Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Resveratrol Anti-Aging on CBS News

What did researchers tell CBS news about resveretrol found in red wine? How it could extend lifespan? The beans were spilled in this report and how this has made resveratrol the most famous anti aging supplement literally overnight.

Morley Safer of the CBS learns about resveratrol - a compound found in red wine - and how it one day could help to extend the human life by a decade or so in an interview with Dr Christoph Westphal, co-founder of Sirtris, of Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Christoph Westphal says, "If the promise holds true, I think this has the chance to change healthcare".

The anti aging Sirtuin gene

Westphal first became involved in the research on Resveratrol when he met fellow Sirtris co-founder David Sinclair, who was at the time a bio-chemist at Harvard and studying the genetic compounds of ageing. He had shown that the life span in yeast could be extended. In order to translate the experiments to include humans, Sinclair had focused on a gene common in almost all forms of life - the sirtuin gene.

Sinclair believed that the normally inactive gene - once activated - could trigger a survival mechanism which extends life. He was also convinced that something in nature had to activate the gene, and tested literally thousands of compounds. One which showed a promise was the compound Resveratrol, which, when he googled it, Sinclair discovered was found mainly in red wine, and in particular in the skin of the red grape. The information also described it as being something which played a role in protecting the plant from fungal attack and bacterial invasion.

Already aware of the link between red wine and health benefits, Sinclair and Westphal were convinced of a scientific breakthrough and launched the research company Sirtris, Cambs, Mass. This company is now looking at the benefits of resveratrol for diabetes and cancer in human trials.

Benefits of resveratrol

For some time it had been known that the sirtuin gene which switches on the 'survival mechanism' could be activated by restricted calorie intake diet. A National Institute of Health study at the University of Wisconsin into the effects of calorie restriction in monkeys had already shown that monkeys fed on a restricted calorie diet were far more youthful, healthier and in better condition than their counterparts fed on a regular diet.

When they realized the link between the genetic switching, restricted calorie diets and resveratrol, Sinclair and Westphal believed that they could have found a way to provide to humans, in pill form, a method of improving health and prolonging life.

Tests on mice and monkeys fed resveratrol along with their normal diet showed a life extension of nearly 25%, and further tests involving mice fed on a high-fat diet showed reduced incidences of heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The fact that the test animals were also slimmer led the scientists to believe that resveratrol mimics the effect of a calorie restricted diet or exercise.

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