Jerry Hickey is a pharmacist and radio personality and fills the esteemed role of Scientific Director and President of Invite Health. He has spent his professional life analyzing nutritional information and medical studies with the aim of creating the highest quality and most natural nutraceuticals for user’s maximum health benefits. Here, Jerry speaks about the benefits of Resveratrol…
Resveratrol is back in the news, and it’s about prostate cancer this time. Researchers from MIT and Harvard have proven that resveratrol absolutely affects an enzyme called SIRT1, Sirtuin 1. There are seven mammalian sirtuin enzymes, seven of them, and they relate to the genes that protect you from really devastating diseases. Studies show that resveratrol affects the SIRT1 gene with breast cancer. It shows that resveratrol affects the SIRT1 gene with brain health and maintain your memory as you get older and prevents crucial damage to the brain as you get older. It shows that the SIRT1 gene and the SIRT3 gene help protect men’s prostate. These genes help to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and bone loss. I mean, one thing after another, the genes and the enzymes that are involved with are very important, and they’ve proven recently that resveratrol absolutely affects the SIRT1 gene and the SIRT1 enzyme and the SIRT3 gene and SIRT3 enzyme. That’s very important information because that gives you reasons that you can believe in.
So, here’s a study where they show that SIRT1 affects c-Myc. c-Myc is a tumor suppressing gene, and SIRT1 affects c-Myc, and this in turn, is protective. c-Myc activity, is involved with many breast cancers, colon cancer and liver cancer. When you affect c-Myc, it has an effect on all these different cancers. Now, recently, the University of Missouri was looking at resveratrol because they said they know resveratrol improves the influence of chemotherapy on prostate cancer cells. So, now, they want to find out if resveratrol improved the activity of radiation on prostate cancer cells. So, this is important information, and we’ve known inklings of it for over a decade now. There have been studies going back about 10 years showing that resveratrol helps to pull away many of the defensive mechanisms of cancer cells. There are many hundreds of studies going on with resveratrol because it’s so promising and because it affects so many things in a positive way.
So, here’s what they write. Resveratrol has been shown to have several beneficial effects in human health. Now, University of Missouri researchers have discovered that the compound can make prostate tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment, increasing the chances of a full recovery from all types of prostate cancer including aggressive tumors. Now, here’s what they’re going to say. Other studies have noted that resveratrol made tumor cells more susceptible to chemotherapy and we wanted to see if it had the same effect for radiation therapy, according to Michael Nicholl. He’s an assistant professor of surgical oncology at the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine. So, he said, “Hey, we’ve seen that resveratrol makes chemotherapy work better on cancer cells like prostate cancer cells. Will it do the same thing for radiation?” Then he says, “We found that when exposed to resveratrol, the prostate tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately.” So, they found that there was a compatibility here, that there was actually an effect between resveratrol and radiation, a synergism. Synergy means one on one. Instead of adding up the two, you can add up to three or four or five. That’s a good synergy. So, for instance, if you drink green tea and exercise, you have healthier bones and muscles than either just drinking green tea or just exercising. There’s this real nice additive effect. Here they’re finding the same thing: when you add resveratrol to radiation, that works better than resveratrol or radiation alone and the effects are much stronger.
They took prostate cancer out of humans and exposed it to resveratrol, then heated it with radiation, and the radiation was much stronger, much more effective than using the radiation alone. It was really killing the prostate cancer. According to Michael Nicholl, the assistant professor of surgical oncology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, we found that when exposed tumors to the resveratrol compound, the tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment. They said that prostate tumor cells contain very low levels of two proteins, perforin and granzyme B. Now, these are two important proteins because they protect you and me. These function together and kill prostate cancer cells. In fact, they kill a lot of different cancer cells. But you need a lot of these proteins to be released to kill the prostate tumor cells.
In his study, when Dr. Nicholl introduced resveratrol into the prostate cancer cells, the activity of the two proteins increased greatly. So, following radiation treatment, Dr. Nicholl also found that up to 97% of the tumor cells died, which is a much higher percentage than treatment with radiation alone. That’s pretty interesting stuff. He said it is critical that both proteins, perforin and granzyme B, are present in order to kill the tumor cells, and we found that resveratrol helped to increase their activity in prostate tumor cells. Nicholl said following the resveratrol radiation treatment, “We realize that we’re able to kill many more tumor cells when compared with treating the tumor with radiation alone.” It’s important to know that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells including aggressive tumor cells. He also said you need large doses to get enough to the prostate cancer. Interesting stuff.
