I just got wind of a controversy that erupted a few weeks back over two executives of GlaxoSmithKline who had formerly been with Sirtris, the company that discovered resveratrol’s supposed life-extending powers. Resveratrol, the red-wine supplement that has been all the rage, is being studied in pharmaceutical-grade form to treat a variety of age-related diseases, but so far has been unimpressive.
Nevertheless, Christoph Westphal and Michelle Dipp of Glaxo/Sirtris were marketing resveratrol supplements through their Boston non-profit, Healthy Lifespan Institute, the Web site Xconomy revealed. Soon after, Glaxo ordered them to stop selling the supplement and resign their positions on the board of Healthy Lifespan.
The institute had been offering resveratrol for an eye-popping $590 a year. Even though they didn’t intend to profit off the supplement, they clearly recognized an opportunity to jump on a lucrative bandwagon. But here’s my question: What’s the appeal of a supplement that has yet to show any proven anti-aging powers?