Cancer continues to rise so lets use our resources differently to meet and counter act it. There are interesting outcomes related to cancer from the recent Resveratrol studies. No doubt you have seen the 60 Minutes footage; those encouraging images of Resveratrol fed mice having greater stamina than their non Resveratrol laced buddies. Just in case you haven’t click here view the 60 Minutes footage (you need to scroll down the page).

Having viewed the footage you have no doubt reached the same conclusion as us; the therapeutic claims from human trials in diabetes looks great and now human trials in treating cancer are very encouraging. This coupled with the purchase of the Sirtris start up company for almost 3/4 of a billion US dollars indicates these researchers are onto something big. Or are they?

For me, the Resveratrol phenomena is another great example of the maxim ‘food is medicine’ and all the great diets have the same kinds of outcomes that these scientists are seeking. Just think about the Mediterranean diet and the Okinawa Diet – two well known examples that both achieve great results in longevity and reduce the incidence of age related diseases. If these scientists are right – what they are doing is taking that compound and ramping up the potency to achieve the same kinds of results we could have achieved by ‘living right‘ in the first place! And no, there is no judgement here – just incredulity that all we want, collectively, is to lead an over the top lifestyle and then pop a pill to stop us getting into trouble or for when we do – get into trouble. Well we have come this far down the slippery slope – collectively – and mother nature has given us yet another rope to drag ourselves out of our self made health abyss. On a mass scale we probably need a supplement like resveratrol to help us collectively recover. And from there we need to do some serious thinking about how we came to this point and how we get back on track. Anyway, enough of my natural health soap box rant. This article is about resveratrol, resveratrol and cancer. Rather than reinvent the wheel we have taken sections from various sites that we reviewed that look at Resveratrol and present a summary of their meta analysis of the research:

Cancer and Resveratrol

Many researchers believe that like with diabetes, Resveratrol not only prevents cancer, but can be used as an additional treatment. The number of studies has exploded over the past three years, with the depth of knowledge about this polyphenol increasing with each report. Resveratrol is a broad-spectrum agent that stops cancer in many diverse ways, from blocking estrogen and androgens to modulating genes.

Some of the latest information about it shows that Resveratrol causes a unique type of cell death and kills cancer cells whether they do or do not have the tumor suppressor gene. It also works whether cancer cells are estrogen receptor-positive or negative.

In addition to these findings, researchers are beginning to uncover the ability of Resveratrol supplements to augment other chemotherapies. For example, vitamin D3 converts to a steroid that inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have shown that Resveratrol increases the effects of vitamin D. Other research shows that it causes drug-resistant non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer cells to become susceptible to chemotherapeutic drugs (Gemcetabine, Navelbine, cisplatinum, Paclitaxel, and TRIAL).

Researchers in Austria have done elaborate studies showing that Resveratrol blocks the ability of cancer cells to metastasize to bone (30-71%). The highest results were for pancreas, breast, and renal cancer.  Prostate and colon cancers were also inhibited, but not as much.

In a study is published in the March edition of the journal, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology – Rochester researchers showed for the first time that a natural antioxidant found that Resveratrol can help destroy pancreatic cancer cells by reaching to the cell’s core energy source, or mitochondria, and crippling its function.  The study also showed that when the pancreatic cancer cells were doubly assaulted — pre-treated with the antioxidant, Resveratrol, and irradiated — the combination induced a type of cell death called apoptosis, an important goal of cancer therapy.

Resveratrol also acts against a component of the Western diet that promotes cancer cell growth: linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is converted to arachidonic, which is converted to hormone-like substances (such as prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4) that can promote inflammatory processes that stimulate cancer cell growth, among other things. It has been demonstrated that the Western diet can cause colon cancer in rodents without any other chemical or factor being necessary. In a study from Japan, Resveratrol in an amount easily obtained by supplementation, inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells, and blocked the growth-promoting effects of linoleic acid from the Western diet.

Resveratrol works against a wide range of cancers, both at the preventive and treatment stages. Its ability to stop cancer is connected to its capability, first, to distinguish a cancer cell from a normal cell. Unlike chemotherapeutic drugs that affect normal as well as cancer cells, Resveratrol does not damage healthy cells. Not only is it not harmful to normal cells, it protects them. Second, Resveratrol is sophisticated in its actions. It doesn’t just scavenge free radicals, it activates and deactivates critical enzymes and genes, hormones and chemicals.

According to new research published in the November 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal.

In the study, French scientists describe how high and low doses of polyphenols have different effects. Most notably, they found that very high doses of antioxidant polyphenols shut down and prevent cancerous tumors by cutting off the formation of new blood vessels needed for tumor growth. Polyphenols are commonly found in red wine, fruits, vegetables, and green tea.

