Resveratrol has become famous as a non-toxic dietary supplement that can help prevent heart disease. Though these claims have not been supported by big American organizations and corporations that stand to benefit from rampant heart disease in the U.S., resveratrol is still a wildly popular supplement. But does it really work?
For American and European citizens who live under a capitalistic health care system, each patient has to decide for themselves whether to follow the advice that’s being handed down by Big Pharma or other large corporations that stand to gain from disease or whether they’re going to take their healthcare into their own hands. Resveratrol is a non-toxic substance that’s widely available in common food items like grapes and chocolate. If it doesn’t work to reduce the risk of heart disease, then it probably won’t hurt you either. But again, these decisions are up to you, the patient.
What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a natural phenol that’s produced by certain plants in response to injury or attack by pathogens. The skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries are rich in resveratrol as well as dark chocolate, peanut butter, and red wine.
Heart Disease, Chagas, and Resveratrol: Things Every U.S. Citizen Should Know
Current estimates say that between 300,000 and 1 million people in the U.S. are infected with Chagas or the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas is transmitted through Kissing Bug bites as well as blood transfusions and organ transplants. In the United States, there are recommendations to test donated blood for Chagas to prevent the spread of the disease, but blood testing is not required (which means that Chagas is still spread this way in the U.S.). Kissing Bugs can transmit the disease as far north as Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Often, the bites go unnoticed, or if illness develops, it’s misidentified and the disease develops into low-level chronic health issues.
The interesting thing about Chagas Disease is that it can take decades for it to cause chronic symptoms which include heart disease and/or inflammation of the bowels. Resveratrol is currently being studied in Buenos Aires because it’s one of few natural ingredients that have been recognized as having an effect on the Resveratrol is currently being studied in Buenos Aires because it’s one of few natural ingredients that have been recognized as having an effect on the Trypanosoma cruzi protozoan that causes Chagas. As of 2016, studies were being done on mice to determine whether resveratrol could be used in place of the standard chemotherapeutic treatment with benznidazole and nifurtimox. Benznidazole and nifurtimox cause all kinds of side-effects in humans and treatment becomes less effective the longer the person has been infected with Chagas. These drugs are so toxic that your doctor would have to contact the CDC just to get permission to use them on you.
So does resveratrol help with run-of-the-mill heart disease that’s cause by eating unhealthy foods and living an unhealthy lifestyle or is this supplement actually working on a parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi—the disease agent that causes Chagas) that’s perhaps more common in the U.S. population than we’ve been led to believe? It’s hard to say, but interesting to consider, especially if you’re suffering from heart disease.
Research on resveratrol in Buenos Aires, Argentina has shown that it can kill Trypanosoma cruzi in a petri dish, so now research is hoping to prove that it can do the same when administered to live animals (in this case mice). Human tests will come next, but the good news is that resveratrol is widely available in food as well as in supplement form. If you suffer from heart disease or general malaise, it might not hurt to add this supplement to your daily routine. Chances are, it won’t hurt you…the worst case scenario is that it won’t help either.
Doctors in the United States are, for the most part, unschooled about so-called “tropical” diseases like Chagas, so don’t expect for them to diagnose you if you show up with all the classic symptoms (nausea, vomiting, Romaña’s Sign, etc.). And don’t expect for them to test you or even consider the possibility of a Chagas infection if you have heart disease, heart rate abnormalities, or digestive issues caused by colon inflammation. You may not notice a Kissing Bug bite and you aren’t likely to know that you’ve contracted Chagas through a blood transfusion or organ transplant either. If you have heart disease or major digestive inflammation, resveratrol may be worth a try.