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Red wine pill goes on sale in the UK

A £1-a-day red wine pill that claims to ward off cancer, heart disease and diabetes has gone on sale in the UK.

The resveratrol supplement, derived from an antioxidant found in grape skins and naturally present in red wine, is as beneficial as exercise, say makers Biotivia.

The "wonder drug" is said to help prevent cancer by triggering the death of malignant cells. It is also said to help protect against Alzheimer’s, delay the ageing process, and reduce inflammation inside the arteries.

“Resveratrol effectively protects against a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It protects against cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure, it’s got to be a good gamble”, said Hampshire-based GP Dr Alex Barber.

Experts warn however, that the benefits are unproven in humans, and that it should not be used as a replacement for regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Studies have indicated that resveratrol could work by preventing the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries caused by high cholesterol.

The pill goes on sale at Nutri Centre health stores next month, and costs just over £30 a month on Biotivia’s website.

It is already one of the most popular supplements in the US.

There are currently no published studies to show how the pill works on humans. Doctors advice a daily dose of no more than 50mg.

Lucy Shaw, 31.01.2011

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