Praised Resveratrol nutritional supplements, touting wide health benefits, are being questioned by a new study. Back in the 1960’s, Linus Pauling endorsed mega-doses of Vitamin C might ward off the common cold. Doses of practically every vitamin have been tweaked to help support many health benefits, with multiple vitamins you can hardly swallow. A couple years back, Green Coffee Extract supplements touted rapid weight loss benefits. All these were supported by news and medical media. Practically all have faded from star status due to ill-gotten claims or noticed side effects. Star or starless, sales of nutritional supplements topped 11 billion dollars in 2012 USA sales. Are people gaining health benefits? Is it hype or faith? Do these behave like placebos producing a vast placebo-effect for those that believe in supplements as a lifestyle?
There’s an irony in research and often it’s hard to conjure any thoughts of conclusiveness. Just last month, the Scripps Institute released Resveratrol modulates the inflammatory response via an estrogen receptor-signal integration network. Just about two weeks later, a group from Johns Hopkins debunks Resveratrol’s effectiveness as a supplement. The disunity among science research may confuse the masses with ideas that are drawn from inconclusive conclusions. Is Resveratrol the elixir of love and life that many purport it to be? Is it possible that it may and may not, simultaneously?
People are told that a polyphenol called Resveratrol, found in red wine and chocolate, can prolong life. A recent study among Italians has found it has no effect on mortality rates. Resveratrol has attracted a lot of attention owing to its effects on inflammation, carcinogenesis, and longevity in various studies that spawned many Resveratrol supplements on store shelves.
This study, however, examined 2 villages in the Chianti area in a population-based sample of 783 community-dwelling men and women 65 years or older, from 1998 to 2009. In these regions, consumption of red wine each day is normal. In areas where red wine isn’t a staple, will Resveratrol reduce inflammation and add longevity. The researchers concluded that “resveratrol levels achieved with a Western diet did not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk of the population in this study.”
There are many other polyphenols in red wine and chocolate that serve as antioxidants. Supplementation may not offer the full benefits. In addition, few make lifestyle choices to continue supplementation. The areas of Tuscany are key wine production areas. The population consumes grapes and red wine routinely, often through several generations.
Popping pills is no alternative for the health benefits of a habitual diet of natural foods. Adding dark chocolate (70% or greater), wine, and grapes to your diet is likely more beneficial.
Chocolate has natural fats and grapes or wine have lots of natural carbohydrates. One can assume that the people of Tuscany are busy gathering grapes and manufacturing wine, both active chores. Whether the Resveratrol from grapes will effect life spans in more sedentary countries is still questionable. The study, however, does indicate that Resveratrol supplements themselves offer no measurable benefits.
I admit that I use two nutritional supplements for controlling my metabolic blood panel results. Due to other conditions, drugs offer wide side effects. I do accept that I am a guinea pig and monitor blood tests regularly. The results are generally successful. Do I see a wider population able to follow my lifestyle discipline? I don’t think so. My case is unique.
Less unique is the use of supplements in sports among competitive players. The Olympics and major sport franchises frown on this behavior. The problem seems to be growing and harsh penalties are dispensed. Do these supplements, then, really enhance performance?
Supplements are not drugs. They are legally viewed as food by the FDA but supplementation claims are not necessarily scientifically supported in the United States. Other countries may have designed studies, however.
Many foods, especially cereals and juices, have added nutritive supplements. Getting 100% allowances on 10 vitamins in some cereals mean they’ve added vitamins. Wheat, corn, or rice don’t have that nutrient supply. Raw cereals have few (if any) vitamins. Just read the ingredients beneath the nutrition panel.
The differences of these nutrients are bioavailability or how well these are absorbed by your body. In natural foods, naturally occurring polyphenols and phytochemicals aid in your body’s absorption of these nutrients. Processed foods may use processed nutrients that are not readily absorbed, if at all.
We are the descendants of countless generations who have survived on natural foods. These supplements were not around before the late 1800’s. Of course there have been incidences among sea voyagers developing diseases due to lack of available fruits. In extreme cases like this, supplements are necessary.
Nutrition is the products of the foods you eat. If your diet contains fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy, you should be getting what you need. If all you eat are burgers and shakes, a daily multivitamin might be fine. Blood tests often have panels to determine whether you are getting proper nutrition from your diet.
So when you read research that a compound in grapes, red wine could help treat multiple types of cancer, that the role of resveratrol may be a potential but isn’t a definite helper within a specific case. On the other hand, use of resveratrol supplements can worsen certain Multiple Sclerosis symptoms (in mice).
Resveratrol is in the eye of many researchers. Despite all the studies demonstrating pros and cons, resveratrol use from diet or supplementation needs more studying to offer solid evidence that it is a spectacular nutrient.
So far, resveratrol life isn’t sweeter with wine unless you lead an active life and follow a good diet. Nutritional fads come and go. Wellness often requires a marriage with nature and movement. Barring serious illnesses, the best methods of survival is relying on what your ancestors did. After all, you made it to where you are. Want a cup of wine?