From time to time, I hear different stories about a longevity pill, a fountain of youth in a capsule. A youth pill? Really? I swear, people love looking for a shortcut for everything, even the road to good health. The active ingredient that supposedly makes this pill effective – resveratrol – is also the active ingredient in red wine, grapes, and many berries. But people think a magical pill is the better answer.
Resveratrol has shown to be helpful in cancer prevention, cardio protective effects, skin protection, anti diabetic effects, and boost to metabolism. So, pharmaceutical companies have manufactured a resveratrol pill, making it easy for people to get it quickly and easily…and they’re making big bucks selling it. In the United States, people spend more than $30 million for this supplement, and most people have no idea what it is they’re ingesting.
I’m always baffled at how quickly people will pop a pill for everything. And this supplement – just like all other supplements – is not monitored by any regulatory agency. Furthermore, there is great debate as to the effectiveness of reseveratrol for any of the health claims, and no one knows the long-term effect this pill will have on the body, internal organs, or the central nervous system. Since there have been relatively few objective clinical studies, doctors are not able to confirm the claims. But that doesn’t stop consumers for seeking a quick fix. One clinical study (detailed in the October 15, 2013 issue of the Journal of Physiology) found that resveratrol counteracts the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.
I’m no doctor, but if someone were to ask me, I’d tell them the secret to prolonging one’s youth is to get copious amounts of exercise; eat a well-balanced diet that is low in sodium, low in saturated fats, low in sugar, and low in cholesterol; minimize stress; don’t smoke and do not abuse alcohol or other substances; and maintain a diverse social life. This is the best remedy to having a longer, healthier life (and be sure to look both ways before crossing the street). Don’t fixate on a pill. Just make a few lifestyle changes and you’ll see results. Leave the magic pill alone.