Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    Resveratrol to the Rescue?

    Resveratrol is the compound behind red wine’s famous health benefits. And, despite its difficult pronunciation, consumers are finding this word on the tips of their tongues. “There is definitely a growing awareness of the antioxidants found in grapes,” says Matt Seale, sales and marketing, Muscadine Products Corporation, Wray, GA.

    Although resveratrol was first isolated in 1940 from the roots of white hellebore, it piqued the interest of scientists when the health benefits of red wine came to light in the “French Paradox,” an observation that the French enjoyed lower rates of mortality from coronary heart disease despite their higher levels of saturated-fat intake and cigarette smoking.

    Resveratrol, found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts and some berries, belongs to a class of polyphenolic compounds called stilbenes. Some plants produce resveratrol and other stilbenes in response to stress, injury, fungal infection or ultraviolet radiation. In grapes, resveratrol is only found in the skins, and the amount varies with the grape cultivar, its geographic origin and exposure to fungal infection. The amount of fermentation time a wine spends in touch with its skin also affects resveratrol content; thus, white and rosé wines contain less than red wines. Resveratrol appears to be well-absorbed when taken orally, but its bioavailability is relatively low due to its rapid metabolism and elimination.

    Resveratrol’s disease fight

    Exploring resveratrol’s potential health properties was a logical step, since both epidemiological and experimental studies had found a heart-health benefit with moderate red wine consumption. Laboratory experiments have since noted antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiplatelet, cholesterol-lowering and mild estrogenic activities linked with resveratrol. It’s important to note the lack of human research on resveratrol supplementation. Studies also suggest that even high dietary intakes of resveratrol may not result in human tissue levels high enough to see most of the protective effects demonstrated in cell-culture studies.

    Ole Vagn, professor,University of Roskilde and scientific advisor to Fluxome Sciences A/S, Lyngby, Denmark, estimates dosage based on animal studies: Based on a single study on hamsters, an effect for humans will be observed using 1 gram resveratrol per day. Based on three rat studies, an effect for humans will be observed using 16 grams resveratrol per day. In a single mouse study, very high doses are used. One liter of red wine has on average 7 mg of trans-resveratrol.

    Is resveratrol responsible for the heart-health benefits found in wine? It is too early to know for sure, but scientists have found that resveratrol effectively neutralizes free radicals and other oxidants and inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation in the test tube. It is a well-accepted theory that oxidative stress caused by free radicals plays a crucial role in the development of atherosclerosis. In addition, resveratrol appears to possess a range of other properties, including inhibition of platelet aggregation, antiarrhythmic and vasorelaxation actions, and inhibition of apoptotic cell death that protects from myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury, atherosclerosis and ventricular arrhythmias. More research needs to occur to fully understand the relationship between resveratrol and heart health. Resveratrol may offer protection against cancer. As a possible anticancer agent, it has been shown to inhibit or retard growth of various cancer cells in culture and implanted tumors in vivo. It also inhibits experimental tumorigenesis in a wide range of animal models. The National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, reports that resveratrol exhibits activities in three major steps of carcinogenesis: anti-initiation activity, anti-promotion activity and anti-progression activity. A clinical trial exploring its effects on colon cancer patients is currently underway.

    Another interesting area of research involves longevity. Dietary supplementation with resveratrol may produce effects similar to calorie restriction on metabolism and longevity in mice. In mice made obese with a high-fat diet, resveratrol provided an average of 15% longer lifespan compared with those that did not receive the supplement. Resveratrol also promoted an extension in the lifespan of yeast, worms, fruit flies and a vertebrate fish. Resveratrol’s effects on longevity in higher animals needs to be investigated to gain more knowledge in this area.

