Resveratrol Supplements: What Dr Oz Won't Tell You

Here's the story. Resveratrol supplements contain an active compound found in red wine. Dr Oz goes on Oprah's show and talks about how it prevents aging and cancer. This "miracle supplement" gets touted as the reason French people stay skinny and the next pharmaceutical blockbuster for stroke, Alzheimers and heart disease. Everyone goes out and buys pills with 50, 100, 500 mg of resveratrol. What's wrong with this picture?

Plenty. This series of articles will dig in deep and arm you with the facts you need to supplement wisely.

Let's start off with the centerpiece of the hype surrounding resveratrol supplements: red wine. Resveratrol is one of many active, phenolic antioxidant compounds in red wine. Pinot noir varieties have the highest levels, cabernet sauvignons tend to be lower, and white wines tend to have 1-5% as much as reds.

It's very clever to imagine yourself selecting a varietal to go with dinner based on resveratrol content, until you realize that you are squabbling over milligrams. The highest levels of resveratrol in any wine are about 10 mg per 1-liter bottle! (1) If you think that taking "high potency" 325 mg resveratrol supplements with your morning multivitamin will offer you the health benefits of a lifetime of grenache and merlot, you might just be oversimplifying things.

But wait!!! What about all those great studies and doctors and all that mountain of biological data they were talking about on 60 minutes? That can't all be wrong, can it? In the next article in our series, we'll take a look at the logical fallacy that scientists just won't stop ignoring. Huh? Scientists getting it wrong? Yes. Scientists are people too, just like Dick Cheney.

We'll also sort out the good from the bad evidence supporting further study of resveratrol. Read about the fallacy undermining most science behind resveratrol supplements here.

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1. Lamuela-Raventos, RM, Romero-Perez, AI, Waterhouse, AL, de la Torre-Boronat, MC. "Direct HPLC analysis of cis- and trans-Resveratrol and piceid isomers in Spanish red Vitis vinifera wines." J Agirc Food Chem. 43 (1995) 281-283.