Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of resveratrol, the powerful anti-aging “red wine antioxidant”. In fact, I've written a lot about heart-friendly resveratrol’s benefits.
You've probably also read about the so called "French Paradox" that allows our friends in France to eat a diet that's heavy in red meats, carbs, fats, and rich sauces and yet, still maintain slim physiques. Not to mention an impressively low incidence of heart disease.
I've shared the news about the exciting anti-aging potential locked inside this grape skin extract.
And I've told you how resveratrol benefits may help in the fight against pancreatic cancer. In one study, it appeared to increase the effectiveness of chemo against cancerous cells, while at the same time offering protection to the healthy ones.
A number of studies have even found that resveratrol is a good candidate for helping with insulin regulation, high blood pressure, and cholesterol control. And one study even found that the supplement can increase blood flow to the brain, likely improving cognitive performance.
To put it simply, this stuff is impressive.
That's the question on many people's minds after a rash of recent headlines questioned the extracts' reputation. Critics point to the results of a recent study as evidence that resveratrol doesn't improve insulin sensitivity or help with cholesterol control.
Confused yet? Don't be. Their claims simply don't hold much water, and I'll explain why.
Finding the flaw
The study that the mainstream media has seized upon was published in October in the journal Cell Metabolism. And, if you listen to the mainstream reports, it concluded that there were no significant improvements in insulin sensitivity or cholesterol in women given the extract when compared to a control group.
And they're right...technically. But the results don't tell the complete story. Not by a long shot.
In fact, there's a truck-sized flaw running right through the middle of their argument. You see, the fifteen women who participated in this study (you read that right -- not fifteen thousand or fifteen hundred...just FIFTEEN women) were completely healthy to begin with. They didn't even have any insulin sensitivity or cholesterol problems to correct!
No, sadly, I'm not joking.
It turns out that none of them even had a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. In fact, all of the women underwent a complete medical evaluation at the start of the study and, well, let's just say the phrase healthy as a herd of horses springs to mind.
Tallying up the resveratrol benefits
So, did three months of a resveratrol supplement significantly improve perfectly healthy, non-obese women's already healthy metabolic function?
And does this matter to any of us?
Let's face it, a stack of research has already shown us the many things this powerful antioxidant can do for our health. Heck, even the researchers in this study that the mainstream is crowing about acknowledge that resveratrol has shown benefits for people with heart disease, pre-diabetes, diabetes, and cholesterol problems.
You know, people like most of the rest of us.
(Frankly, what puzzles me...well, beyond why they would test resveratrol on women who are already healthy, of course... is where these researchers even managed to find fifteen post-menopausal women in their fifty's that were so darn healthy anyway.)
The bottom line is, this new study doesn't reveal anything new about the resveratrol benefits. And it doesn't tell us a thing about its potential for helping to prevent future problems, either.
But when you weigh all of the evidence my money is still squarely on resveratrol.
However, unlike the too-low 75 mg dosage that was used in this study, I generally recommend 200 mg a day (or 100 mg if it's part of a comprehensive anti-aging or heart formula). Check with your own naturopathic doctor to find out what's the best choice for you.
P.S. -- When you sit down at your Thanksgiving table today go ahead and serve yourself a healthy helping of cranberries. It turns out this holiday favorite is packed with resveratrol. Just be sure you're reaching for the real thing and not that canned variety, which is chock-full of preservatives, processed sugar, and BPA. Happy Thanksgiving!