    The “wine pill”

    Resveratrol supplements, in doses of 10 to 50 mg, have grown popular among consumers. Most U.S. resveratrol supplements come from extracts of the root of Polygonum cuspidatum. Grape and wine extracts containing resveratrol and other polyphenols are also attracting attention. Seale notes the value of grape skin and seeds that were once discarded as compost in the vineyard. “These grape extracts would be ideal to fortify a juice beverage with an antioxidant boost,” he says. “It could also be used in combination with other juices, such as blueberry, that can be tart.” Resveratrol and grape supplements have particular appeal among teetotalers; they can enjoy the benefits of red wine sans alcohol. Trans-resveratrol is an antioxidant, so will by nature oxidize with the presence of air. “In general, the matrix where trans-resveratrol is added will, to some extent, protect it from oxidation,” says Sami Sassi, product manager, Fluxome. Whether the production or process will affect oxidation, “much depends on the application itself... Granulation and microencapsulation together with premixes with other antioxidants can be applied, if required by the customer.” Scientists are just scratching the surface in this field of research, but the future looks rosy for resveratrol.


    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Researchers Identify Cancer Preventive Properties In Common Vitamin Supplement

    Early laboratory research has shown that resveratrol, a common dietary supplement, suppresses the abnormal cell formation that leads to most types of breast cancer, suggesting a potential role for the agent in breast cancer prevention. Resveratrol is a natural substance found in red wine and red grapes. It is also sold in extract form as a dietary supplement.

    "Resveratrol has the ability to prevent the first step that occurs when estrogen starts the process that leads to cancer by blocking the formation of the estrogen DNA adducts. We believe that this could stop the whole progression that leads to breast cancer down the road," said Eleanor G. Rogan, Ph.D., a professor in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

    Rogan was the lead author of the report that was published in the July 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

    For the current study, Rogan and colleagues measured the effect of resveratrol on cellular functions known to contribute to breast cancer. The formation of breast cancer is a multi-step process which differs depending on type of disease, a patient's genetic makeup and other factors. However, scientists know that many breast cancers are fueled by increased estrogen, which collects and reacts with DNA molecules to form adducts. Rogan and colleagues found that resveratrol was able to suppress the formation of these DNA adducts.

    "This is dramatic because it was able to be done with fairly low concentrations of resveratrol to stop the formation of these DNA adducts in the cells we studied," said Rogan. Although researchers experimented with up to 100 µmol/L of resveratrol, the suppression of DNA adducts was seen with 10 µmol/L. A glass of red wine contains between 9 and 28 µmol/L of resveratrol.

    The researchers also found that resveratrol suppressed the expression of CYP1B1 and the formation of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, two known risk factors for breast cancer.

    Rogan said resveratrol works by inducing an enzyme called quinone reductase, which reduces the estrogen metabolite back to inactive form. By making estrogen inactive, resveratrol decreases the associated risk. The current study was conducted in laboratory cultures, and will need to be confirmed in larger human trials, Rogan said.

    Source: The American Association for Cancer Research

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Why French Red Wine is the Best Wine for the Heart

    French red wine grapes contain one of highest known naturally occurring sources of resveratrol. These grapes have come to be known as the super-antioxidants of the red wine grape world.

    The French have long been known for their consumption of rich pasta dishes, heavy cream sauces, fatty cheeses, and oil soaked breads. It is also well known the French enjoy their abundance of red wine. The robust wine generally accompanies the evening meal.

    Studies have shown that despite their consumption of fatty, high caloric foods, the French have a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease than that of Americans and Europeans living outside of wine country. The obvious difference in the diet of the comparison groups is the wine consumed with the meals. Interest in the studies has led to further testing of red wine grapes.

    It is the antioxidants in red wine that provide the health benefits received in the consumption of the beverage. These antioxidants are polyphenols, anthrocyanidins, and resveratrol, with resveratrol being the most potent of all. Resveratrol has shown to be from 20-50 percent more effective than Vitamin C alone. When combined with Vitamin C, the effect of both is greatly enhanced.

    Red wine grapes provide us with many benefits, including the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, keeping bone structure healthy and functioning properly, and maintaining loco-motor and balance activity. They also have been shown to inhibit prostrate and breast cancer cell lines. Resveratrol, though, effectively lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation of the heart, and is highly effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. It has also been demonstrated to have an anti-clotting effect and prevents the formation of blood clots in the vessels. It is believed the formation of fibrinous clots in the small blood vessels and chambers of the heart are the cause of strokes and heart attacks.

