Resveratrol life isn’t sweeter with wine

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?

Skipping supplements may be dangerous to your health

A chemistry teacher once introduced the class, saying that everything on earth is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Science can synthesize chemicals. Pharmacies, supermarkets, and online resources offer hundreds of non-prescription health remedies and dietary supplements. Health remedies are usually under some government scrutiny but dietary supplements are not. Conflicts over the integrity of those supplements, that many people rely on, arise regularly. People believe supplements offer alternate routes to health and wellness. Many articles support those beliefs but there are also many that don’t. Diseases and health conditions have always existed and remedies have always been sought. From magic natural potions to scientifically synthesized chemicals, challenges of nature and nurture have been fought for the last 150 years. Are supplements healthier than meds?

Judging from the size of pharmacy stores, we are a pill popping society. There are pills for anything from analgesics to weight loss. While traditional medicines are seen a scientific approach, supplements are being promoted. Is one better than the other?

Last weekend, the New York Times ran an article advising readers to Skip the Supplements in relationship to the amazing amounts of nutritional supplements available. Supplements are used around the world and in the USA as a form of alternative medicine or4 complementary medicine. In the USA, supplements are NOT approved and tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for therapeutic use or for possible side effects. Unless advised by a medical professional or unless you’ve taken (and excelled) a course in pharmacology, you should not use supplements on small children.

Supplements, like vitamins, herbs, and other natural nutritionals, have been used for thousands of years for general health and as cures for illnesses. Possible negative side effects were unknown or not scientifically tested. Vitamin D3 is excellent for structural support and cardiovascular health and supplements of D3 are recommended but how much is good for you? Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may improve good cholesterol levels but overdose can harm your liver over time. Drugs like opium and marijuana were once seen as supplements, and marijuana (to some degree) is now seen to help some medical conditions. Did you know that Aspirin was once considered a supplement? There are benefits and consequences with everything. For the average person, taking supplements as a substitute for medicines may not always be the better choice. That’s why the Nation Institutes of Health see supplements as complementary – able to help support medical approaches.

Historically, many of the diseases humans encounter today were seen in communities thousands of years ago, as evidenced by occurrences in less-civilized areas in Africa and South America. Medicinal leaders of various tribes attempted to find remedies to these conditions but effectiveness was a gamble, an unscientific one. Science has provided faster and more efficient ways at preventing and eliminating dreadful diseases. But are traditional medicines better than supplements? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no.

There is a war among traditional medical therapies and alternative, complementary therapies that has been waging for the past hundred years. Early medicine came from alchemy, the non-medical but serious study of medicinal naturals. Prior to that, complementary therapies were the mainstream. For the previous thousands of years, using Alchemy was one of the major therapeutic paths used to aid and restore wellness. It was a skillful art passed through generations by way of children and apprentices.

Alternative therapies weren’t just derived from leaves, vegetation, and flowers. There are those that came from human contact, such as massage and acupuncture.

Science evolved in the 1800’s trying to prove the unproven. What diseases were once considered Candida, science identified as mold, fungi, and bacteria. In the 1900’s, medical researchers aimed at developing antibiotics to treat diseases resulting from these phenomena. Telescopic observation demonstrated that mold had all sorts of adaptive behaviors to infect other organisms. These were akin to Darwin’s observation of survival of the fittest. Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the their environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms. Antibiosis was how mold survived over the ages.

Infectious diseases and antibiotic treatments weren’t new concepts. The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and Indians of central America all used molds to treat infected wounds. A 19th-century researcher, Louis Pasteur found that cooking milk helped eliminate some of the disease causing effects coming from natural milk. Pasteur lived in an era where many early medical researchers were exploring diseases like cholera and smallpox, previously identified as forms of candida.

The spread of cholera, due to poor sewage systems, were once attributed as plagues in the dark and medieval times. Churches saw these as holy curses of the unholy. Alchemists were blamed and suffered tortuous death. Yet, cholera still exists in many parts of the world. Pasteur, however, was one of those 19th-century thinkers, that helped identify treatment.

We are told that Julius Caesar and many other historic leaders suffered from epilepsy. In the 1920’s, researchers found that a ketogenic diet helped reduce epileptic symptoms, as well some other conditions.