There’s a lot of research coming out on resveratrol right now. There are three very interesting studies going on in the United States. One is about protecting the aging brain, one is in Alzheimer’s patients, and if I’m correct about that, that has 30 university medical centers in that study including Georgetown and the University of Florida at Gainesville. And then, there’s one about boxers, which is a fascinating study. Boxers get hit in the head just like football players, just like hockey players, just like soccer players, just like kids on skateboards, and when they have multiple concussions, later on in life, they develop a serious disease where their brain unravels and they become hostile, they become depressed, and eventually, it can kill him. It’s like Lou Gehrig’s disease. Now, they’re taking boxers after a match and they’re giving them resveratrol and using MRIs (magnetic resonance imagees) to see if the resveratrol prevents damage in the brain and triggers healing in the brain. They suspect it’s going to do both. They suspect if they take the boxers right after a boxing match, and they give them resveratrol sufficient to get into the brain, it has to be sufficient, that one, it’s going to help prevent worsening damage to their brain and, two, it’s going to trigger healing in the brain. There is very fascinating stuff going on with resveratrol right now; I have a lot of confidence in resveratrol, I really do.
I’m going to read studies on resveratrol and the heart. There’s been a number of studies like this, by the way. This is in the Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy. Seventy-five patients, they put them on resveratrol for six months. The resveratrol also had some grape seeds, some grape ingredients. I have to tell you, when you buy resveratrol, make sure it has some grape seed and some quercetin. Those are the things of nature that make the resveratrol work better. So, they gave them resveratrol or inactive placebo for half a year. Then, they extended the study to a whole year. They were getting great results. On the resveratrol, there was a 10% increase in adiponectin. Now, adiponectin is involved with healthy blood sugar. Adiponectin is involved with health in the pancreas. Maybe, that’s why the study is showing that resveratrol is good for the pancreas. Adiponectin reduces inflammation in the arteries in the heart and really strongly protects the liver from fatty liver damage. They said this in the study, by the way.
So, there was a 10% improvement in adiponectin levels. That’s interesting because, as people gained weight, adiponectin levels go down, and that’s one reason why they start to develop sugar issues, that’s one of the reasons why they start to get fatty infiltration of the liver. So, when they gave these patients a real resveratrol, backed up with a grape seed extract, they showed that there were improvements in the health of their blood sugar and their liver. But listen to this, their PAI-1 level dropped by 20%. In six months, their PAI-1 level dropped by 20%. Now, that’s really important. Plasminogen activating inhibiting factor type 1 prevents you from breaking up blood clots. In other words, if you’re developing a blood clot in your brain or in your heart, a stroke or a heart attack, the body tries to break down the blood clot because the blood clots are life-threatening. The number one killer in America is blood clots. The number one killer in the world is blood clots. I don’t think you realize that. A blood clot in the heart is a heart attack. A blood clot in the brain is a stroke. What they found is that this was reversing things in heavy people, and people with heart disease that allow them to have blood clots. It was making their blood more normal. I mean, that’s an important finding.
Here’s a different study. This is the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. There are quite a few studies like this, too. They added resveratrol with some grape seed extract to statin drugs for six months. This lowered their bad cholesterol an additional 5% beyond statin drugs, but it also lowered apolipoprotein B by 10%. Now, that’s very important. Apolipoprotein B is what gives cholesterol its jelly doughnut effect. I like to quote the jelly doughnut effect. The cardiologist once taught me that. He said, “Jerry, think of cholesterol like with sugar in the blood like a jelly donut.” The cholesterol clings on to the heart and causes inflammation and damage and the scar tissue that builds up stiffens the blood vessels and makes it hard for blood to flow to the heart muscle. That’s called heart disease. That’s called cardiovascular disease or coronary artery disease. There are all different names for it, but it’s America’s biggest killer. That’s the apo B. The apo B allows the cholesterol to stick to the heart. Adding resveratrol to statin drugs reduced that ability by 10%. It also reduced the oxidation of bad cholesterol by 25%. Now, that’s another important finding. The oxidation of bad cholesterol is what makes it damaging to the arteries in the heart and the brain in the first place.
Here’s a different study. Again, patients on statin drugs. This is the American Journal of Cardiology. They put seventy five patients that had heart disease on statin drugs. They used either resveratrol or a placebo for one year. C-reactive protein dropped by 26%. That’s an important finding. C-reactive protein shows that there’s inflammation in the heart and arteries and you’re developing heart disease. Also, it indicates that the plaque could become unstable. We call this acute coronary syndrome or it could become unstable and cause a heart attack or a stroke. When C-reactive protein is elevated, that means not only are you damaging the heart as we’re speaking, but if it’s elevated in your blood test, it means that that plaque in the arteries could become unstable and fracture, become herniated, and then, that of course is a heart attack. It lowered that possibility to 26%. Again, it lowered PAI-1 17% in the study over the course of the year. That’s the stuff that prevents you from breaking down a blood clot in the heart or in the brain and it lowered IL-6 by 24%, and again, it raised adiponectin levels that protect you from sugar and liver damage. IL-6 is something that damages your arteries and causes a buildup of plaque.
So, resveratrol; three different studies, three different journals show its benefits. It’s added to statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor, or Crestor. You get better results on your lab tests indicating that you’re less at risk of having a heart attack or stroke and damaging the arteries inside your heart with this.