    French red wine grapes are more effective at fighting heart disease and high cholesterol due to the higher content of resveratrol. Therefore, French red wine is the best wine for the heart. Consuming alcohol on a regular basis, though, can bring with it a host of other medical problems.

    When a person consumes an alcoholic drink, the body begins metabolizing the alcohol to reduce the toxic effect. It first converts the alcohol to acetaldehyde, primarily in the liver. This step occurs quickly in those that consume alcohol frequently and leaves acetaldehyde in the body for several hours. The acetaldehyde is converted to acetate and the acetate metabolized to produce energy.

    Acetaldehyde is responsible for most of the unwanted toxic effects of alcohol consumption. It deprives the brain of oxygen at the cellular level, causes deficiencies of vitamins and enzymes, and inhibits Prostaglandin synthesis. This can result in memory loss, mental confusion, vision problems, insomnia, depression, and agitation among several other problems. Continued use of alcohol can result in liver disease and brain damage.

    We can still enjoy the healthful benefits of French red wine by drinking it in moderation. French red wine extract is also available in capsule form through pharmaceutical laboratories. This allows us to enjoy all the health benefits of French red wine without any of the harmful effects of alcohol on a daily basis. French red wine extract capsules can be found for sale in some health food stores and via sales over the Internet.


    Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your Heart?

    Red wine and something in red wine called resveratrol might be heart healthy. Find out the facts, and hype, regarding red wine and its impact on your heart.

    By Mayo Clinic staff

    Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.

    While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That's because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.

    Still, doctors do agree that something in red wine appears to help your heart, though it's unclear just exactly what that "something" is. Researchers think antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have promising heart-healthy benefits.

    Antioxidants aren't the only substances in red wine that look promising. The alcohol in red wine also appears to be heart healthy. Find out what's known — and not known — about red wine and its possible heart-health benefits.

    How is red wine heart healthy?

    Research studies on the heart-health benefits of red wine have reported mixed results. Some studies show that red wine seems to have even more heart-health benefits than other types of alcohol, while other studies show that red wine isn't any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There's still no clear evidence yet that red wine is superior to other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-health benefits.

    The studies supporting red wine suggest antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. These antioxidants come in two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids.

    • Flavonoids. These antioxidants are found in a variety of foods, including oranges, grape juice, apples, onions, tea and cocoa. Other types of alcohol, such as white wine and beer, contain small amounts, too, but red wine has higher levels.
    • Nonflavonoids. These antioxidants found in red wine have recently been of particular interest because they appear to help prevent arteries from becoming clogged with fatty blockages. However, these studies mostly involved mice — not humans. Resveratrol is the nonflavonoid that's received the most attention from researchers.

    Resveratrol in red wine

    Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots.

    Most research on resveratrol has been conducted on animals, not people. Research in mice given resveratrol has indicated that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease. However, those findings were reported only in mice, not in people. In addition, to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to consume 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine a day.

    Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. More research is needed before it's known whether resveratrol was the cause for the reduced risk.

    Some companies sell supplements containing resveratrol. However, not enough is known about resveratrol's effects to endorse resveratrol supplements. Research into the potential heart-health benefits of resveratrol is continuing.

    Resveratrol in grapes and other foods

    The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Some studies have suggested that red and purple grape juices have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine.

    Other foods that contain some resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries. It's not yet known how beneficial eating grapes or other foods might be compared with drinking red wine when it comes to promoting heart health. The amount of resveratrol in food and red wine can vary widely.

    How does alcohol help the heart?

    Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It's thought that alcohol:

    • Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol
    • Reduces the formation of blood clots
    • Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol
    Drink in moderation — or not at all

    Red wine's potential heart-health benefits look promising. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed before we know whether red wine is better for your heart than are other forms of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.

    Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and is associated with other health issues.