At relatively low doses, the French researchers found that the same polyphenols play a beneficial role for those with diseased hearts and circulatory systems by facilitating blood vessel growth. The amount of polyphenols necessary for this effect was found to be the equivalent of only one glass of red wine per day or simply sticking to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables containing polyphenols. This diet is known as the “Mediterranean Diet.” This study also adds to a growing body of research showing dose-dependent relationships for many types of commonly used compounds. For instance, research published in the October 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal shows that aspirin, through different mechanisms, also has a dose-dependent relationship for heart disease and cancer.

How Much Resveratrol Is In Wine and Food

In order to understand how much Resveratrol is in wine, one must realize that Resveratrol is a natural substance made by grapes and other plants in response to fungal infection. How much Resveratrol is in a glass of wine depends, first, on whether the grapes were grown organically, and, second, how the wine was made. Grapes sprayed with pesticides that prevent fungal infection contain little, if any, Resveratrol. Wines grown in dry climates have less Resveratrol than those grown in humid areas. Red wines contain more than white because of how red wine is made. The end result of all of this is that organic red wines from certain areas of Europe contain the highest level of Resveratrol. But most wines contain either no Resveratrol at all, or very little (less than a milligram per glass).

The only sure way to obtain a certain amount of Resveratrol daily is to take a standardized extract. Standardization ensures a consistent amount of Resveratrol with consistent high quality. The finest Resveratrol available comes from Europe. It is made from organic French grapes known for their high Resveratrol content. The Resveratrol is carefully extracted to retain other compounds (polyphenols) that naturally occur with it. This pharmaceutical wine extract is then enhanced with Resveratrol extracted from the roots of a medicinal plant (Polygonnum cuspidatum) used for centuries in Asia for the treatment of inflammation, heart, blood vessel and liver disease, skin and lipid problems. The result is a product that retains the active parts of wine in a natural balance with increased potency and consistent quality.

Total Resveratrol Content of Wines and Grape Juice
Beverage Total Resveratrol (mg/liter) Total Resveratrol in a 5-oz glass (mg)
White wines (Spanish) 0.05-1.80 0.01-0.27
Rosé wines (Spanish) 0.43-3.52 0.06-0.53
Red wines (Spanish) 1.92-12.59 0.29-1.89
Red wines (global) 1.98-7.13 0.30-1.07
Red grape juice (Spanish) 1.14-8.69 0.17-1.30
Total Resveratrol Content of Selected Foods
Serving Total Resveratrol (mg)
Peanuts (raw) 1 cup (146 g) 0.01-0.26
Peanuts (boiled) 1 cup (180 g) 0.32-1.28
Peanut butter 1 cup (258 g) 0.04-0.13
Red grapes 1 cup (160 g) 0.24-1.25

I believe the evidence presented so far is encouraging i.e. that Resveratrol is a great antioxidant and it can be used to help prevent cancer. It is also encouraging to see that along with traditional cancer treatment Resveratrol can help the treatment of many cancers. From the tables above it is clear that we can obtain a certain amount of Resveratrol naturally from many of the foods that we eat/drink. And it is likely that to get the antioxidant effects or for treatment purposes we need more than we can ingest in food alone. Like the Doctor in the video said, we need 1000 bottles of red wine daily… Fortunately alternatives such as Vital-RezV that provide us with the level of Resveratrol necessary to achieve therapeutic effects. Try it for a month or two and see what you think. Even if it does not treat cancer (which it appears to) the antioxidant effects alone – when one is contending with very strong drugs – will be beneficial. There is nothing to lose.

In closing, there are lots of ways to treat and support a person (and the network of a person) living with cancer; it does not have to be a death sentence. Homoeopaths, at least in Australia, are not legally allowed to treat cancer but we are available to provide support with things like ameliorating the effects of Chemo and other drugs. There are really good options around. And Resveratrol looks good. I am an eclectic and pragmatic practitioner. I believe there are lots of treatment and health options available and people really need to choose the ones that make the most sense to them and they can comfortably see themselves undertaking. If a treatment seems too far out or you have a negative emotional response to it then there are plenty of others to choose from. So explore the options available to you – and we are so lucky to be living at a time when we have more options available than any time previously in history. And be aware that many practitioners have a big investment in their modality – and it makes sense. We have trained hard and more often than not have a huge personal investment in the work. Most of us do the work because we are committed to health, healing and working with people to reach their potential. So explore and cherry pick the options that suit you best.

To your healthy self!