The French Paradox
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, first gained publicity in the early nineties when the CBS television show, 60-Minutes investigated why people living in France, despite eating diets high in saturated fats, had lower rates of coronary heart disease than people living in the United States. The report concluded that a higher consumption of red wine may play a role in lowering coronary heart disease. Since then, researchers have pointed to resveratrol, a substance contained in grape skins (and other plants such as Japanese knotweed), as the compound with the possibility of preventing or delaying coronary heart disease and many other health conditions.
The potential benefits of resveratrol are based on hundreds of studies, and include assisting with the cardiovascular system, liver, calorie restrictions and mimetic and athletic endurance; prevention against cancer, joint disease, Alzheimer’s, aging, cataracts, macular degeneration, Lyme disease, Neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and cell damage, as well as having anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
Resveratrol Health Benefits
Resveratrol: The most effective and best-researched phytonutrient for maintaining and protecting health.
• Supports colon health
• An all natural powerful antioxidant that protects DNA
• Restores glutathione (our most important antioxidant) levels
• Increases levels of quinone reductase (the liver uses this enzyme to detoxify carcinogens)
• Supports prostate health
• Acts as a beneficial phytoestrogen
• Shown to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation
• Enhances healing of skin wounds
What Should You Know Before Purchasing Resveratrol?
Its not surprising that consumers are confused about resveratrol. Resveratrol is a general name for a product that is available in various prices and purities: 5%, 10%, 20%, 50%, and 99%. It’s all about labeling. If a manufacturer does not indicate the purity on the label (which most do not), then there is no way of knowing the amount of trans-resveratrol in the product, or if it has any health benefits at all. Resveratrol can provide great health benefits ONLY if it contains sufficient amounts of trans-resveratrol, the active ingredient and beneficial substance in resveratrol. “Resveratrol” does not mean trans-resveratrol.
If all manufacturers would disclose the purity content of their product, there would be no confusion at all. In principle buying resveratrol is as straightforward as buying gold: Both are available in a variety of purities, but with gold there is no confusion. Why? In order to protect the consumer, the law requires the dealer/jeweler to indicate the purity content by stamping the purity on each item they sell (e.g. 5K, 14K, 24K etc.). Unfortunately, the same law does not apply to dietary supplements and essentially leaves the door open to fraud.
Since the FDA does not require the purity content of dietary supplements to be indicated on the label, it is not surprising that manufacturers who offer low-purity resveratrol do it solely for financial gain, and therefore do not disclose the purity content of their products. Instead, they go a few steps further by using misleading descriptions such as “Extra Strength”, “Super Potency”, “High Purity”, “Pure Resveratrol” and other intentionally deceptive statements while offering low purity resveratrol. It is important to note that most resveratrol sold in the USA and abroad (about 90% of the market) is of a low purity: 20%-50% or less. Remember, if the label does not clearly indicate the amount (or percentage) of trans-resveratrol, then there is no way of knowing its purity content, or if it even has any health benefits. It is important to note that based on recent scientific studies, 500 mg – 1000 mg of trans-resveratrol is the minimum daily amount that is needed to promote the benefits of this product for healthy individuals (an even higher dosage may be required for individuals with certain health conditions). Every label should include the purity information. Below are examples of valid and invalid supplement fact labels in regards to purity.
Consumers should be aware that even though the initial cost of lower purity resveratrol supplements may seem lower, the actual cost can work out significantly higher than the cost of pure trans resveratrol. For instance, consumers who purchase supplements of 50 percent purity must take double the dosage to achieve the same results. Consumers who take supplements of 20 percent purity must take five capsules to match the effectiveness of a single pure trans resveratrol capsule.
Below are samples of “Supplement Facts” labels. In order to emphasis on the purity content, certain information which does not relate to the subject matter (e.g. “Inactive Ingredients”, “Directions”, etc., but legally must be posted as a part of every label), was purposely omitted from the sample labels below.
When total “Resveratrol” or “Trans-Rresveratrol” content is not disclosed, its impossible to calculated or establish purity content. (Unless indicated as “standardized to ‘x’ Percent” as disclosed in the first two sample labels above.)