    Drinking too much increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and other problems. In addition, even small amounts of alcohol can cause cardiomyopathy — weakened heart muscle — causing symptoms of heart failure in some people. If you have heart failure or a weak heart, you should avoid alcohol completely. If you take aspirin daily, you should avoid or limit alcohol, depending on your doctor's advice. You also shouldn't drink alcohol if you're pregnant. If you have questions about the benefits and risks of alcohol, talk to your doctor about specific recommendations for you.

    If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

    A drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits.

    The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do.


    Uses for French Red Wine Extract

    The French have long enjoyed rich pasta dishes laden in heavy cream sauces and fatty cheeses accompanied by oil soaked breads and decadent desserts. However, the French have one of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease. The difference in their dietary habits is simple, wine in abundance. Finally, the rest of the world has taken notice and managed after all these years to put two and two together.

    The fact that the French have a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease compared to Americans and Europeans who live outside of wine country is no coincidence. French red wine grapes contain one of the highest sources known of naturally occurring resveratrol, a super potent anti-aging compound.

    Resveratrol has been shown to have very strong effects in preventing cardiovascular disease, reducing inflammation of the heart, keeping bone structure healthy and functioning properly, and maintaining loco-motor and balance activity. Red wine grapes, high in antioxidants and polyphenols, have recently began to be advertised for their many health benefits. French red wine grapes are the super-antioxidants of the red wine grape world.

    The natural progression to the studies done on French red wine grapes was to find a way to bottle this fountain of youth miracle. Hence, French red wine extract capsules hit the market and seem to be flying off shelves faster than the bottles can be stocked.

    French red wine extract allows us to enjoy the health benefits of French red wine without the alcohol or extra calories. The mixture of compounds in red wine have been shown to prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia, as well as cardiovascular disease. Red wine has also been shown to be highly effective in inhibiting prostate and breast cancer cell lines and an effective method of lowering cholesterol.

    French red wine extract is available in capsule form in pharmacies and over the internet at an average cost of thirty dollars a month. There are also red wine extract capsules available on the market that did not come from France's wine growing region. The buyer must be aware of what they are purchasing to obtain maximum results.

    French red wine extract may prove to be the obese person's ticket to freedom to enjoy the foods they love without restricting their diet. Test studies performed on mice at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, have shown that resveratrol improved the health and lifespan of middle-aged obese mice on a high calorie diet. The mice which remained on a high calorie diet lived longer than the mice put on a restricted diet. For those of us who enjoy eating as much as cooking, this news was like receiving an unexpected gift in a 24K gold box!

    Regardless of your desire to use French red wine extract to combat Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, or one of its many other benefits, consult your physician before taking this food supplement.

    Source: Helium

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Resveratrol: Live Long Eating More

    David Sinclair and his collaborators think not only that the protective effects of fasting occur in people, but that they can be supplied in a pill. Research by Sinclair and his colleagues pointed to an ingredient in red wine called resveratrol as a candidate for triggering the life-lengthening benefits of dieting in humans. Their research was published August 24, 2003 in the online version of the journal Nature.

    Curiously, the scientists may have found the answer to a famous paradox about the French. The paradox goes like this: even though the French consume very fatty food considered risky for the heart, they live as long as everyone else. The French also drink a lot of red wine, which has long been suspected as the reason for their longevity.

    So far, resveratrol has only been a fountain of youth for laboratory yeast and fruit flies.

    The laboratory yeast now benefiting from resveratrol helped lead to the chemical's discovery in the first place. Leonard Guarente began looking for long-lived yeast in his Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory in the early 1990s. In 1997, he and Sinclair found a strain of yeast that could outlast the others—and this strain had an active sir2 gene. Guarentee later found that normal yeast that don't belong to this long-lived strain will activate sir2 if they are starving.

