Sunday, August 01, 2010

What's the secret of time travel doing on Fry's ass?

I would just like to paraphrase that relevant line from Futurama:

What's the secret of Eternal Youth doing on a grapeskin? It was bound to be somewhere..........

Resveratrol. Gift of plants. Oh oh, wrong again!

Many thanks to Blogblog for the link to that hysterical abstract, I just love it. If anyone thinks that resveratrol is the answer to the French Paradox, or that there even is a French Paradox, or that plants will gift us eternal youth, then you're in the wrong place on the net I'm afraid, just hit the back button!


My penance for cribbing 7.9 seconds from the Futurama movie: "Buy it, buyyyyyyy it......."


garymar said...

As an American midwesterner I had never like (red) wine, though I believed people when they told me of the pleasure of drinking it.

Well, several years ago I began drinking red wine for its supposed health benefits. Now I really like the taste of red wine -- I understand what the fuss is all about -- and drink it moderately in the colder months (rarely in summer). So I've broadened my horizons due to a mistake!

Peter said...

Hi Gary,

I've always liked old world reds, especially French, though I've been introduced to some interesting Italian wines. I just doubt any have much health benefit other than the pleasure they give (de-stressing) and a few insulin free calories.... I think there are plenty of other explanations for cancer from alcohol without blaming resveratrol. It just tickled me to see it get some flack...


none said...

So is your stance that Resveratrol is not healthy? Or that if it is healthy, it's not *THAT* healthy?

There was a 60 minutes piece were they extracted resveratrol and fed it to mice, and it looked promising.

I know there's a world of difference between mice and humans, but curious if there's a research study that offers a differing opinion that you believe?

John said...

none, the link is not working for me. Does it work for anyone else? Anyway, here is a CBC article referring to a study with mice and resveratrol...hmm...

blogblog said...

Hi None. Unfortunately mice are grain eating near-vegetarians and almost certainly a totally worthless mammal model for human dietary studies. I'm sure if the cats, dog or ferrets had been used instead of mice as research dietary subjects medicine would now be promoting a low carb diet.

Ned Kock said...

Hi Peter.

Speaking of longevity causes, I don't know if you have seen this study by Yashin and colleagues (2009) at Duke, based on the Framingham Heart Study data:

Looking at the blood glucose trajectories, it seems that blood glucose control is the key. There are confounding factors in all studies, some of which being the true causes of a pattern, but resveratrol doesn't sound like a very plausible one in this case.

blogblog said...

Hi Ned,
Gary Taubes concluded in The Diet Delusion that control of glucose was the key to virtually all healtjh problems.

Peter said...

Hi none, it's a plant toxin. It's made as part of the plant arms industry. It is conceivable it might be beneficial but I'm not holding my breathe 'til I find out. We do seem to accumulate lutein and xeazanthin in our retinae compared to how we rapildy excrete what little resveratrol we absorb.

John, they trot out the French Paradox. The french eat saturated fat, have high cholesterol levels and relatively little heart disease. Any sane person concludes that neither dietary saturated fat or serum cholesterol causes heart disease. Only an idiot needs the paradox...


Nice find, yes HbA1c is pretty convincing as a predictor. I agree completely that it probably reflects an underlying change in metabolism, almost certainly at the mitochondrial level. The big question is whether supplying mitochondria with fat for beta oxidation affects their degeneration/happiness compared to supplying pyruvate from glycolysis.

This comes back to whether you can eat what you want provided your BG stays normal or whether LC long term staves off mitochondria failure in all people. I'm in the later camp, but then I don't come from a high longevity background so I'd probably do badly on a HC diet anyway. And of course some of us will be 3 SDs from the mean whatever we eat...


gibby1979 said...

There are a lot of people doing drug discovery work based on the Resveratrol scaffold. I bet people will keep doing it too, the general world believes that it's good thanks to 60 minutes, Dr. Oz etc. so it must be true, or at least exploitable for grant purposes.
Really can't get around the NF-KB data though, not exactly the pathway you want to be stimulating, it's also been implicated in Parkinsons and a couple others (though I don't know the BBB permeability of Resveratrol)

Peter said...

Hi gibby,

I agree the research will continue, it would take more than one paper to slay the saviour of the French paradox. Ultimately there are so many phytochemicals that eventually we will find one that goes a little way to reversing the damage done by sugar and corn oil.

Hee hee, then we could all knock back well sugared donuts fried in partially hydrogenated soya oil and be slim, muscular and healthy with no more exercise than hitting a button on the TV remote occasionally. Nirvana.


garymar said...

Well, Mr/Ms 恭v秋昀嘉, I couldn't agree with you more.

"For humankind, apology is certainly a necessary courtesy."

But what does this have to do with the secret of time travel being on Fry's ass?

John said...

Regarding the last post about anti-oxidants, how can we determine harm/benefit "degree" (ie, blueberries vs. turmeric)?

