The resveratrol myth is slowly unwinding

That anti-oxidants in food are good for you has by now been extensively debunked.  There is some evidence that they are bad for you. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, for instance.   And a favorite anti-oxidant is resveratrol.  The latest report:

Pregnant women who have the odd drink should avoid red wine, researchers suggest.  They say that an ingredient in the wine that is normally viewed as healthy could harm their unborn child's pancreas.

Resveratrol has been credited with having protective effects against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and a number of other conditions.

Naturally present in red wine, red grapes and some berries, it is also available as a supplement.

However, a study now suggests it can lead to developmental abnormalities in the foetal pancreas. The study was carried out by the Division of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism and the Division of Reproductive and Development Science at Oregon Health and Science University in the United States.

Lead researcher on the study Dr Kevin Gove said: 'This study has direct relevance to human health. 'Resveratrol is widely used for its recognised health benefits, and is readily available over the counter.

'The important message in this study is that women should be very careful about what they consume while pregnant, and they should not take supplements, like Resveratrol, without consulting with their doctors.  'What might be good for the mother may not be good for the baby.'

As part of the study, Dr Grove and colleagues gave resveratrol supplements every day throughout pregnancy to obese macaque monkeys eating a Western diet.

A second group of obese monkeys was not given the supplement, and both were compared with lean monkeys fed a healthy diet.

The animals were closely monitored for health complications, and blood flow through the placenta was determined by ultrasound.

The foetuses were analysed for developmental abnormalities, and findings showed definitive evidence of pancreatic abnormalities.

The study was published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.


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