    Sinclair and Konrad Howitz, a colleague at Biomol Research Laboratories in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, screened a large number of chemicals hoping to identify a few that would enhance the activity of sirtuin, the enzyme made by sir2. Such a chemical could be used in place of fasting to take advantage of sir2's beneficial effects. Using a test they designed to measure sirtuin's activity, they identified two chemicals, both members of the family called polyphenols. After screening a batch of polyphenols, they found a chemical that stimulated sirtuin more than any of the others: resveratrol.

    Concerning his possible solution of the French paradox, Sinclair told the New York Times he was amazed that "in an unbiased screen we pulled out something already associated with health benefits."

    Guarente estimates that, assuming the life-lengthening effects of fasting or resveratrol are the same in humans as in laboratory organisms, people taking a drug that contains resveratrol might extend their normal life expectancy by one-third. For example, a person aged 50 years and expected to live to 80 might instead live to 90.

    Other experts are less optimistic about the life-extending capacity of fasting and resveratrol. "At this point we have no indication that there will be a benefit in people," David Finkelstein, project officer at the National Institute of Aging, told the New York Times.

    As for red wine itself, Toren Finkel, head of cardiovascular research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, told the New York Times, "I would be cautious in sending out the message that one glass of wine a day will make you live 10 years longer. The concentration of resveratrol in different wine differs." The newspaper reported that levels of the chemical are higher in red wines made from grapes grown under stressful conditions, such as a cool climate or the presence of a fungal infection.

    Biologists believe resveratrol may unlock an ancient mechanism, whose purpose may be to protect an organism when food is scarce, preserving the organism for reproduction in better times.


    "It's Never Too Late." James W. Vaupel, James R. Carey, and Kaare Christensen. Science, September 19, 2003, page 1679.

    "Study Spurs Hope of Finding Way to Increase Human Life." Nicholas Wade. The New York Times. August 25, 2003, page A10.

    "Forget Botox. Anti-Aging Pills May Be Next." Andrew Pollack. The New York Times. September 21, 2003, section 3, page 1.

    "Demography of Dietary Restriction and Death in Drosophila." William Mair, Patrick Goymer, Scott D. Pletcher, and Linda Partridge. Science, September 19, page 1731.

    "Small Molecule Activators of Sirtuins Extend Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Lifespan." Konrad T. Howitz, Kevin J. Bitterman, Haim Y. Cohen, Dudley W. Lamming, et al. Nature, September 11, 2003, page 191.


    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Wine-Related Cancer Treatment Shows Promise Against Neuroblastomas

    Resveratrol--the intriguing substance that seems to make red wine heart-healthy--is being proposed for clinical trials later in 2009 as a treatment against neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that affects infants and young children.

    Dr. Arthur Polans, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UW; Madison, USA) and the UW Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been studying the substance for about five years, and has been using it successfully to treat several types of cancer in mice. His research group has applied for permission to use it to treat neuroblastoma, a nervous-system cancer that mostly affects infants and children.

    “Resveratrol is a promising treatment for young children because it’s not toxic to healthy cells, only to cancer cells,’’ Dr. Polans said. “How do you treat infants without causing other problems in the years to come? That is the kind of question that intrigues us.”

    Because it seems to kill cancer kills while leaving healthy tissue alone, resveratrol is also being looked at to treat ocular or uveal melanoma, a cancer of the eye that can lie dormant for many years before metastasizing and becoming fatal. So far, there are no good treatments for melanoma that begins in the colored tissues of the eye; it doesn’t respond the same way as melanoma that begins in the skin. “It’s one of those rotten cancers,’’ Dr. Polans noted. “We don’t know what causes it and we don’t know how to treat it effectively.”

    While the cancers are very different, adults who develop melanoma of the eye have something in common with babies who develop neuroblastoma--they may live for a long time after their diagnosis, so potential treatments shouldn’t cause other health problems.

    “What neuroblastoma and uveal melanoma have in common is the factor of time,” said Dr. Polans. “Ideally, you’d like to be able to treat them aggressively at first, and then treat them with lower doses of a non-toxic compound over time. Otherwise, you run the risk of damage to vital organs or an increase in secondary tumors.”

