This discovery opened the minds of scientists as it now became apparent that it may be possible to lengthen our lives by simply cutting back on the amount of food that we eat. After the discovery of the connection between caloric intake and lifespan, researchers set out to discover why animals that ate between 25% and 50% less than normal enjoyed such significant improvements in longevity. What they discovered gave them great hope that they could discover a drug that ultimately could lead to longer lives, possibly adding 10, 20 or even 30 or more years to our lifespan. Fortunately, it appears that nature had already produced such a product…
Enter Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard University
Dr. Sinclair pioneered the work that led to the discovery of a longevity gene called the sirtuin gene. They discovered that a special enzyme called “SIRT1” is normally responsible for guarding and regulating the activity of certain genes associated with longevity and youth. It turns out that SIRT1 is also called into action when the DNA is damaged by everyday free radical stress. When this DNA damage occurs, the SIRT1 must devote its attention to repairing and regeneration and in turn ignores its role of promoting longevity and youth. The result is an unwanted acceleration of aging!
Food is potential energy and the role of digestion and metabolism is to turn the food material into energy. During this conversion, oxygen is used and free radicals are released. When free radicals are released in excess, this can result in damage to the DNA. The more food that your body has to metabolize the more free radical stress will be produced. Other things like toxins, exercise, stress and poor food choices can result in even more free radical stress. Controlled fasting appears to decrease the oxidative stress and thus allow SIRT1 to promote longevity and youth rather than be dedicated to repair of damaged DNA. In addition, the controlled fasting or calorie restriction could possibly result in an activation of the genes that promote the production of SIRT1.
What if we could promote more SIRT1 enzyme with a drug?
This is precisely the hope of scientists, to discover a drug that could be marketed as the fountain of youth. However, as I mentioned previously it appears that nature is way ahead of us. A natural compound known as resveratrol, appears to activate the SIRT1 gene thus promoting the production of more SIRT1 enzyme! This was a breakthrough discovery which has led to the development of resveratrol supplements which may help us live longer and healthier lives.
So how do we know that resveratrol will slow aging?
Well, we don’t know. Resveratrol’s benefits are still in the theory stage. Scientists have been able to genetically engineer mice to produce more SIRT1 enzyme. These mice live longer and appear to be protected from cancer when scientists inject mice with cancer-causing compounds. We also know that normal mice who are fed resveratrol also appear to achieve the same degree of protection and longevity as the mice who are genetically engineered to produce more SIRT1. Other animal studies have confirmed that resveratrol supplementation protects against other diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes while also promoting longevity. Do, these results translate to benefits in humans? We hypothesize that they will, but given the evidence available we cannot be sure. Human trials are underway to help answer some of these questions.
Do I take resveratrol?
In short, yes, I do. I wrote an article about the benefits of whole food antioxidants and talked about the antioxidant formula that I use in my own program called Botanical Treasures by Natura Health Products. This formula contains 20 mg of resveratrol per two capsules and I take six capsules daily which will provide 60 mgs of resveratrol daily. In the animal studies, it has been determined that a human dose as low as 2 mg and as high as 2432 mg is considered safe and effective. As you can see, there is a wide discrepancy in dosage between the studies. Many of the studies found that a human-equivalent dose between 30 and 300 mg would be sufficient to have a therapeutic benefit. As human trials are completed and more light is shed on human dosing I may change this recommendation, however, for now it stands at 30-300 mg. Within the next month, Natura Health Products will be releasing a new resveratrol formula that will combine a pure resveratrol formula with other synergistic nutrients. We will alert you when it is released for those who want to supplement with extra resveratrol.
Although I would love to say that resveratrol will absolutely prolong life and slow aging in humans, the research is quite preliminary. This places resveratrol into the class of supplement that is what I call a “supplement luxury” which means if money is no object, feel free to add it to the program based on the positive animal research to date. If money is tight, then I recommend that you dedicate those resources to more proven tools such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and whole food antioxidants. If the resveratrol happens to come along with other supplements, such as the Botanical Treasures, well then that is icing on the cake. Admittedly the research is intriguing and resveratrol is considered safe, who knows, it may one day prove to be the discovery of the century.