Dr. Oz on resveratrol has been a popular topic of conversation since the renowned doctor appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show holding a big bowl of pills and extolling the virtues of resveratrol. Since then, hundreds of websites and fake news stories have appeared using the doctor's likeness and hawking resveratrol pills, supplements and more. Here's exactly what Dr. Oz on resveratrol means, and a common sense approach to the latest news on this anti-aging supplement.
Dr. Oz on Resveratrol
Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D., leads the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He is a well-respected physician, although he has come under fire for his endorsement of non-traditional approaches to health and wellness. He first came into the public's eye through his guest appearances on the Oprah Winfrey television show and now has a show of his own where he explores medical issues and offers some simple treatments and health ailments. For example, on a show about footcare and foot problems, he explained issues such as hammertoes and bunions and demonstrated simply stretching exercises for the feet using marbles and pebbles.
Dr. Oz first mentioned resveratrol on Oprah's television show in the spring of 2009. Sitting across from Oprah in his trademark green surgeon's scrubs, he held a giant bowl of green pills on his lap and explained that drinking red wine could slow down aging. Dr. Oz recommended resveratrol supplements to obtain anti-aging benefits.
Lawsuits and Problems
Since making this statement, both Dr. Oz and Oprah have filed over 50 lawsuits against pill makers using their likenesses in ads touting supplements. Many supplement makers use Dr. Oz's likeness or name, claiming he recommends their pills. They then lock customers into a nightmare cycle of credit card charges, dunning customers monthly on automatic shipment programs for resveratrol supplement pills. Automatic shipment programs aren't illegal, but the resveratrol pill companies involved in customer complaints and lawsuits seem to lock consumers into a difficult-to-cancel model and charge their credit cards outrageous sums of money.
The Truth About Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a chemical found in wine, dark purple or red grapes, blueberries, peanuts and some other dark purple or red berries. It's produced by plants in response to attacks from microorganisms such as bacteria. It's most commonly found in red wine, since wine is made by crushing grapes and allowing both the juices and skins of grapes to ferment. Resveratrol is found on the skin of grapes.
A Harvard study found resveratrol may slow the aging process. Obese mice given resveratrol compounds cut their risk of death by 31%. According to the press release announcing the results of the study, mice are similar enough to humans to make this an exciting discovery. However, that doesn't give you leave to eat all you want, gain weight, and knock back red wine to offset the effects. It would be nice if nature worked that way, but other studies on mice have shown calorie restriction also extends the lifespan.
Dr. Oz's Current Position on Resveratrol
Dr. Oz is quoted on the Oprah Winfrey site as stating 80% of the benefits from drinking red wine are due to the alcohol content, not resveratrol. He recommends drinking one glass of red wine a day. Some people cannot drink wine at all, so for those who cannot or should not drink alcoholic beverages, grape juice may be substituted, but it may not provide the same benefits.
Currently the FDA neither endorses nor approves the claims made by resveratrol supplement manufacturers and retailers. While resveratrol found in food sources may add to health, the exact dose for longevity isn't known, and the exact mechanism by which resveratrol slows aging is unknown. Consumers are still advised to eat a diet rich in all types of fruits and vegetables, not just grapes, and get regular exercise for optimal health.