Is the only way to look for controlled studies with the specific food as a variable?

Richard said...

Clearly the best approach is the prevention of inflammation, which would mean less PUFA and wheat and sugar. And more vitamin D. From leisurely walks in the sun. So far, nowhere near a paradox.

But if we avoid N-6 and other sources of inflammation, have we eliminated all inflammation? Or, how much is inflammation a problem even then? Maybe turmeric, red wines, and a few other "natural" compounds are mildly anti-inflammatory, but then, how powerful do they have to be to be "helpful" IF the main underlying causes are eliminated?

It would be unrealistic to maintain a diet high in N-6 PUFA and expect to be cured or have the problem much reduced (or however we want to describe it) by red wine. But red wine does not have to be very strong to show a positive effect even if it does not cure the problem. I remember seeing research about certain studies where certain types of red wine grown in certain geographical areas were associated with local historical rates of longevity... which proves... Not very much.

What I am curious about is the early and continued production of red wine, which is obviously of great interest to Western Culture, to the extent of possibly being not just some vice or plague upon humanity. Maybe it can confer beneficial results in addition to those of alcohol.

Peter said...

Groan: Gary, does that mean I have to leave the spam up to make your comment intelligible? Giggle though I did.

John and Richard, I'm just out of time to give a proper reply but the best anti inflammatory agents we have are the cortisol derivatives. They don't help much in CVD, rather the opposite... VERY much the opposite.


gunther gatherer said...

Richard and Peter,

I think most of the anti-inflammatory effects you see from plant compounds occur because they actually DO cause inflammation, at least momentarily, provoking a dampening response from the body which lasts longer, resulting in overall inflammation suppression. So taking plant compounds every day, especially in purified forms which paleo man wouldn't have found, sounds like it would be detrimental to health. I'm thinking taking reservatrol or turmeric pills every day, etc.

It seems to me like exercise. You have to wait and rest for a bodily response if you want overall benefits. But if you do it every day, or too much, you "overtrain" and get sick. I don't see why nutrition would be otherwise.

Would just getting rid of inflammation altogether, all the time be better (eg. high fat/low carb/no plants)? Or maybe plants only have real benefit when they're introduced as a temporary inflamation-inducing novelty into an otherwise inflammation-free body, making it respond by becoming stronger, more efficient, etc.?

garymar said...


Go ahead and cut 'em both. Spam and anti-spam cancel out.

I found the spam sentence in a list of famous sayings that also included other sayings from Confucius, but couldn't identify the author of this one.

none said...

John, I just copied the entire 60 minutes link and it works fine, so not sure why it doesn't work for you.

blogblog, here is a link to a recent human resveratrol study which shows anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation stress benefits:

Westie said...

Gunther wrote:

"plant compounds actually DO cause inflammation, at least momentarily, provoking a dampening response from the body which lasts longer, resulting in overall inflammation suppression."

Yep Gunther that is what seems to happen. Resveratrol is a minor player or even a non-issue in the field of anti-inflammatory plant compounds. It is very interesting field of research and I think there is a good possibility that someday "secret's of time traveling" will be revealed but I don't try to quess from who's ass it will be found. This whole ass thing is related to the issue since gut microbes do have a quite big role in this.

Westie said...


"Would just getting rid of inflammation altogether, all the time be better (eg. high fat/low carb/no plants)? Or maybe plants only have real benefit when they're introduced as a temporary inflamation-inducing novelty into an otherwise inflammation-free body, making it respond by becoming stronger, more efficient, etc.?"

Good questions. I think that at least certain plants will have overall positive effects especially when digested with a proper diet. If you try to find answers to these question you should study our immunesystem and try to think how to keep in good shape against pathogens while not over reacting little normal things like a high fat dinner.

AngloAmerikan said...

I experienced a disturbing side effect using resveratrol and that was a tendency to bruise easily. I thought I felt it made me more energetic and encouraged my sister to take it also and she too developed the same bruising. It seemed too serious a side effect for us to continue.

Peter said...

Hi AngloAmerikan,

Very interesting. If resveratrol is going to work anywhere, I'd think the blood stream (acting on largely extra cellular process like clotting) would be where it might show most easily. Hmmmm


Richard said...

What is interesting here is the obvious issues of how much inflammation, for what reason, and should there be any need for intentional intervention in the process. That is, on a proper diet, in evolutionary terms, and with a proper amount of exercise, would there be any benefit from plant compounds?

My thinking is that "people" evolved eating both animal and plant sources of food. Being able to consume both provides a clear superiority to people in terms of survival. Even alcohol was certainly consumed before neolithic times.

One consideration here is that when we observe the benefits of red wine and such, we are observing its effects on populations with neolithic diets and probably less then ideal sun exposure.

Would it be helpful with avoidance of various neolithic factors?