    So far, the Polans lab has shown that resveratrol shrinks tumors and kills malignant cells in five types of cancer: skin melanoma, breast cancer, neuroblastoma, ocular melanoma and retinoblastoma. A poster outside Dr. Polans’ office shows a mouse with a large neuroblastoma tumor that is then shrunken to nothing by resveratrol. “Mice that were treated with resveratrol are healthy, gain weight, and don’t seem to have side effects,’’ he said, “but when you look at the cancer cells, they’re dying.”

    Dr. Polans’ lab has also done a lot of essential research on resveratrol, developing new forms of the compound that are more potent, and active in the body for longer than the common forms of the substance.

    If it shows to be effective, resveratrol will join a large class of cancer-fighting compounds derived from plants, including taxol, which comes from yew trees, and etopside, derived from the mayapple. Resveratrol, which can be derived from grape skins, is also seen as the substance at work in the so-called “French Paradox,’’ in which French hearts stay healthy (due to drinking red wine) in spite of all the high fat foods consumed.

    “About 70% of new chemotherapeutics are derived from natural products or based on their structures,’’ concluded Dr. Polans. “There’s a lot of interest worldwide in finding new substances from plants and other natural sources, including microbes from the soil and a variety of species from the ocean.”


    Antioxidants: The Rise of Polyphenols

    For many consumers, antioxidant doesn’t go beyond vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene, but as understanding of the antioxidant compounds in fruit and vegetables increases, more research is pointing towards the potential of polyphenols.

    In the final part of its series on antioxidants, NutraIngredients looks at the rise of polyphenols and flavonoids, and what still needs to be done.

    Data from Leatherhead Food International (LFI) shows that the world functional antioxidants market is increasing year on year by around 3 per cent, and was valued at US$ 400 million in 2004, and US$ 438 million in 2007. Europe, the US, and Japan account for 90 per cent of this market.

    With flavonoids and polyphenols reported to be 45 per cent of this functional antioxidant market, equivalent to almost US$ 200 million, it is no wonder that many companies are already offering such ingredients, including Naturex, Burgundy, Chr. Hansen, DSM, Futureceuticals, Danisco, Indena, Frutarom, Genosa, Natraceutical, Cognis, and ADM.

    However, while the science is beginning to point to the significant potential and benefits of polyphenols, Ming Hu from the University of Houston recently issued "a call to arms" for more relevant research into the bioavailability and utilisation of the antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, in order to help "the successful development of polyphenols as chemopreventive agents in the future".


    Polyphenols are receiving extensive research due to their potent antioxidant activity, their ability to mop-up harmful free radicals, and the associated health benefits. Many have also been implicated in possible protection against diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, while some have been reported to potentially offer protection from Alzheimer's.

    A recent study by French researchers using a series of antioxidant assays, including DPPH, ABTS, ORAC, SOD, FRAP of extracts from 30 plants found a “significant relationship between antioxidant capacity and total phenolic content […], indicating that phenolic compounds are the major contributors to the antioxidant properties of these plants” (J. Agric. Food Chem., 2009, Vol. 57, pp. 1768-1774).

    Furthermore, according to an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2008, Vol. 88, pp. 12-13), Johanna Geleijnse and Peter Hollman from Wageningen University in the Netherlands stated that the contribution of flavonones to a person's antioxidant capacity was significant.

    "More than 6000 different flavonoids in plants have been described, and their total intake could amount to 1 g/d, whereas combined intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E from food most often are less than 100 mg/d," they said.

    The chemical class refers to compounds called phenylpropanoids, which includes flavonoids, and hydrolyzable tannins such as the gallic acid esters of glucose,

    Flavonoids can be split into a number of sub-classes, including anthocyanins found in berries, flavonols from a variety of fruit and vegetables, flavones from parsley and thyme, for example, flavanones from citrus, isoflavones from soy, mono- and poly-meric flavonols like the catechins in tea, and proanthocyanidins from berries, wine and chocolate. The non-flavonoids include phenolic acids, lignans, and stilbenes such as resveratrol.

