002]
Complexing resveratrol with beta cyclodextrin, a solubilizing agent, improves resveratrol’s bioavailability. [Journal Pharmacology Experiemental Therapeutics 2002] But it has taken over a decade for the first commercially available resveratrol pill to be delivered with beta cyclodextrin to enhance bioavailability. [Longevinex®]
The discovery that resveratrol may exert its biological influence without ever entering the blood circulation – by acting as a prebiotic to favorably alter gut bacteria, abolishes any argument over the lack of bioavailability of resveratrol. [MBio April 5, 2016; Journal Ethnopharmacology Feb 17, 2016]
The only possible impetus to continue claiming resveratrol is not bioavailable is financial incentive to develop a synthetic analog (look-alike molecule) that can be patented. This was accomplished but as a resveratrol analog meandered through the body it lost its synthetically added molecular tail and morphed into plain resveratrol again! (LOL) Nature’s revenge. [Molecular Pharmacology July 1, 2013]
An early setback was the claim that while resveratrol appeared to be beneficial among laboratory mice fed a high-fat diet (60% fat calories), it did not prolong the life of mice fed a normal calorie (30% fat calorie) diet. [Cell Metabolism Aug 2008] But maybe resveratrol helps the over-eaters, not the leaner healthy people. And data was hidden from view at that time, that a lower-dose resveratrol worked more favorably than mega-dose resveratrol. Resveratrol is more efficacious when given in a modest dose, just like wine. [PLoS One June 2008] Researchers appear to continue over-dosing lab animals and even humans to produce negative or null studies.
Then came the specious claims that a major resveratrol researcher doctored his science. Dipak Das PhD, at the University of Connecticut, was scientifically pilloried over allegedly manipulated Western Blot images in published papers. These are images of proteins produced by genes. [The Human Protein Atlas]
But journal editors chop-up Western blot images to fit space in their journals. Editors demand darker images to facilitate viewing. So doctored western blot images are commonly altered with no evil intent.
Some of the problem with western blots is that the labs that supply the western blot kits have ineffective antibodies. Western blots are disappearing as an archaic demonstration of gene activity. But that doesn’t come out when the research community wants to “out” a researcher.
If anybody was to blame for Dipak Das’ maligned western blots it would be his students who did the work and entered their images into his computer. Some researchers say western blotting should be abandoned altogether. [Retraction Watch]
But researchers in Italy and Canada replicated Dr. Das’ work, subjected lab animals to experimentally induced heart attacks and published incontrovertible photographic images that displayed the dramatically reduced areas of damage to heart muscle (reduced scarring) when resveratrol was employed. Dr. Das was vindicated but the turmoil led to his early death. [Canadian Journal Physiology & Pharmacology 2012; European Journal Pharmacology March 28, 2003]
Retraction Watch doesn’t have the integrity to exonerate Dr. Das. Retraction Watch is a place where the many charades of modern medicine are promulgated. If explained in today’s terms Dr. Das’ discoveries were politically incorrect, not scientifically incorrect.
What resveratrol needs is a bold publicity agency that is able to detect which way political winds are blowing. One particular tactic would be to adopt a newly emergent trend the public demands for the humane treatment of animals.
For example, the potential health benefits produced by eggs laid from free-range chickens were initially extolled. The chickens would hunt and peck for seeds, nuts, insects, and all the nutrients would accumulate via the food chain into their eggs.
But that idea got twisted with the idea that chickens confined to pens weren’t “happy” and the eggs they produced were not going to confer happiness to consumers. So The Happy Egg Company came into existence.
There would be an adequately sized exercise yard for the chickens. Humane treatment would be the priority. The chickens would be happier and that ought to translate into happier consumers, for a couple more dollars per dozen eggs.
Of course, any improved quality of the eggs that are produced emanate from the feed, not the exercise yard the chickens cavort in. If you really want humane treatment you wouldn’t lop off heads of egg-laying hens that have out-lived their egg-laying lifespan. You would let them out to pasture, where of all things, predators would eat them.
But I have the politically correct answer. If you want happy chickens, then feed them resveratrol, as resveratrol is a natural anti-depressant (monoamine oxidase inhibitor)!
Now in some convoluted way, in an age of political correctness, methinks if resveratrol marketers want to advance the adoption of their products in the population at large they need to educate the public that the rats used in laboratory experiments are happier on resveratrol. [Brain Behavior & Immunity Jan 2017]
I just betcha the first resveratrol pill that can claim all of the experiments with its product were conducted with resveratrol-fed lab rats that were tested for happiness, it would become the top selling brand overnight!
I can see a new label on resveratrol pills now: “Testing conducted with humanely treated lab rats who were tested for happiness.”
Which gets me to the next topic: when is society going to start adding resveratrol to drinking water?
