The highly coveted elixir of everlasting youth has been found in grapes, and in Spain it's concentrated into capsules that are already on sale in pharmacies thanks to a discovery made by a group of researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
Over the past ten years, explained CSIC researcher Juan Carlos Espin while presenting the new product, a team of scientific researchers investigated the properties of this fruit, known since antiquity, and obtained a patent for the elixir, which is being sold as a dietary supplement by Spanish pharmaceutical company Actafarma.
The red capsule, called Revidox, owes its properties to resveratrol, an antioxidant present in all grapes, which has shown to be effective in cancer prevention, against obesity and cellular aging, in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and has regenerative properties. One drawback, however, is the fact that in order to produce the beneficial effects, resveatrol has to be consumed in large quantities.
Spanish scientists have managed to deal with this problem, and have concentrated this substance over 2,000-fold by exposing grapes to ultraviolet rays. ''When they sense that they are under attack,'' explained Espin, ''grapes produce resveratrol, a defensive substance that activates sirtuines, proteins connected to a delay in the aging process, widely known as the longevity gene.''
The discovery came by chance: it was made by Juan Carlos Espin, with CSIC colleague Francisco Tomas while trying to improve the quality of fruit and vegetables in laboratory experiments. The results were concentrated in a capsule, which the researchers say offers health benefits that would otherwise be obtainable by consuming 45kg of grapes or 45 litres of red wine.
''Resveratrol,'' observed Espin, ''has the ability to prolong the life of some organisms and, from tests performed on mice and pigs, we have found evidence of improvements in the intestinal system, against acute inflammatory processes, and for the protection of the colon.''
Currently clinical testing is being performed on 150 people with obvious cardiovascular risks, but the 'eternal youth product' , which Espin does not want to define as ''miraculous'', is already in drug stores.
Actafarma, who distributes the supplement, recommends it for everyone excluding infants and nursing or pregnant women, and ''not to avoid possible risks,'' the pharmaceutical company assured, ''but only for reasons of professional ethics.''
How many capsules are needed to obtain eternal youth? According to CSIC researchers, one per day for the duration of one's life.