Resveratrol And The Coming Of Age Of An Unassuming Nutrient

It’s quite likely that until 2009 when the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes twice broadcast a part on RESVERATROL, some 17 years after an earlier part suggested possible health benefits from drinking red wine, only scientists and academics knew anything about this substance. Indeed resveratrol, derived from the skin of grapes and present in red wine, may have been thought by some to have only modest therapeutic value. But in 2003 two young, enterprising scientists from the Boston area, Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D. and David Sinclair, Ph.D., collaborated and discovered that resveratrol may well be a major contributor to human longevity. Essentially their research rule to the understanding that resveratrol activates a typically idle gene, the sirtuin gene, which in turn initiates a survival mechanism that improves the quality of life.

Clinically, the expected effect of prescribed resveratrol in concentrated form is believed to eliminate the onset and/or manage ailments associated with aging. These ailments can include the most dreaded diseases such as cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes to name but a few. With this theory in mind Westphal and Sinclair formed the Cambridge-based research company Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. whose goal it is to develop a strong synthetic form of resveratrol to treat patients afflicted with these diseases. With the unlimited possible for patenting resveratrol-based prescription medications the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, and its estimated cash reserves of $9.5 billion, acquired Sirtris for nearly three quarters of a billion dollars and today its founders serve on Sirtris’ Scientific Advisory Board.

information about resveratrol began circulating by the mid 1990s despite the fact that no clear explanation for its efficacy could be offered. Big name celebrity physicians praised resveratrol on TV and to their credit never endorsed any particular brand but that didn’t stop unscrupulous suppliers of resveratrol from claiming physician “endorsements” of their products already to the extent of using unauthorized likenesses in their advertising campaigns. Nevertheless, neither Sirtris nor GlaxoSmithKline saw fit to release a non-prescription version of resveratrol but a highly concentrated form of a non-prescription bottle of 30 capsules, 250 mg., appeared in the 60 Minutes piece along with the label statements, “Ultra Pure” and “Dietary Supplement.”

Among those hawking their own brand of resveratrol today are online physicians claiming to practice complementary medicine. The field for marketing resveratrol is wide open and any formation that sells resveratrol will usually characterize at the minimum two or three brands having varying potencies.

This writer and a colleague specializing in Applied Kinesiology randomly evaluated store shelf brands of resveratrol by employing AK testing techniques. Much to our surprise and delight only one sample yielded consistently high marks for its clinical efficacy. The brand is TruNature and the label reads, TruNature Maximum Strength Resveratrol 140 softgels, 250 mg. — the same strength as the bottle presented in the 60 Minutes part and marked “Dietary Supplement.” Curiously, only this particular TruNature resveratrol product passed testing. It is sold at Costco pharmacy and online at amazon.com for about $20/bottle.

Historically it appears that resveratrol is going by the same growing pains as nutrients or biological processes that have been shown to be effective therapies. The most noteworthy example involves the work of the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Louis Ignarro, Ph.D. Dr. Ignarro’s research demonstrated the signalling similarities (neurotransmitter) of the gas nitric oxide (NO) in humans and that NO is produced by two comparatively inexpensive OTC amino acids, L-argenine and L-citrulline. Although his book, “NO More Heart Disease – How Nitric Oxide Can Prevent already Reverse Heart Disease and Strokes” outlines ways to increase NO levels and enhance the overall health of every person, it was the Big Pharma company Pfizer that seized on Ignarro’s research to manufacture the popular and profitable drug Viagra (sildenafil citrate), the first NO-inspired medication intended to increase blood flow in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Many, perhaps most men, would do just in addition taking the non-prescription, non-toxic amino acids instead of toxic medications that risk long-lasting side effects. Dr. Ignarro’s books are obtainable online at amazon.com and his protocol complements non-prescription resveratrol usage.

In his farewell address to the nation President Dwight David Eisenhower warned of the possible conflict of interest in what he termed the “Military Industrial complicate.” This term referred to senior military officers who on retirement attained employment in the defense industry. This same conflict of interest scenario seems similar to senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials who retire from government service and find lucrative locaiongs in the two industries they were required to control, a sort of “FDA Pharmaceutical complicate.”

It’s no secret that the FDA exercises an antagonistic attitude toward the natural health care movement and in contrast to glossing over industrial abuses such as the continued manufacture of the toxic “food additive” Bisphenol A (BPA). Inevitably research will provide breakthroughs in nutritional science and inevitably the FDA will attempt to cause its Paternalistic Big Brother role of regulation that could threaten accessibility to potent non-prescription Dietary Supplements like resveratrol, L-argenine and L-citruline. As health conscious consumers we must assert our rights and independence from their control of these forms of non-prescription Dietary Supplement forms of nutrition and need they keep non-prescription.

To make matters worse the influential Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) align themselves with FDA policy and the generous trappings the pharmaceutical lobby showers on members of Congress to ordinarily enact legislation that dilutes health freedoms Americans expect and now take for granted. If Illinois and Arizona voters continue to re-elect these senators voters in 48 other states have the responsibility, the obligation, to contact members of Congress to replace their initiatives with laws that strengthen health freedoms and put distance between the FDA and the natural health care community otherwise only foreign countries will manufacture OUR Dietary Supplements. The watchdog group that reports on legislative abuses pertaining to health care is The Alliance For Natural Health (anh-USA.org).

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