    Structure is key

    Polyphenols, and flavonoids in particular, are not all created equal. For example, scientists from The Ohio State University reported that the structure of anthocyanins, the antioxidant pigments from a range of fruit and vegetables, is key to the cancer fighting abilities.

    According to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (doi: 10.1021/jf8005917), certain types of anthocyanins have greater activity against colon cancer than others.

    “The chemical structures of anthocyanins do have a significant impact on their biological activity, and data suggest that non-acylated monoglycosylated anthocyanins are more potent inhibitors of colon cancer cell growth proliferation,” wrote lead author Pu Jing.

    The researchers cautioned that more research is necessary to explore the role of anthocyanin structure and the chemo-protective effects.

    Much work left to do…

    In addition to the potential benefits for reducing the risk of cancer, the most science has pointed towards a protective role in cardiovascular health. Geleijnse and Geleijnse added, however, that significant study was still needed in this area.

    "Substantial evidence for a vasoprotective effect of specific flavonoids is, however, still lacking. Optimal doses of specific flavonoids for cardiovascular protection […] are still beyond the horizon,” they wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    “Flavonoid research has made large progress since the [early days], but, to really advance the field, the step to individual flavonoids must be made now."


    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Grape Extracts May Be Effective Against Harmful Gut Bacteria

    In a new study researchers from Clemson University found various grape extracts and their compounds to be effective at inhibiting Helicobacter pylori, one of the leading causes of gastritis in humans.

    H. pylori is the bacterial agent most commonly associated with peptic ulcers, gastritis, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, and gastric cancer. Antibiotic therapy has proven effective at providing initial relief, however resistance can develop over time and relapse can occur. Previous studies have examined other natural plant extracts with anti-H. pylori activity such as garlic, broccoli, cranberries and green tea, however, grapes have yet to be evaluated despite being well known for their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.

    The antibacterial effects of extracts from red, white, black and muscadine grapes as well as the pure compounds resveratrol, ellagic acid, and myricetin were tested for anti-H. pylori activity using agar dilution, laser scanning microscopy and cell proliferation. Following 24 hour treatment, results showed that muscadine grape skin extract had the highest anti-H. pylori effect, followed by muscadine grape synergy and seed extract. Additionally, two of the three compounds, resveratrol and ellagic acid, also inhibited H. pylori.

    "In this study, grape extracts and their compounds were effective at inhibiting H. pylori in vitro, with highest efficacy by muscadine grape skin extract," say the researchers.


    Monday, March 2, 2009

    The Healthy Effects of Pomegranate


    A Health-Supporting

    Ancient Gift of Nature

    In ancient and medieval worlds, the pomegranate symbolized fertility, birth and death.

    The power and symbolism of the pomegranate is seen within religious and spiritual cultures around the world and throughout time. In ancient myth, Persephone ate the seeds of a pomegranate as her only meal during her yearly decent into the underworld.

    The pomegranate is a fruit that has survived history and its popularity has blossomed recently as more studies have been done which show exactly how powerful the pomegranate can be in enhancing longevity and vitality.

    What is it about the pomegranate that is causing such a stir? The pomegranate contains one of the highest natural antioxidant contents found in any natural food. Antioxidants are the powerful chemicals found naturally in certain foods, which neutralize cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

    Antioxidants are helpful in the protection and healing of cells in the body. They help protect us from disease and premature aging.

    What is it specifically about the antioxidants found in the pomegranate that make it so special? The pomegranate boasts high levels of specific polyphenol antioxidents and tannins which make it such a powerful health tonic.

    Tests which were conducted by the POM Wonderful company concluded that compared to red wine, pomegranate juice contains 17% more potent polyphenol antioxidants.

    What other health benefits have been found from drinking pomegranate juice?

    According to the POM Wonderful website, "A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed improved blood flow to the heart in patients drinking 8 oz. daily of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice for 3 months." The POM Wonderful company has spent $25 million in medical research to back the effectiveness of their product.

