How Resveratrol protects you from aging and disease

April 04, 2007

A great deal of exciting information has been coming out of prestigious research institutions concerning the possibility of extending the maximal human lifespan and certainly the healthspan. The research is based on successfully extending the lifespan of primates via restricting their daily calorie intake while still ensuring good nutrition. The excitement concerns the ability of Resveratrol, and to a lesser degree other phytochemicals, ability to mimic this activity; all of the benefits of caloric restriction without the pain of lifelong extreme dieting.

The rational for this is that if you were starving, genes become active that extend the lifespan of your individual cells so that you survive the famine; otherwise after a famine there would be no survivors. The longer each of your individual cells survive, the longer you live. It has been found that restricting calories mimics the effects of starvation; and this works over the long term; causing these survival genes to activate and extend cellular lifespans. Now it has been discovered that supplementing with Resveratrol also stimulates these genes to extend lifespan. These genes also ofset the negative effects of excessive insulin release and high blood sugar levels and the impact disease has on aging.

The enzymes involved in this protective. life-extending process are Sirtuins. Improving the level of Sirtuins in animals has dramatically increased the lifespan in a number of different species. Improving Sirtuin levels has also attenuated the degeneration and death of brain cells in animal versions of Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Increasing Sirtuin activity either by caloric restriction or by supplementing with Resveratrol could be brain protective in several ways; cleaving the protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, and improving the rate of clearance and disposal of Alzheimer's protein. Brain cell inflammation would be reduced and the death of or damage to brain cells would be reduced. The improved Sirtuin activity also stimulates genes that shield brain cells from damage and shock, and block the death of brain cells. Sirtuin activity greatly slows brain-neuronal degeneration and neuronal degeneration is a major aspect of human aging. The study is published in the February 16th, 2007 issue of the journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine.