The Shocking Truth About Resveratrol
Want to live longer? Eat less.
Sorry, don’t kill the messenger. Calorie restriction is the only strategy that has been consistently shown to extend life in every species studied so far.
Feed rats about 1/3 less than they normally eat and faster than you can say “Methusallah,” they live approximately 50% longer than their normal lifespan. It’s worked in yeast, fruit flies, mice, the aforementioned rats, and—most recently—in rhesus monkeys.
All indications are that reducing calories would extend life in our own species just as it does in every other one that’s been studied.
Simple enough, right? Just reduce your calories by about 33%. Result: a nice long healthy life.
Okay, class dismissed, lesson learned.
Yeah, riiightttt. That particular strategy is not exactly winning the popularity sweepstakes.
Which is why there’s been so much attention focused on a little plant flavonoid called resveratrol.
The Secret Strategy to Live Longer
To understand exactly how resveratrol exerts its “anti-aging magic,” we have to go back to a bunch of important studies involving calorically deprived rats.
Apparently, caloric restriction turns on a set of genes known as the sirtuin genes, which are considered to be major influencers of how long we live. “The sirtuin genes are the holy grail of medicine and nutrition,” says my good friend Mark Houston, MD. “These genes turn on or turn off different metabolic pathways that are designed to promote longevity and health.”
That’s why there was so much excitement when David Sinclair, MD—a professor and researcher at Harvard Medical School—discovered that there was another way to turn on these longevity genes, one that wouldn’t require you to starve yourself.
He and his associates published a now-famous paper reporting that plant compounds known as polyphenols could do the job quite well. And the polyphenol that seemed to work best was resveratrol.
The flavonoid resveratrol is found in red wine, the skin of young unripe red grapes, grape seeds, purple grape juice, and—to a lesser extent—in peanuts and mulberries. And it may turn out to be the closest thing we have at present to an anti-aging elixir.
Science and business are taking resveratrol very seriously. In 2004, a company formed to commercialize Sinclair’s research and develop drugs that work with the body’s own defenses against aging. That company—Siritis—was purchased by drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline in June 2008 for the nifty sum of $720 million.
That may wind up being a bargain. If resveratrol lives up to its promise, it may not only extend life, but also improve its quality.
Increase Your Life Span and Avoid Disease
Resveratrol has been shown in studies to inhibit the growth of several cancer cell lines and tumors. It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It ramps up detoxification enzymes in the liver (making it easier for your body to get rid of carcinogens), and it protects the heart.
It also protects neurons (brain cells). Recent research has even shown that it may reduce insulin resistance, a key factor in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And animal studies show that it slows the accumulation of fat.
Recently, the findings of the 2010 Resveratrol Conference in Denmark were made public. Almost 3,700 published studies were analyzed and the findings were profound. Experts identified 12 mechanisms of action by which resveratrol may act to combat the diseases of aging and to protect the body against the five leading causes of death among Americans. Among the mechanisms cited:
- Resveratrol lowers inflammation
- Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant
- Resveratrol can prevent damage to DNA
- Resveratrol can stimulate bone formation
- Resveratrol can lower the incidence of hypertension
- Resveratrol is neuroprotective
So should you add resveratrol to your daily supplement regimen? In a word, yes. But every product labeled “resveratrol” is not created equal.
The total amount of resveratrol in a capsule isn’t as important as the amount of trans-resveratrol, the particularly potent and bioactive form that has all the benefit. Trans resveratrol content is what you need to pay attention to.
We’ve combed through dozens of resveratrol supplements to find the best of the best—those that have the optimal level of the all-important trans-resveratrol. Unfortunately, there aren’t many that meet our criteria.
But one brand, does rise to the challenge. Now, without further ado, here is the resveratrol supplement I recommend…
Resveratrol Synergy by Designs for Health
Resveratrol Synergy contains a very healthy dose of 200 mg of the trans form of resveratrol in each capsule, rounded out with 200 mg of the anti-inflammatory flavonoid quercetin.
Simply put, this is a great formula.
How much resveratrol do you actually need to get the anti-aging and life-extension effects shown in the lab? “No one knows the correct dose in humans”, says Dr. Houston, “but any amount should have health benefits.” The smart money is betting on anywhere from 200 mg to 400 mg of trans.
One single capsule of Resveratrol Synergy provides 200 mg of trans resveratrol making it an essentially perfect choice for those wanting to include resveratrol in their supplementation program.
No one I know claims that taking resveratrol will counter the life-shortening effects of a terrible diet, smoking, and lack of exercise. But if you’re doing everything else right, a high-quality resveratrol supplement may just give you a real edge in the longevity sweepstakes.
The smart money is betting on it.
Wishing You Health and Wellness,
The Rockwell Nutrition Team