The Bell Tolls for Resveratrol

Only the most dedicated followers of this blog are likely to remember this (are there any?), but way back in 2009, I first wrote about resveratrol in an article about supplements for cognitive dysfunction and brain aging in dogs. My conclusion at that time was:

Resveratrol, in short, stands at the juncture of hope, profit and scientific promise — a social phenomenon galloping ahead of research that is undeniably intriguing but very incomplete.

That was followed by several updates on the status of resveratrol, which still didn’t find scientific justification for the hype.

2012-

it is a fine example of both the dangers of excessive and premature commitment to a hypothesis and promotion of products based on it as well as of the ultimately self-correcting nature of the scientific process.

2013-

supplementation is probably not justified for most people or for our pets

2014-

The bottom line here is that we don’t know for certain, but the compound is looking less promising the more we study it.

Since then, I haven’t spent much time checking the evidence base for this compound, but I suspect it is still quite popular, at least based on the fact that it keeps showing up in products, including my wife’s shampoo!

Once I started working in the aging biology field, I found that the story of resveratrol is even more byzantine and disappointing than I had realized. Dr. Brad Stanfield has recently released this video tracing the history of this molecule in the aging field, and it is an excellent example of one of my signature soapbox issues- the dangers of rushing to commercialize a promising but unproven therapy. Sadly, this is still the norm in veterinary medicine, and I am not optimistic we will learn from this example.

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2 Responses to The Bell Tolls for Resveratrol

  1. Thank you for covering the topic of resveratrol. unfortunately the media always wants to jump to a conclusion where there is inconclusive evidence. Your website is interesting indeed and I will definitely read more articles on here.

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