Resveratrol’s role in achieving optimal health

Have you heard of the so-called “French paradox?” It refers to the fact that despite their high cholesterol and high saturated fat diet, the French do not develop cardiovascular diseases because of their high red wine intake.1 While this belief most likely stemmed from a marketing campaign perpetuated by the wine industry,2 there may be some truth to this, as red wine contains a potent antioxidant known as resveratrol.3

However, drinking red wine is not the only way to get resveratrol, and you should not rely on it as your primary source of this antioxidant as it can pose negative effects due to its alcohol content. But first, let’s touch on what resveratrol is and how it may do your body good.

What is resveratrol?

Resveratrol, also known as 3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene, is a naturally occurring compound found in a number of plants. It belongs to stilbenes, a class of polyphenolic compounds, and acts like an antioxidant. It may be a chemopreventive agent as well.4 Resveratrol is actually designed to help increase the life span of these plants by making them resistant to diseases, injury and various stressors, including excessive UV radiation, drastic climate changes and fungal infections.5,6

The discovery of resveratrol can be attributed to Japanese scientist Michio Takaoka, who first isolated the compound in 1939.7 He took it from the rhizomes of the white hellebore (Veratrum grandiflorum Loes),8 which thrives in the Nagano Prefecture.9

Many years later, in 1963, another Japanese scientist known only as Nonomura isolated resveratrol from Japanese knotweed.10 In traditional Chinese medicine, this herb has been used for many centuries to help ease cough, treat jaundice and manage hepatitis.11 Knotweed is known to have the highest resveratrol concentration among plant sources.12

It was only in 1976 that the presence of resveratrol in grapes became known,13 and only in 1992 was it discovered to be in wine.14 More studies regarding the potential benefits of resveratrol are still being conducted.

Ditch the wine: Here are other food sources of resveratrol

You can get resveratrol from a number of plant foods, but most people believe the misconception that they can simply drink red wine to reap the benefits of this potent antioxidant. But as mentioned above, this can pose unwanted adverse health effects.

Although some studies claim that resveratrol is highly soluble in alcohol,15 making it more absorbable in red wine, this should not be reason enough to rely on wine as your main source. First of all, alcohol is a neurotoxin that can severely damage your brain, heart and other organs.16 Plus, it increases your insulin levels.17

Some wines and other alcohol beverages like beer have also been shown to be contaminated with glyphosate,18 the active and carcinogenic ingredient in Roundup herbicide. Hence, I would advise you to get this compound from healthier food sources or to take a resveratrol supplement.

Muscadine grapes are known to have high resveratrol concentrations.19 Most of the antioxidants in grapes, including resveratrol, are found in their skins and seeds.20 In fact, one gram of fresh grape skin contains at least 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratrol.21 Other potent sources of this nutrient include:22

The problem with most of these food sources, specifically the grapes and berries, is that they’re particularly high in fructose. Consuming them in excessive amounts may prove to be detrimental to your glucose levels, especially if you are insulin resistant.

In addition, if you want to get resveratrol from cacao, make sure that you consume organic dark chocolate or raw cacao, and not the milk chocolate varieties that are loaded with sugar. Another potent, yet lesser-known, source of resveratrol is itadori tea, made from Japanese knotweed. It has a long history of use as a traditional herbal remedy by the Chinese and Japanese, and is said to help protect against stroke and heart disease.25

If you aren’t receiving enough resveratrol from food sources such as these, I recommend taking a high-quality resveratrol supplement. Ideally, look for a whole food complex that makes use of muscadine grape skin and seeds.

What are the benefits of resveratrol?

