Friday, January 4, 2013

Another Magical Ingredient in Nutritional Supplements

Seems like every other day there's something that's supposedly good for you found, and the nutritional supplement industry marketing machine goes into motion pushing this "latest and greatest discovery ever". One such ingredient pushed was "resveratrol".

Resveratrol is a certain naturally occurring chemical that's contained in grape skin and skin of some other fruits. It was suspected as one of the reasons why the French seem to have low instances of heart disease despite their high-fat diet compared to the Americans. However, the link has yet to be definitely established. That of course, did not prevent any of the nutritional supplement companies from claiming this is good for you.

Wine contain such minute amount of resveratrol that it's almost not worth mentioning. You need to drink liters of it to get a decent dose.

There have been study of this ingredient for various symptoms and diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and more. Most are inconclusive, showing slight positive results but without definite relation between the ingredient and improvement.

In other words, there is no PROVEN benefit, merely suspected benefit, from taking resveratrol.

Marketing, on the other hand, had blown this ingredient out of proportion since 2006.

At least one such company claimed to have a study that proved the benefits and mentioned it in their investor's open call in 2008, but such a call must be internal, as it was NEVER published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Then there are the fake sites, created to look as if Dr. Sinclair, who discovered resveratrol for his company, Sirtris (later acquired by Glaxo) was selling supplements containing resveratrol. It was worded as if Sinclair is selling and pitching the pills personally.

Sinclair was mortified. Yes, he did appear on 60 minutes, and he thinks the whole thing's blown out of proportion. His research shows that mice did gain about 15% life, but the mice was taking so much resveratrol, an equivalent human you'd be roughly chugging 80 pills PER DAY at the typical dosage found in supplements.

It's gotten so bad, Glaxo is contemplating legal action against some of these fake sites, according to report in Bloomberg.

Resveratrol was also mentioned on Oprah, Dr. Oz show, and so on. This was quickly spun into endorsing one particular brand of the supplement, as if it was the specific bottle endorsed when it wasn't, leading to more charges of false endorsement claims.

What is the lesson? Don't believe in woo and hype.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment