This may come as a rude shock to those who consume red wine, dark chocolate and berries for anti-cancer benefits. Research reveals that diets rich in antioxidant "resveratrol" fail to reduce deaths, heart disease or cancer.
The 'resveratrol' compound is found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries. People who consume a diet rich in resveratrol live no longer and are just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancer as those who eat or drink smaller amounts of the antioxidant, researchers claimed.
"The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that does not stand the test of time," said Richard D. Semba, a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University's school of medicine. The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol.
"We did not find that at all," he added.
Despite the negative results, consumption of red wine, dark chocolate and berries does reduce inflammation in some people and still appears to protect the heart, Semba noted. "It is just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs," he maintained.
These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol, researchers added. For the current study, the researchers analysed 24 hours of urine samples from 783 Italians over age 65 for metabolites of resveratrol. After accounting for such factors as age and gender, the people with the highest concentration of resveratrol metabolites were no less likely to have died of any cause than those with no resveratrol found in their urine.
The concentration of resveratrol was not associated with inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease or cancer rates. Resveratrol is also found in relatively large amounts in grapes, peanuts and certain Asiatic plant roots. The study appeared in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.