As an antioxidant, resveratrol is known for combating damaging free radicals in your body.26 However, its benefits go beyond that, as it has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties as well.27 That’s why this potent compound may be highly useful for helping to fight and reduce the risk of a variety of chronic illnesses.28

One of the standout benefits of this potent antioxidant is its neuroprotective effects, which may help slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and stroke.29 Resveratrol supplements can cross your blood-brain barrier to quell inflammation in your central nervous system.30 This type of inflammation actually plays an important role in the development of neurodegenerative illnesses.31

Resveratrol also shows promise in improving cerebral blood flow,32 which is responsible for its protective effects against stroke and vascular dementia. To summarize, here are some of the effects that resveratrol can have on your brain (and overall) health:

  • May help protect against depression33
  • Helps improve brain blood flow34
  • Helps suppress brain inflammation35
  • May inhibit plaque buildup, which may lead to Alzheimer’s36
  • Has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties37
  • May improve learning, mood and memory38

Another impressive way that resveratrol can boost your well-being is its ability to improve mitochondrial health. According to a study published in the journal Nature, mice that are on a high-calorie diet exhibited better health and a higher survival rate after taking resveratrol.39

In another study, it was found that improved mitochondrial health through resveratrol helped protect against metabolic disease, diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. It does this by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1alpha, which are the primary drivers for mitochondrial biogenesis.40 And, at least one other study showed that resveratrol may improve glycemic control and decrease insulin resistance.41

Resveratrol may have potential benefits against cancer

There is a growing number of studies that support resveratrol’s potential effects on cancer, with evidence dating as far back as 1997.42 Cancer researchers took great interest in these findings, particularly resveratrol’s ability to make cancerous tumors more vulnerable to conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.43

A 2011 review of dietary agents that have tumor-sensitizing properties (making them more susceptible to chemo drugs) found that resveratrol was a clear candidate owing to its multitargeting properties.44 Some cancers that resveratrol may have a substantial effect on include:

  • Prostate cancer45
  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia46
  • Lung carcinoma47
  • Multiple myeloma48
  • Pancreatic cancer49

A 2011 study notes that resveratrol may help alleviate some of the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which include depression, fatigue, anorexia, neuropathic pain and sleep disorders, to name a few. The authors noted that these symptoms occur due to “dysregulation of inflammatory pathways” in your system, which explains the efficacy of this antioxidant.50

Are there side effects of resveratrol?

Resveratrol is generally safe and, according to WebMD,51 there are no severe side effects associated with this supplement, even in high doses. However, it’s still best to exercise caution and consult with your physician before taking this supplement.

You should also be careful if you’re taking drugs to manage a disease. Resveratrol may interact with and increase the effectiveness of medications like blood thinners and NSAIDs, so refrain from taking this supplement if you’re using these prescription drugs.52 In fact, resveratrol has been noted to inhibit aggregation of platelets in high-risk patients who are resistant to aspirin.53

Do not give this supplement to children, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, without the advice of a health practitioner.

Resveratrol can reap benefits with a solid nutritional basis

The benefits of resveratrol can be far-reaching, but take note that taking it will be useless if you do not address your overall diet and lifestyle. Make sure that you cover the basics, such as consuming healthy, well-balanced meals, following a regular exercise routine, managing your stress and getting sufficient sleep.

As with other supplements, resveratrol only serves as a complement to your diet and should not be treated as a solution or cure to your health problems.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about resveratrol

Q: What does resveratrol do?

A: Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that naturally occurs in plants. It works as a potent antioxidant that makes plants resistant to diseases, injury and various stressors, including excessive UV radiation, drastic climate changes and fungal infections. Hence, it is said that when you consume resveratrol, you also get the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that it offers.54,55

Q: What is resveratrol used for?

A: Resveratrol is basically used to help combat damaging free radicals in the body.56 It has shown promise against chronic illnesses, and has a particularly potent neuroprotective effect, offering protection against diseases like vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.57 It’s also shown promise in boosting mitochondrial health58 and may even have anticancer benefits.59,60

Mercury-free dentists — Pioneers and catalysts for 21st century health care

Less than a generation ago, only three percent of dentists were mercury-free. Dentistry’s best-kept secret was that amalgam fillings had mercury, a neurotoxin that can permanently injure the developing brains of children and fetuses.

The secret was enforced by tyrannical dental boards, which threatened to pull the license (the right to practice) of dentists who spoke out — and who did in fact pull mercury-free dentists’ licenses in California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and New York.

Other mercury-free dentists faced unrelenting pressure from their peers to conform. An historic irony that dentists doing the right thing were ostracized is that is that the term “quack” derived from the German word for mercury, “Quecksilber.” The “quacks” were the health professionals who used mercury!

