January 24, 2007

Find a job you like and you add five days to every week

What a week we’ve just experienced. Resveratrol’s potential role in anti-aging was hot news, after some three years of almost no press. In fact, after the initial news of David Sinclair and his staff discovering, in 2003, the apparent triggering effect by resveratrol on what I nickname “the on-off switch” for aging, there was no further press interest in the subject. Probably too many times, I would tell friends and website guests that logging into the NIH website, www.nih.gov and typing “resveratrol” in the search box, produces over a hundred reports on resveratrol’s success against many different cancers. (At one point, there were over a thousand such resveratrol studies and reports on NIH. But that’s another news story)

And those of us who have been taking resveratrol, “betting on the come,” and reporting personal experiences about its manifestations were growing tired of our stories being dismissed as “anecdotal.” We learned fast - anecdotal is to science what whimsical is to art.

Without effect, I’d claim much science was/is triggered by anecdotes, pointing to Thucydides 2000-year-old book, “History of the Peloponnesian Wars,” which (allegedly) led researchers in the 1800’s to a substance from willow tree bark which turned out to be, after some lab evolution, aspirin.

Now with perhaps thousands of people soon consuming resveratrol as a daily supplement, and many more scientific studies launching, (including more major news pending from certain labs), we resveratrol consumers may no longer feel like the Maytag Repairman. What's more, we'll outlive him.

Still, there is a troubling other dimension to the welcome press coverage – it is making some people greedy. Thanks to the holy-tech trinity of Photoshop, Google and the Web, enterprising outfits can have an apparently-legitimate product on the web in half an hour. Don’t believe me? Google "resveratrol" then step back for a tsunami of overnight wonders.

It’s embarrassing. One major national firm rushed onto the web with “grape extract with resveratrol” but admitted when pressed they couldn’t and wouldn't warrant or guarantee there was any resveratrol in their extract.

So many near-scams are proliferating in the Webosphere, including some in-your-face outright scams. So while I like the agile inventiveness of the supplement industry, I know it needs to remove that inventive quality from its labels. There’s so much bogus resveratrol on offer that, when asked what they noticed, many consumers are bound to say “Nothing, really - except I was $20 lighter.”

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