I thought I would write a quick summary of where resveratrol is at and what’s been going on.
I would like to start with a quote from a paper I have just received discussing the many benefits of resveratrol. “There is a wealth of evidence from laboratory models that resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and anti-cancer effects which contribute to improved health. In the past five years and number of human clinical trials have emerged, which generally support the data from animal models.”
A further breakdown of resveratrol’s long list of benefits (based mainly on studies in mammals) includes a reduction of cholesterol, reduction of blood pressure, improved glucose tolerance. The anti-cancer effects have been demonstrated mostly in animals, but human studies are progressing. Cell and animal studies suggest resveratrol may be effective at slowing or preventing neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s – at least one large human trial is underway. Metabolic disorders (including obesity and diabetes) are also targets, and human studies have already produced similar results as animal studies.
There have been 6000 published studies specifically on resveratrol, it’s not hard to see why virtually all major natural health personalities and major newsletters list resveratrol in their top handful of supplements to take, including Dr Oz (who has a video on it).
It’s also not hard to see that natural products (including resveratrol), and people deciding to look after their own health is a direct threat to drug companies. If you have read my newsletters for a while you will have read about some of the ongoing research fraud that virtually every drug company has been involved in. Well, it doesn’t stop there. Not content to simply fake data that relates to their own drugs, they also target promising supplements, and resveratrol is no exception.
One study that springs to mind was carried out on 29 perfectly healthy women, no blood pressure issues, no blood sugar issues (diabetes), no cardiovascular problems, none were obese etc. they were statistically the most healthy women you could meet. They had no metabolic risk factors at all. Half were given resveratrol and half a placebo. The results after a short period of time showed that their metabolic performance had not improved. The headlines read ‘Resveratrol Of No Benefit To Healthy Women’… Really? What were these perfectly healthy specimens meant to do…grow an extra leg? The studies demonstrating benefits of resveratrol in humans and animals have been successful in those who have got something wrong with them in the first place, not super healthy people who can’t get any better.
This sort of ‘set-up to fail’ study has the sole purpose of generating negative headlines. I guess all we can take from this is, if drug companies and their allies are targeting a natural ingredient, it’s a pretty good indicator that it has health benefits for humans.
Given that scientists are loath to publicly and directly question the motives of fellow scientists, I was pleasantly surprised to read recently published statements directly criticising the work of scientists behind one of these misleading studies, and in one case directly questioning the ‘objectivity’ of the researchers with respect to their findings. It’s as close as one scientist gets to accusing another scientist of fraud, and it’s about time.
It’s very hard to know what research to believe and which studies are the results of undue influence by vested interests. The pharmaceutical companies are both exceedingly rich, and massively influential, both with the scientists who do the research and the media that needs their advertising dollars. The best indicator is never single, isolated studies but the whole body of research on an ingredient, and in the case of resveratrol is it substantial and compelling.
Daniel King, MSc (hons)
Lipid Technology, January 2014, Vol.26, No.1