It is to the great credit of these dentists — who studied the science and opposed putting pollution in their patients’ mouths — that they stuck with their principles. As mercury-free dentistry grew, dentists began to adapt by offering mercury-free dentistry. Synergistically, as mercury-free dentistry grew, so did consumer awareness.

Consumers for Dental Choice was created in 1997; its first project was to free up dentists to be able to advise, advocate, and advertise for mercury-free dentistry. To take out this notorious gag rule root and branch, Consumers for Dental Choice used a comprehensive strategy.

This NGO (non-government organization) built alliances with advocate groups, such as the Goldwater Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union. Then, this NGO went to the media, most spectacularly in California, where a page one story in the Los Angeles Times in September 1999 blew the lid off the dental board’s denial of free speech rights.

Charlie Brown optimized his role as a former Attorney General, sitting down with his peers in several states to show why the law was in favor of the dissenting dentists. He found allies in state legislatures, such as Senator Karen Johnson of Arizona, Representative Hal Lynde of New Hampshire, and Representative John Rogers of Alabama.

Charlie Brown and his team worked to put supporters of mercury-free dentistry onto the formerly monopolistic dental boards, such as Dr. Jessica Saepoff of Washington state, Kevin Biggers and Dr. Chet Yokoyama of California, and the late Dr. Ron King of Minnesota.

With a growing body of public officials supporting mercury-free dentistry, they launched the State and Local Public Officials Mercury-Free Caucus, now chaired by former Senator Charlotte Pritt of West Virginia. (Later, Senator Pritt and the Caucus were active in the pushing for amalgam language in the Minamata Convention.)

By the middle of the past decade, a sea-change had occurred. Dentists were advertising mercury-free dentistry. They went to public hearings and spoke out. They began to put to shame the dentists who kept using mercury and who used absurd arguments about mercury being inert and vapor-less.

Without Consumers for Dental Choice and the work of its leader Charlie Brown, these changes almost certainly would not have happened — at least not in this century. Please recognize their leadership, and help them move forward. I will match your gift dollar for dollar.

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Yet half of America’s dentists have still not changed. This is particularly true in institutional dentistry — the military, the prisons, the Veterans Administration, the Indian Reservations, and the corporate dentistry settings where dentists focus on “drill, fill, and bill.” These dentists find succor under the protective wing of the pro-mercury American Dental Association (ADA), whose instructions invariably are to talk about amalgam without ever uttering the “M” word.

Mercury awareness

Despite the progress, we have plenty of work do to. Amalgam, also called “silver fillings,” is in fact a massive consumer fraud. By referring to the color of the compound rather than its content, consumers everywhere have been tricked into placing a known neurotoxin in their mouths.

Think about it, if your dentist said, “Okay, I’m going to put a large mercury filling into this molar,” you’d probably sit up and say, “Hey doc, maybe we should talk about this?!”

Most people are aware that mercury is hazardous to health, but if they don’t know that amalgam contains mercury, then they cannot object to it in the first place. And that’s exactly how the dental industry and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants it.

Most Americans are deceived by inaccurate terms

Consumers for Dental Choice recently issued a new report titled, Measurably Misleading,1 which reveals just how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the dental industry have deceived you about amalgam.

A recent Zogby poll, commissioned by Consumers for Dental Choice, reveals that Americans are indeed fooled by the terms “silver fillings” and “amalgam.” Fifty-seven percent of Americans are unaware that amalgam is a mercury filling, and 23 percent believe amalgam is made of silver. Also, a mere 11 percent of people say their dentist ever told them that amalgam contains mercury.

The FDA is responsible for addressing consumer fraud that occurs in medicine and health. But when it comes to mercury fillings, the agency has refused to take corrective action. Not only that, but it actually condones, not condemns, the marketing of amalgam as “silver fillings.” Hence the deception continues.

Dental mercury fuels chronic inflammation in your body

Compelling evidence clearly shows that dental amalgams readily release mercury in the form of vapor every time you eat, drink, brush your teeth or otherwise stimulate your teeth. For a powerful demonstration of the reality of these vapors, please see the following video.

