Reservations on Resveratrol: Not a Miracle Supplement

Resveratrol as a Recent Fad

It seems everyone is looking for an excuse to add a little (or a lot) wine or chocolate to their diet without feeling guilty. Many of these people find a friend in resveratrol, a chemical in wine, cocoa and various berry skins. Resveratrol is a natural antibiotic released in plants when they are under stress. It is known for its antioxidant properties of fighting cancer growth, inflammation and symptoms of aging. This happens when the antioxidant degenerates the oxidizer or free radical from the cell environment. Other antioxidants are vitamin C and selenium.

However, most lab results that show health benefits  are not tested on humans and there are too few causal links between resveratrol and the benefits to substantiate the supplement’s claim to fame.

Debunking Benefits

Despite the fad of resveratrol research in the past 20 years, a recent study at John Hopkins University School of Medicine found that there are few benefits linked from a diet that includes the antioxidant within the test subjects. Most of the previous studies with resveratrol are done on rodents who consume amounts of resveratrol more concentrated than a couple of glasses of red wine… maybe more than a few bottles! The benefits of supplement consumption in humans are not certain, so drop a pretty penny at your own risk (and make sure you tell your doctor).

Back to Water over Wine?

A little red wine never hurt anyone. In moderation, wine is consumed in many Mediterranean diets where people generally have less risk of the same chronic health issues supposedly stemmed with resveratrol. However, these people’s day-to-day involves more natural physical activity and fresh produce than the average American. It doesn’t hurt to eat plant foods like grapes, peanuts and blueberries because they are antioxidants as well as generally nutritious. Try to incorporate these foods naturally into your diet rather than taking a supplement of resveratrol and remember a quick fix is never a substitute for a healthy life.




Liji Thomas article on resveratrol:

Harvard Health News Letter:

John Hopkins School of Medicine Results:

Photo taken from Daniella Segura’s Flickr page via Creative Commons

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