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Keywords: resveratrol, aging, cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular, atherosclerosis

ilLuminol™

‘ilLuminol’ is LifeLink’s tradename for its resveratrol product, a nutritional supplement containing resveratrol and two bioavailability enhancers: quercetin and piperine. Resveratrol itself is a substance found on grape skins and in certain other plants. It is produced by grapes in response to infection by microorganisms. Chemically speaking, resveratrol is a ‘polyphenol’; functionally, it is an antioxidant and also has direct effects on the activities of certain genes and proteins.1

Intense research interest

Resveratrol was of little interest to researchers until the 1990s when it was discovered that it interferes with the clumping of blood platelets. Since platelets are involved in the formation of the plaques that clog arteries and cause atherosclerosis, it was suspected that resveratrol might turn out to be useful for preventing or treating cardiovascular disease. As more and more researchers turned their attention to this promising agent, many other potential applications were revealed. By the beginning of 2009 more than 2500 research studies had been published that dealt in some way with resveratrol.

What is it good for?

Resveratrol operates in the body at a fundamental level: it affects the activities of many genes. Consequently, its influence can be seen in a wide variety of biological processes, including those that we associate with various diseases. The list of possible medical applications is a long one, and includes the following areas:

  • aging2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
  • cancer12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23
  • arthritis11
  • Alzheimer’s24,25
  • heart disease26,27,28,29, atherosclerosis30,31,29,32,11, homocysteine excess33
  • platelet aggregation31
  • blood pressure34
  • stroke35
  • COPD, asthma36
  • liver damage, alcohol37
  • gastric ulcers38
  • leukemia39
  • diabetes40,41
  • fat, obesity42
  • retinal damage43,44, glaucoma45
  • hearing damage46
  • neurodegeneration7,47
  • neuroprotection48
  • kidney damage49
  • male fertility50
  • multiple sclerosis51
  • vertebral disk degeneration52
  • sleep-wake cycle53
  • arsenic poisoning54

Let’s look at two of these applications — aging and cancer — in a little more detail.

Does resveratrol slow, stop, or reverse aging?

It does for the experimental animals in which it has been tried: mice55, rats56, yeasts57, worms 58, flies 58,and fish59. There is every reason to think that the same would be true for humans, but to prove it will require a clinical study lasting approximately ten years. Would anyone volunteer for such a study if it were offered, knowing that they might receive a placebo instead of resveratrol? “I certainly wouldn’t!” says LifeLink’s Dr. Zarkov, “when I can simply take a resveratrol supplement and know that I’m getting the real thing.”

Aside from the animal studies, there is other indirect evidence that resveratrol has an anti-aging effect for humans. For example, in a 2007 study of human skin cells it was found that resveratrol “inhibited expression of replicative senescence marker INK4a” — that is, it altered the pattern of gene activity to produce a pattern like that found in skin cells of younger individuals.60

Does resveratrol prevent, slow, halt, or reverse cancer?

An abundance of research shows that it does. As stated by BB Aggarwal in 2004,14

“Besides cardioprotective effects, resveratrol exhibits anticancer properties, as suggested by its ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells, including lymphoid and myeloid cancers; multiple myeloma; cancers of the breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreas, and thyroid; melanoma; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; ovarian carcinoma; and cervical carcinoma.”

It would be nice to be able to point to definitive clinical studies as proof of its anti-cancer effect in humans, but the world of medicine does not understand the concept of ‘timely action’. Thus, no official human studies have been done12 — despite the fact that cancer is one of life’s biggest killers, and billions of dollars are spent each year on studying and treating this disease. All of the relevant studies use lab animals and cell culture experiments. For example, a 2008 study showed that resveratrol prevented liver cancer in rats.17 A 2002 study showed that it prevented and treated esophageal cancer in rats.61 In another rat study, it prevented colon cancer.62 Breast cancer suppression was shown in a cell culture study using human breast cancer cells.20 These and many other studies would convince any rational person that this is an anti-cancer supplement worth using — notwithstanding the medical bureaucrats who claim that people should wait for years and years until huge clinical trials have been conducted to prove that it works in humans.

How does it work?

The mechanisms through which resveratrol produces its effects against aging, cancer, and other ailments are not well understood. It is known that resveratrol promotes the body’s production of two proteins, ‘sirtuin-1’ and ‘PCA-1α’ which are involved in gene regulation, and it appears that the resulting pattern of gene activity affects the metabolism of fats and sugars, increases the levels of certain antioxidants, and alters the production of a variety of proteins that are involved in the growth, proliferation, and death of cells.63

Bioavailability

The “bioavailability” of a substance is the fraction of a consumed substance that reaches the circulatory system unchanged from the chemical form in which it was consumed. The term is sometimes used loosely to include altered forms that have the desired activity in the body.