As noted in a 2010 scientific review2 on mercury exposure and children’s health, there is no known safe level of exposure for mercury. Ideally, exposure should be zero, so any dentist insisting that mercury exposure from amalgam is “minimal” or “inconsequential” is really not acting in an ethical manner.

The mercury vapors released from the amalgam in your teeth readily pass through your cell membranes, across your blood-brain barrier, and into your central nervous system. Effects can be psychological, neurological, and/or immunological.

At above average doses, brain functions such as reaction time, judgment, and language can be impaired. At very high exposures, mercury can affect your ability to walk, speak, think, and see clearly. One 2012 study3 evaluating the effects of mercury on cognition in otherwise healthy adults found that those with blood mercury levels below 5 µg/L had the best cognitive functions.

Mild impairment was evident at blood mercury levels of 5 to 15 µg/L and above 15 µg/L, cognition was significantly impaired. Mercury is also known to cause kidney damage, which is why it’s so important to have your mercury fillings removed by a properly trained biological dentist.

As explained by Dr. Chris Shade, mercury can also displace other elements such as zinc and copper, by attaching to the receptors that would otherwise hold these essential minerals. Overall, mercury has a very strong ability to dysregulate your entire system, which is part of the reason why mercury toxicity symptoms are so difficult to pin down.

For example, I recently wrote about one case in which a woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis came to realize she was actually suffering from mercury toxicity. She recovered after undergoing an appropriate detoxification protocol.

Putting an end to FDA and ADA’s concealment of mercury

For decades, the FDA and American Dental Association (ADA) have successfully concealed the fact that amalgam is made of 50 percent mercury, and that there are health risks associated with mercury fillings.

It’s time for the truth to be acknowledged. Earlier this summer, a group of dentists, scientists and patients filed a lawsuit against the FDA. According to a recent news report,4 the group claims the FDA “hasn’t done enough to address any potential health hazards of amalgam and that it’s low income groups… who often end up with these fillings because they don’t have a choice…”

More importantly, Consumers for Dental Choice is now taking the issue to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who signed the Minamata treaty on mercury last year on behalf of the US government. The Minamata Convention includes a pledge to scale down amalgam, effective immediately.

The FDA’s stance on amalgam is in direct violation of the Minamata Convention, as its amalgam rule advocates more mercury fillings for Americans, not less! Consumers for Dental Choice has created a petition to the Secretary of State, asking that he insist the FDA disclose the presence of mercury in dental amalgam. 

The petition also requests that the Secretary of State take action to end the use of amalgam in government agencies that provide dental care, such as the Veterans Administration, the Defense Department, and the Bureau of Prisons. I encourage you to sign and share this petition with your Facebook and Twitter networks.

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Why do half of all American dentists still use mercury amalgam?

When Consumers for Dental Choice was founded, only three percent of dentists were mercury-free. The organization has been instrumental in catalyzing change in the industry. Today, more than 50 percent of dentists in America have stopped using mercury filings. Unfortunately, we seem to have stalled out at around 50 percent of dentists who still insist on using amalgam.

“We think the pro-mercury dentists have stabilized because they won’t learn anything new and the profits are so easy,” Charlie Brown says.

Indeed, dentists make more money per chair per day when using mercury fillings. For factory-style dentistry, where the teeth represent dollar signs instead of part of a human being, dentists drill, fill, and bill.

The term “drill, fill, and bill” is a joke aspiring dentists learn in dental school. Only the joke is on us and our children. They count their money, and we have a vaporous neurotoxin implanted an inch from our brains. And of course, since amalgam damages tooth structure and cracks teeth, pro-mercury dentists continue to profit from amalgam long after its initial placement.

For decades, the ADA forbade dentists to reveal truth about amalgam

The ADA’s longstanding effort to keep consumers uninformed is another factor that has kept the secret going for so long. The ADA owns two patents on amalgam, patent numbers 4,018,600 and 4,078,921.