Fluoride, a waste product of the government’s nuclear weapons program, was added to tap water under the guise of hardening teeth and preventing dental decay. Kids still get plenty of cavities and fluoride softens bones.
Furthermore fluoride creates a rather placid, docile, politically compliant population. [Mind Control Of The Masses] Now you can directly see why resveratrol is at the wrong end of political correctness.
Who knows, fluoridation of tap water may be a covert population control practice also. [Biological Trace Element Research Dec 2016]
A recent review of water fluoridation concluded it only results in a modest reduction of dental decay and a potential to cause many other health problems (mental impairment, low thyroid, bone softening). [Scientific World Journal 2014]
In fact, resveratrol counters the potential adverse effects of water fluoridation in the brain and thyroid gland. [Environmental Toxicology Pharmacology Sept 2014; Biological Trace Element Research Dec 2014] Resveratrol is an antidote to fluoride side effects. [Biomedical Research International 2014; Food Chemistry Toxicology Aug 2014]
Meanwhile, low-dose resveratrol applied topically has been shown to visibly reduce biofilms on tooth surfaces. [Frontiers Microbiology July 2016] According to animal experiments, resveratrol added to drinking water might prevent the progression of periodontal disease, concludes a recent report. [Journal Periodontology Oct 2013] Resveratrol actually enhances any positive effect fluoride has on dental health. [Biofouling 2012]
If we can’t undo water fluoridation maybe we can counter it with resveratrol.
The politically correct approach to infectious disease is widespread vaccination. However, immunologists over rely on vaccines and ignore public hygiene measures, which are critically important in disease prevention.
A chink in the mass vaccination paradigm is that there are too many infectious diseases to develop vaccines against all of them. This is evident in the war against enteroviruses.
In the news this past year were many reports of children infected with paralyzing enteroviruses. [NBC NEWS Oct 3, 2016] Polio is a paralyzing enterovirus but these reports emanated from non-polio enteroviruses. There are so many of them (64) that a vaccine cannot be developed against each and every one.
Enteroviruses cause about 10-15 million infections and many thousands of hospitalizations each year. They initially infect the digestive tract and most infections are completely without symptoms. Most individuals experience either a mild fever or aches and pains or often no symptoms at all.
Enteroviruses are spread by microscopic amounts of fecal matter. Enteroviral infections are common in childhood. Enteroviruses can spread to various organs and persist in the body for years, potentially erupting and causing disease many years later. But there is no understanding why or who is at greatest risk.
Resveratrol addresses RNA viruses. It has been found to inhibit enterovirus 71 and may be an antidote against other enteroviruses. [PLoS One Feb 18, 2015] The point here is, where vaccines aren’t practical, resveratrol’s broad anti-viral action is.
The Centers for Disease Control promotes flu vaccination and cites enteroviral infections as a reason to get vaccinated for the flu even though it is not proven to quell enteroviral infections. [Taipei Times Dec 7, 2016]
Resveratrol counters the adverse effects of infection from the mumps virus, chicken pox, hepatitis, pneumonia and the flu. [Bone March 2013; Antiviral Research Dec 2006; Liver International Sept 2010; Journal Infectious Diseases June 1, 2015; Journal Chinese Medicinal Materials Sept 2008]
Resveratrol could be considered as an additive in vaccines to stimulate an immune response in lieu of toxic heavy metal adjuvants like mercury and aluminum. [Rejuvenation Research Oct 2012] But these facts doom resveratrol as a vaccine companion. This is an era of political not scientific correctness.
While polypharmacy is condemned in older adults (the average elderly patient takes 4-5 Rx drugs and two over-the-counter medications daily), we now recognize the presumption that every disease of aging should be addressed as a drug deficiency. Overuse of Rx drugs actually induces frailty in advanced age. [Journal American Geriatrics Society Dec 26, 2016] Resveratrol exhibits the biological action of so many drugs it could be the end-all to polypharmacy and it may even delay or prevent frailty among older subjects. [British Journal Nutrition Sept 2016] But there is not a single published paper that proposes that politically incorrect idea.
In the end, I’m convinced the best-marketed resveratrol pill will the one that offends the fewest people and displaces the fewest jobs and would be the least offensive to doctors, dentists, immunologists, researchers, drug companies, health authorities, green revolutionists, population control advocates, government budgeters, health and life insurers, etc. That would be a resveratrol pill that doesn’t work.
However the least politically offensive resveratrol pill must receive official acceptance. That would be the least bioavailable, most impotent or overdosed, untested, mislabeled resveratrol pill.
If you go to Amazon.com you find the top-rated resveratrol pill (forget scientific verification, it is given 5 stars by over 1000 users) appears to be a front for Amazon’s own private-labeled covert product. It is an electronically validated nutraceutical. Forget double-blind placebo controlled studies. To avoid potential litigation, it is best to let consumers find that pill on their own.