It is generally agreed that the bioavailability of orally consumed resveratrol itself is low — very little of it is absorbed unaltered.64,65,66 But recent studies have shown that most of the consumed resveratrol is converted into absorbable derivatives which do end up in the blood.67 The still-unanswered question is: how much of these absorbable derivatives are converted back to resveratrol when they enter the cells? If the percentage of back-conversion is low, then most of the consumed resveratrol is probably being wasted, since the derivatives are not thought to be very biologically active, and are excreted quickly. In that case, it would be beneficial to increase the absorption of resveratrol itself and block the formation of the derivatives. This is the approach that we have taken at LifeLink — our resveratrol formulation, ilLuminol™, includes quercetin and piperine, which block the formation of derivatives and enhance the absorption of the unaltered resveratrol.

Other polyphenols in grapes and other resveratrol sources

Plants that contain resveratrol always contain other interesting polyphenols, some of which contribute to the benefits of resveratrol supplements.68 For example, the roots of Polygonum cuspidatum, the source of LifeLink’s resveratrol, also contain polydatin69 (a cholesterol regulator) and piceatannol (a substance with anti-cancer and anti-Alzheimer’s properties70). Many of the polyphenols in these plants have yet to be studied in detail, and some of them are thought to have important benefits. This is why LifeLink chose to include them in its formulation of Illuminol.

The problem of stability

Resveratrol does not ‘keep’ well compared to most supplements. It can be damaged by prolonged exposure to light, or by warm temperatures in the presence of oxygen. Consequently, many of the resveratrol products on the market have lost most of their potency by the time they reach the customer. To maintain the potency of resveratrol supplements these products should be protected either from light and heat, or else from oxygen, from the time they are extracted from botanical sources until they reach the customer; and then the customer should store them in a freezer — except for the jar that is currently in use, which should be stored in a refrigerator. LifeLink’s resveratrol supplement is protected from bright light and is kept at temperatures below 0°C (32°F) from the time of manufacture until it is shipped to the end-user.

Dosage

The optimum dosage of resveratrol probably depends upon the ailment one is trying to prevent or treat.

Epidemiological evidence suggests that the optimum dosage for preventing cardiovascular problems is just a few milligrams per day — because it is thought that resveratrol in red wine is responsible for the low incidence of cardiovascular disease in France, where fatty foods and red wine are both consumed in substantial amounts. A bottle of red wine contains typically less than a milligram of resveratrol.

Anti-aging and anti-cancer effects may require much larger doses. No one knows how large. Single doses of up to 5000 mg of resveratrol have been tested on volunteers and no significant negative side effects were seen. But few people could afford the cost of such a regimen on a daily basis. Anti-cancer benefits in lab animals have been seen at doses ranging from 2 to 300 mg/kg body weight.61,17 This translates to about 24 to 3600 mg for a human (using the surface area method of scaling dosages). LifeLink has adopted 250 mg as a representative value71 for this range — an amount which is both affordable and plausible as an effective anti-cancer supplement.

Taking it on faith

Some supplements and drugs have benefits that are immediate and obvious — like aspirin, for example, which can provide pain relief in less than an hour. Others, like resveratrol, have benefits that show up only with the passage of months, or even years.

It’s difficult to maintain a regimen when the benefits can’t be seen right away. It’s difficult to continue spending money on them, while wondering whether they are even working. This problem is made worse when one realizes that there are, in fact, many substances on the market that don’t work. The cosmetics industry, for example, sells many phony, useless products, advertising them as “anti-aging” cremes and the like.

Anyone who starts using resveratrol will soon realize that the beneficial effects it has on the body take place too slowly to be noticed on a day-to-day, or even a month-to-month, basis. How, then, does one avoid ‘falling off the wagon’ — becoming lax or forgetful about taking it daily, or deciding to save money by not reordering?

At LifeLink we are not inclined to use supplements “on faith” that they work, and we don’t expect our customers to do so, either. That’s why this website contains so many technical references to support the products we have decided to sell. The scientific research that is being directed at resveratrol gives us good reason to think that this substance is a true breakthrough in the battle against aging and age-related diseases. Don’t just take our word for it: follow some of the links in the list of references below so that you’ll be able to use this supplement on the basis of evidence, not faith.

And for additional support you can join the online resveratrol support group.

Is ilLuminol the ultimate anti-aging supplement?

In a word: no. This is just one step along the path to effective rejuvenation technology. A number of more powerful derivatives of the resveratrol molecule are already being investigated as potential anti-aging substances,9,72 and eventually some of them will probably make it through the regulatory maze and reach the market — most likely as expensive prescription drugs at first, until the developers have recovered the outrageously high development costs and then wrung as much money out of the public as possible. Eventually they should be available as supplements — and by then, even more effective rejuvenation technology should be under development.

It should also be mentioned that resveratrol and its derivatives affect just one of several causes of aging. Other substances and methods will be required to deal with the other causes.

Good review articles on resveratrol

We highly recommend the review article in Wikipedia.1 Other good reviews are the ones by Guarente3; the inflammatory diseases article by Shakibaei, et al11; and the cancer articles by Athar73 and by Aziz23.

CAPSULES
CAT No. PER BOTTLE PER DAY Our Price This Order
60100 30 capsules 1-3 capsules $29.50
(12% off!)
 BOTTLE(S)
References

Pronunciation: resveratrol rez·veʹ·rı·trăl


— RM

Last modified 2010.09.01