The patents have now expired, but while they were in effect the ADA went to incredible lengths to wipe out mercury-free dentistry and quash dissent from the emerging critics of mercury-based dentistry. It went so far as to adopt a “rule of conduct” that actually prohibited dentists from discussing mercury with their patients:

“Based on available scientific data, the ADA has determined that the removal of amalgam restorations from the non-allergic patient for the alleged purpose of removing toxic substances from the body, when such treatment is performed solely at the recommendation or suggestion of the dentist, is improper and unethical.”

Yes, the ADA said it is unethical for a dentist to tell the truth to his patients. This gag rule, enforced by state dental boards, clearly violated the First Amendment. It was finally undone by Consumers for Dental Choice, starting in 1998, and by dentists who boldly stepped forward over the years. Still, the effects linger.

Mercury has no place in 21st century dentistry

As noted in the Consumers for Dental Choice report Measurably Misleading,5 a majority of consumers are not given even the most basic information about amalgam—the fact that it contains mercury.

The central deception revolves around referring to mercury fillings as “silver” or “amalgam.” Still to this day, many dentists will not use the “M” word, mercury, in talking to their patients for fear of jeopardizing their license, thanks to the ADA’s rule of conduct (above). For a long while now, mercury has been dentistry’s greatest controversy and its great little secret.

Fortunately, dentists worldwide are now moving toward mercury-free dentistry. Indeed, it’s time for dentists everywhere to “grab the bull by the horn” and tell their patients that amalgam is about 50 percent mercury.

The word “silver filling” is a deception, and “amalgam” is an ambiguity. Both terms need to be replaced with the truthful description of “mercury filling.” Mercury-free dentistry is the future, but to get there, consumersringing mercury-free dentistry to the us need to be told the truth, and that means that dentists need to speak out and make their voices heard in their communities.

Important information regarding amalgam removal

For those of you who have mercury fillings, I recommend that you have them removed. However, it’s very important to get it done right. Removing amalgam fillings can expose you to significant amounts of mercury vapors if the dentist doesn’t know what he or she is doing. The following links can help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist, trained in the safe removal of amalgam:

Bringing mercury-free dentistry to the US

Working with talented environmental, consumer, and health leaders, Consumers for Dental Choice is launching mercury amalgam phase-out campaigns in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the United States, efforts are also being redoubled, with a focus on forcing the FDA to uphold the promise made by the nation when it signed the Minamata treaty on mercury pollution.

It’s quite simple really. The United States of America has made a promise to the international community to immediately begin reducing the use of amalgam, and the FDA is in direct violation of this promise.

Consumers for Dental Choice is betting that the Secretary of State will not allow the FDA to embarrass the White House and the entire country by refusing to take the most basic of steps toward a phase-down of mercury fillings, which is: informing consumers that amalgam is made with mercury, and telling dentists to inform their patients of the same.

This is the week we can get Consumers for Dental Choice the funding it deserves to achieve these aims. I have found few NGOs as effective, and none as efficient, as Consumers for Dental Choice. Its small team has led the charge on six continents — including ours! So I am stepping up with the challenge.

For the fourth year in a row, I will match the funds you give. In 2012, the match was up to $50,000 — and you did it! In 2013, I upped the ante to $75,000 — and you did it again! This year, I will match $100,000. So please give, and all donations received up to $100,000 will be matched by Natural Health Research Foundation, which I founded.

Donate today

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A final, important word: avoid dentists who use mercury amalgams, and advise your friends and family to do the same.

It’s time for each of us to ask this simple question to the dentist before we get a filling done: “Doctor, do you practice mercury-free dentistry on all of your patients?” If your dentist is mercury-free, thank him or her. If not, consider finding a mercury-free dentist. As with genetically engineered foods, voting with your pocket book is one of the most effective strategies we consumers have at our disposal.

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Last-Minute Hurricane Prep Round-Up: 10 Articles to Help You Get Ready

(Daisy Luther) Hurricanes are not always completely predictable and sometimes we end up being surprised when the storm dramatically changes courses or gains power. Due to this, sometimes people aren’t as prepared as they’d like to be when suddenly the weather channel announces the newest named storm is headed straight for them – and it’s a big one.

The post Last-Minute Hurricane Prep Round-Up: 10 Articles to Help You Get Ready appeared on Stillness in the Storm.