Polio or poliomyelitis (which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow) has stricken many through the centuries. Polio reached epidemic proportions in the early 1900s in countries with relatively high standards of living, at a time when other diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis were declining. Indeed, many scientists think that advances in hygiene paradoxically led to an increased incidence of polio. There are theories that chemical toxins used on plants may have triggered the epidemic. President Franklin D Roosevelt was a major figure with this mobility-challenging disease. Scientists postulated that Polio is caused by one of three types of poliovirus (which are members of the Enterovirus genus). These viruses spread through contact between people, by nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies. While there is no authentic medical treatment, Jonas Salk is credited with bringing a Polio vaccine that virtually eliminated onset of this disease. The idea of that vaccine is reported to have come from a virus found in a moldy orange fruit.

But even medicine has its flaws. Some FDA approved medicines have been removed because of previously unknown harmful effects. There are discussions that antibiotics are being over prescribed for colds and misused by physicians and patients. Antibiotics are used to combat bacterial infections but some common diseases may be the result of viral infections. Overuse of antibiotics reduces effectiveness as bacteria eventually adapt to the drug.

Some believe that supplements go beyond pills and supplements. Ancient ideas targeted paths of energy and created a science beyond any science we might know. But is it scientific or complementary?

The goals in pursuing healthy approaches aren’t chemical alone. Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic are seen as popular therapeutic complementary approaches. In some ways, these non-chemical disciplines may offer healing therapy when there are no traditional therapy. Moderate exercise, Yoga, Pilates or just walking briskly may complement health and wellness. A crucial element is diet and getting proper nutrition. The George Mateljan Foundation or WH-Foods is a comprehensive and beneficial resource. Most times, people don’t have the time or the money or the taste to pursue a healthy nutritional diet. Supplements are not substitutes for food. They are designed to complement what you’re not getting.

Based on your diet, skipping supplements may actually be dangerous to your health over the course of years. The fee becomes the inconveniences and high costs of medical care, in many situations.

The average diet does not provide all the vitamins and minerals that the human body needs. Vitamin supplements are actively advertised and find their way to store shelves. Years ago, it was found that sailors, who had limited or no access to natural fruits, developed scurvy
, a disease known to cause anemia, debility, exhaustion, edema (swelling) in some parts of the body, and sometimes ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth.

There are many relationships between nutrition and health. How do consumers know the difference from synthesized nutritional supplements and those that are naturally derived? How can people be assured that the amount on the label is what their body is getting?

There are multiple vitamin supplements that seem to offer large amounts of practically everything. How are you sure that these many substances interact well with the others? How are you sure about proper absorption?

We are a naturally pill popping society. Recently, there were warnings that Bufferin has a toxic chemical in their pills. Scientists, when creating marketable pills, add inert (inactive) ingredients that allow the creation of the pill with long-term shelf storage. In the case of those popular over-the-counter drugs, the inert mix was toxic. In inexpensive vitamin supplements, those inert pill ingredients can actually mar the performance of those nutritional supplements and (possibly) your health.

Tinctures are a way to get around those inert ingredients found in pills. These are in liquid form and are dropped beneath your tongue. Why beneath? Some of these may not suit your tastes.

When taking herbs or spices, these supplements may not be as effective in pure forms as they are in their natural form. Phytophenolic combinations in natural foods may lose some properties in the conversion process.

If you are really leaning toward using supplements as a guide to health and wellness, seek out a competent nutrition practitioner or Nutritionist. Seek out one who is a Registered Dietician (RD) and fulfills the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). There are undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by many universities.

In New York City, medical facilities feature nutritionists as a way of providing integrative, holistic approaches to balance traditional medicine and supplements. Lenox Hill Primary Care, Beth Israel Center for Health and Healing are two very good places that help you find medical and nutritional health. The use of Integrative Medicine is spreading across the country, combining both traditional and alternative-complementary health care. Choose and check health insurance policies that offer this.

Standards and purity effect medicines and supplements. FDA or some other organization shouldn’t be your guide. Your life and sense of living is your primary path. While all things may not make you happy now and after, pursuing health and wellness is your responsibility. Fortunately, you live in a society that offers many choices. Whether you want to trust traditional medicine or supplements is your decision. Integrating both may be wiser but there are no guarantees. No one thing may treat what ails you. The methods may seem unorthodox but healthy aging is a good thing as life expectancies extend.