It seems mandatory that the word resveratol must be accompanied by hype and pseudo science in any article – particularly when seen in any of the ‘wine press’. From Chemistry and Industry Magazine is yet another optimistic vignette, but at least there is some ‘real’ science content:
“Resveratol in wine has been hailed as the elixir of youth and cure for many ailments. It occurs in the seeds and skins of grapes and has reputed anti-tumor, antioxidant and antimicrobial action. It has even allowed for a longer life.
Resveratol prolongs the lifespan of flies, mice and yeast, similar to the effects of a starvation diet, and is believed to work by promoting sirtuin, a protein that helps to repair chromosomes. This wonder polyphenol is more prominent in red wines and especially Pinot Noir.
Many effects were reported from lab studies where the chemical was applied in unnaturally high doses, and you would have to consume buckets of red Burgundy to get the same dose. But not to worry, since Sirtis, a company founded by Harvard University scientist David Sinclair, has begun testing mimics of resveratol. One of these mimics is called SRT1720 and was reported last month to protect mice on fatty diets from getting obese and to enhance their endurance on treadmills. It was lauded as the cure for ‚couch potatoes’. But such mimics are potentially suitable as drugs since they activate sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) at lower doses than resveratol.
SRT1720 tricks the body into thinking food is scarce and has to burn fat to survive. Sirtris believes resveratol mimics could potentially treat diseases such as diabetes, inflammation, cancer and heart disease. According to ceo Christoph Wesphal: ‚The body of clinical data supporting the role of SIRT1 activation as a viable mechanism for treating a broad range of diseases of metabolism and aging is growing’. The company has obviously attracted the right attention; Sirtris was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline during the summer.
Blueberries and pomegranates are good natural sources of resveratol, and it is sold in supplements derived from Japanese knotweed, though some doubt whether this source contains much active ingredient. But functional foods and drinks are another possibility. A Texan university plans to genetically modify yeast to produce the wonder compound so that beer drinkers can similarly imbibe this tonic in their favourite tipple”.