    These studies have also shown that men suffering from mild to moderate erectile dysfunction who drank 8 oz. of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice daily for 4 weeks, were found to be 50% more likely to experience an improvement in the frequency of erections.

    Pomegranate juice has been shown to show hopeful improvements in the prevention of prostate cancer. It has also been shown that drinking pomegranate juice daily may help manage diabetes and may even help to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

    The health benefits of the pomegranate are clear. How can we try to incorporate the pomegranate into our diet?

    Pomegranate seeds eaten raw are crunchy, sweet and delicious. Drinking pomegranate juice is easy when it can be mixed into delicious concoctions such as smoothies and Pomegranate Martinis.

    Pomegranate seeds can be incorporated into other foods as a garnish or splash of flavor.

    Try adding them to your fruit salad for an extra antioxidant boost.

    Sprinkle pomegranate seeds as a garnish on desserts which are decorated with whipped topping. Anything from soup recipes to desserts can incorporate the use of pomegranate seeds or juice.

    Finding a way to enjoy the pomegranate is easy, and finding a reason to enjoy it is even easier. Take pleasure in enjoying this gift from nature that has been symbolized and passed down throughout the ages.


    Here's a Toast to Red Wine Pill

    How do the French differ from North Americans?

    They eat fat-rich, calorie-packed baked goodies that are not heart healthy.

    Yet they're less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than North Americans. It's called "The French Paradox", believed to be linked to resveratrol, a substance found in red wine. Now, a new study shows that a red wine pill provides more health benefits than drinking hundreds of glasses of the "sweet nectar of the gods."

    Dr. David Sinclair at The Harvard Medical School, has developed a concentrated form of resveratrol. He's tested the effects on mice and believes it will help to offset the effect of high fat diets, decrease the chance of diabetes and slow down aging in humans.

    Middle-aged mice were fed a diet in which 60 percent of calories came from fat. They developed signs of diabetes and died much sooner than mice fed on a regular diet.

    Another group of middle aged mice were fed the same diet along with resveratrol. This prevented the onset of diabetes and even though obese, they lived as long as those fed a regular diet. It showed mice could be gluttons at mealtime without paying the price later on.

    Dr Johan Auwerx at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Illkirch, France, showed that an ordinary mouse could run one kilometre on a treadmill.

    But mice given resveratrol ran twice as far and had a slower heart rate, similar to trained athletes. As Dr. Auwerx remarked, "Resveratrol makes you look like a trained athlete without the training."

    Auwerx believes resveratrol generates energy in the body's cells thereby burning more fat and avoiding weight gain. Examination of muscle fibers of the mice revealed they had been remodeled by resveratrol into a type prevalent in trained human athletes.

    There, scientists believe that enzymes, such as sirtuin, keep the body healthful in youth, but become less powerful with age. They claim that resveratrol restores the activity of these enzymes.

    At this point I'm ready to pour myself a glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon. But according to Dr. Sinclair I would have to drink 1,500 bottles of red wine daily to get the same amount of resveratrol that was given to mice. The alternative is the Red Wine Pill.

    Sinclair's research is driven by his own desire to slow down aging. As he told me, "This is the Holy Grail of Aging Research." And he says he, his wife, parents and half of his research staff take the red wine pill.

    So what is the choice?

    If you're a moderate drinker you can continue to enjoy a frequent glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Many studies show you will live longer. But Dr. Sinclair stresses his research is not about red wine which provides miniscule amounts of resveratrol. Rather, it's about getting a concentrated dose of resveratrol in the Red Wine Pill.

    For years, doctors have feared promoting the health benefits of wine because of social problems associated with excessive use of alcohol. Now the Red Wine Pill allows teetotalers the health benefits of wine without the alcohol or calories.

    Since 50 per cent of patients with diabetes die from heart attack.

    The Red Wine Pill will hopefully help decrease this complication in years ahead. And if Dr. Auwex's and Dr. Sinclair's research is right, the Red Wine Pill should help to decrease the chance of cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, and give energy to those who are tired all the time.