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  • Is Cardiology Afraid Of Resveratrol?

    February 1, 2011: by Bill Sardi

    It was Felix Z. Meerson MD, of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences, who in the 1980s began to suggest that the heart could be protected from damage caused from a heart attack by mild amounts of biological stress prior to the event.  Dr. Meerson even went so far as to subject animals after a heart attack to low-oxygen (high-altitude) environments which led to complete recovery from heart muscle spasms and a two-fold reduction in scarred tissue.

    The most obvious application of cardiac pre-conditioning would be in surgery.  The surgical table or immediate post-surgical mortality rate for coronary artery bypass surgery and heart valve surgery is roughly ~3% and 5% respectively.

    An effort to pre-condition the heart to withstand temporary mild restriction of oxygenated blood is facilitated by application of tourniquets (blood pressure cuff) to extremities (the thighs) prior to the operating table.  This is called remote ischemic preconditioning.  It is used successfully prior to bypass and heart valve surgery.   So it is not like cardiology is totally ignoring preconditioning.

    (As an aside, surprisingly, remote cardiac preconditioning has been so successful that it has now been demonstrated to improve the performance of highly-trained athletes.

    The more emergent rescue from a mortal heart attack demands that a protective agent be employed prior to the event, or at least at the time when a cardiologist inserts a wire (angioplasty) to break open a clot that is blocking a coronary artery.  It is at the time, when oxygenated blood flow is restored to a coronary artery (what is called reperfusion) that the most damage to the heart occurs.  Remote ischemic preconditioning with a blood pressure cuff prior to angioplasty has produced mixed results.  Some studies are positive, others negative.

    Sadly, most of the time, nothing is done to limit this necessary treatment-induced damage.

    While cardio-protective molecules such as resveratrol and quercetin are promising, so far they have only demonstrated their safety and efficacy in animal trials.  However, the “human heart responds like animal hearts.” 19506318   This fact caused researchers in 2009 to ask “Why do we still not have cardioprotective drugs?”

    Over a decade ago it was demonstrated that damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack could be limited by use of certain molecules such as quercetin and resveratrol which released a protective molecule called adenosine in the heart.

    More recently Dr. Dipak Das at the University of Connecticut has demonstrated in animals that resveratrol, and more so resveratrol combined with other small molecules (Longevinex®), can switch on defenses in the heart (pre-condition the heart) and turn an otherwise mortal heart attack into a non-mortal event.

    The problem is that cardiologists falsely believe they have effective cardioprotective drugs, like aspirin and statins.  That is far from the truth.

    A recent issue of the Harvard Health Letter suggested that resveratrol is not ready for human use yet, but this is such a disingenuous criticism since there are no human clinical trials in the planning stage 7 years after resveratrol became more widely available.  Modern medicine is dragging its feet over resveratrol.

    Believe it or not, the Harvard Health Letter suggested individuals wishing to avert a heart attack would be “better off enjoying a glass of red wine with your dinner than dutifully choking down several tasteless resveratrol pills a day.” What has kept physicians from widely recommending red wine is giving license to over-imbibe.

    It takes 3-5 glasses of dark red wine to optimally reduce coronary artery disease mortality rates.  That would cost $3-5 a day with even the most economical wine.

    Cardiologists will look their patients straight in the face and tell them they may die of a heart attack if they don’t take a statin cholesterol-lowering drug.  But science says otherwise.  For healthy adults, statins don’t lower mortality rates.

    Aspirin is modern medicine’s stand-by pill to prevent heart attack, but half of the people who succumb to a sudden mortal heart attack were taking aspirin on the day of their demise.  A recent study shows an 81-milligram baby aspirin is too-low a dose and a 325 aspirin tablet increases the risk for sometimes-mortal bleeding gastric ulcers and brain hemorrhages.

    The public has been falsely lulled into thinking their statin and aspirin pills are protecting them from a sudden-death heart attack.  And for most people, aspirin pills are cheaper.

    Such is the state of preventive medicine in cardiology today.  It’s not like patients are suffering their warts.  They are needlessly and prematurely losing their lives.  – © 2011 Bill Sardi,

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