Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Resveratrol - A Primer*

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that is produced by
some plants to protect against environmental stresses.
Perhaps the most notable producer of resveratrol is the
grapevine, which produces large amounts of resveratrol in
the skins of grapes to protect against fungal diseases and
sun damage. It is therefore no suprise that wine (in
particular red wine - which is fermented with grape
skins) has some of the highest levels of resveratrol out of
any natural food.

While it has been know for thousands of years that wine is
a healthful drink (thus the old Roman saying 'In Vino
'- In wine there is health
), the scientific community
started taking wine's health benefits seriously after 60
Minutes reported the famous 'French Parodox' study in
which people in France were less likely to die of heart
attacks than Americans despite similar high fat diets. The
study concluded that the relatively large amounts of red
wine consumed by the French protected their hearts.

From the French Paradox study numerous other studies
were launched to attempt to identify compounds responsible
for red wine’s apparent health benefits. From these studies
the compound that gained by far the largest amount of
interest was Resveratrol – AND RIGHTLY SO!
studies have concluded that:

  • Adding resveratrol to the diet of yeast, fruit flies, worms, and a species of fish increased their life spans up to 70%, 29%, 24%, & 50% respectively.

  • Resveratrol made fat related deaths drop 31% in obese mice. The resveratrol fed obese mice also performed much better in movement and agility tests than obese mice not fed resveratrol.

  • Mice fed resveratrol had 100% more endurance than mice not fed resveratrol (i.e. they were able to run twice as far on a treadmill).

  • Resveratrol inhibits blood platelet aggregation that can lead to dangerous clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

  • Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (free radicals are unstable atoms caused in part by pollution, sunlight, and our bodies natural burning of fat that can lead to cancer, aging, and brain degeneration)

  • Resveratrol has been proven to fight cancer in vitro at all three stages; (1) initiation, (2) promotion, and (3) progression.

Resveratrol is found naturally in:
red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts, Japanese Knotweed, and various other plants.

For the complete 60 Minutes segment, click here:

The Third Mountain:

An collaborative approach to conscious aging.

We have survived our youth, and some of us have proven our worth.
Now what?
I suffer from the Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times”.
I am part of a cursed generation who perceive that we can make a difference
and are therefore driven to the madness of purpose. Thus climbing the Third Mountain, metaphorically, one of rock, sand and mystic gardens, becomes our obsession as we continue to search for meaning.
Having climbed the first two mountains of youth and livelihood, we know that it will be a climb, but have only observational knowledge of the new territory and what, if any, new rules and principles govern this territory. Our legs may be less sure and we will eventually be laying to the side of the trail many of the things acquired on the first two mountains. This means the art of letting go, triage if you will, must be conducted with grace and acceptance. Acceptance, however, must not blunt our curiosity, for fear of falling into despair, a most common threat on this stage of our journey.
Climbing the first two mountains required the mastery of “having” and “doing”. The Third Mountain is the mountain of “being.” Wisdom at this stage of life is the revelation of the “aesthetic of existence”. Those who do well here are those who have attained a fundamental sense of awe of “existence” itself. They are less affected by “events” and in turn have a powerful effect on others by exhibiting the most spiritual form of leadership, modeling, or as some would call it “leading by example”. Ironically, these individuals see themselves as learners and are often quite childlike in their desire to listen, question and observe.
I seek to effect a “gathering of the elders” and invite the interested to join up and synthesize, drawing from the old and new, a new culture of aging as a conscious journey. We have within our grasp creativity enhanced by the ease of modern communications and sharing of knowledge and customs via a virtual network. Science has delivered on it’s promises to reveal the mechanisms that govern physical process and we are rapidly learning how to apply the lessons. We have also learned that the danger of trusting others to apply knowledge without our participation leads to corruption.
It is not necessary to get “old” to age. This is not a site to make pitches for any particular innovation or system, yet there is evidence that while science may work “miracles”, our first reaction to paradigm shifts is denial. We have developed “mature” attitudes regarding the acceptance of physical aging and the journey is more of developing a palliative attitude of trying to diminish the unpleasantness of a gradually deteriorating body. While I may be short of promising immortality, I am still shouting, “we can do this differently!” There is serious science out there saying pay attention even if you don’t understand the vocabulary.
Since I am not writing this to sell to anyone, please accept that I will be very conservative with the science I quote. I am by nature a skeptic so I am as thorough as I can be, staying up till the early morning hours in Chicago, searching for relevant information. I am also experimenting with my own nutrition, supplements, and physical practices (like exercise). For instance, I started taking sizable doses (2 grams a day) of resveratrol plus quercetin, and have experienced remarkable changes in physical strength and slimming of my torso and general energy. I started in late summer of 07 and it’s been a year and I continue to feel great. I suggest people Google resveratrol and research it themselves. It is the most promising advance in health and increasing lifespan yet that I have seen. Beyond that, the promise of stem cell treatments is the stuff of science fiction come true. My contacts in the world of bio-tech tell me of results that strain my ability not to dismiss what I cannot imagine.
The truth is, despite the new science, it is poor lifestyle choices that shorten our lives. I am a classic case of being genetically programmed to produce high blood fats. Yet when I had a cardiac scan the attending physician said I had arteries cleaner than the average man. Since 1972 I have been on fish oils and anti-oxidents. I can’t say that it was what made the difference but I know I was surprised. My blood fat numbers remained pretty high until I dropped the high glycemic carbs from my diet. When I did that and maintained exercise my numbers stayed good. If I strayed they rose, so I knew the mechanisms that were controlling my blood fats. It became clear that I was in control of my choices at that point. Just as my work in diabetes prevention at Pine Ridge revealed how it was mainly a disease of poor diet and lifestyle. It also became clear that most of us are in control of similar choices.
As a former social worker/therapist I am acutely aware of how much of our lives are shaped by habit. Issues of winning and losing are often decided by whether we have positive habits and/or have the ability to change undesirable habits. I am fascinated by people who can transform themselves. I have made it my life’s work to observe the mechanisms of successful living.
My observation is that healthy living starts with an honest and deeper relationship with self and others. The information is available to transform our lives and the experience of aging. We only need reach out to see the larger picture that is only there for those who will look through the eyes of others. Therefore I offer this site as a place to dialogue and share information about the territory I call the Third Mountain.


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    2009年5月22日 上午 5:56

    2009年5月22日 下午 9:02
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