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  • Study Reveals How Researchers Muddy Resveratrol Science

    April 10, 2014: by Bill Sardi

    Typically diabetics exhibit high circulating insulin levels and lack of sensitivity to insulin.  The prospect of successfully employing resveratrol to treat diabetes is an ongoing quest that has been muddied by scientific studies that appear to have been designed to fail.

    Recently researchers in Asia sorted out all the published studies involving resveratrol and diabetes and found that resveratrol remarkably controls blood sugar and insulin in diabetic individuals but has no effect among healthy individuals.  [American Journal Clinical Nutrition, April 2014] That means resveratrol is an ideal blood sugar control agent as it doesn’t induce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taken by healthy subjects.

    To date there are 131 published human studies involving resveratrol’s effect on blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity (ability of cells to utilize sugar to produce energy).  The mixed results from published studies so far has kept resveratrol from progressing from the research lab to use in the clinic.

    Researchers recently cast aside poorly designed studies, in particular studies that employed resveratrol in healthy adults, and focused on 11 trials that involved patients with elevated blood sugar levels and insulin insensitivity.

    What were they thinking?

    It seems ridiculous for researchers to claim resveratrol doesn’t work when used among human subjects with normal blood sugar levels.  But that is precisely what has been reported [Cell Metabolism Vol. 16: page 658, 2012; Diabetes Vol. 62, page 1186, 2013]

    In commentary, misdirected researchers were quick to close the door on resveratrol saying “the lack of effect disagrees with persuasive data obtained from rodent models and raises doubt about the justification of resveratrol as a human nutritional supplement in metabolic disorders.”  [Diabetes Vol. 62, page 1022, 2013]

    Dosing is a problem too

    This reporter has previously been critical of studies that used problematic mega-doses or predictably ineffective low doses of resveratrol to produce a positive effect.  This is demonstrated in diabetic studies where a very low dose (8 milligrams) [Pharmacological Research Vol. 72, page 69, 2013] and a mega-dose (8100 milligrams resveratrol + other polyphenols) [Aging Vol. 6, 149, 2014] were deemed to be ineffective.

    When a more modest dose is employed (greater than dietary intake from wine or grapes) but lower than pro-oxidant doses (less than 350 milligrams), positive results in controlling blood sugar in human subjects is more apparent.  [Nutrition Research Vol. 32, page 537, 2012]

    The disingenuous call for more research

    With the lack of scientific consensus, progression towards further human studies appears to have been stymied, despite the disingenuous call by researchers for further studies.

    Some researchers, who pretend to speak for all, say: “Despite the strong preclinical evidence of positive cardio-metabolic effects, studies to date have not confirmed resveratrol’s benefit in humans.”  [American Journal Hypertension Sept. 2013]  They know the National Institutes of Health is not likely to fund further studies when preliminary studies don’t provide clear guidance.

    Lack of bioavailability is also a false stumbling block

    Another frequent misdirection is the claim that resveratrol is not biologically available; that blood levels of unbound (free) resveratrol are needed to assure it is the agent that produces a beneficial biological effect.

    But resveratrol bound to detoxification molecules (sulfate, glucuronate as it passes through the liver) is now considered to exert biological action that is “comparable” to unbound (free) resveratrol. [Chembiochem Vol. 14, page 1094, 2013]  So blood levels of free resveratrol would be misleading.

    Yet these same researchers now change the force of their mistaken conclusions, from “lack of confirmation” to “overwhelmingly negative results,” and demand blood levels be obtained in future studies.  [Diabetes Vol. 62, page 1022, 2013]

    Again, these same researchers go on to say: “Despite initial enthusiasm, resveratrol has largely been abandoned by the pharmaceutical industry, although the reasons (scientific vs. economic) have not been made public and results of some completed clinical trials were never published.”  One need not wonder why.  Big Pharma has been roundly criticized for hiding results of clinical studies.

    The many ways researchers obfuscate the science surrounding resveratrol have been categorized.  []

    Final note

    The late Dipak Das PhD took a brand of resveratrol pill (Longevinex®) to India where it worked without fail to remedy high blood sugar among many diabetics there.  Yet elsewhere the science is mixed largely due to obfuscation of the science by researchers themselves.  A conclusion that could be drawn is that the research community is covertly colluding with Big Pharma to muddy the science and pave the way for resveratrol-like drugs.  ©2014 Bill Sardi

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