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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Living Longer

Science Behind Living Longer -- Research Summary

SIRTUINS are a family of genes that scientists discovered in yeast that can make cells live longer. Their significance? "We believe that keeping these genes functioning properly can forestall aging -- it can slow down aging," Lenny Guarente, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technolgoy in Boston, Mass., told Ivanhoe. "The trick will be figuring out exactly how to do that." Sirtuins -- which turn out to be present in all living organisms -- can detect energy reserves in a cell and are activated when those reserves are low, such as when someone eats a calorie-restricted diet. Scientists argue that drugs to activate sirtuins could offer the same lifespan extending benefits as a calorie-restricted diet.

RESVERATROL found in grapes, red wine, peanuts and some berries has been shown to activate sirtuins is resveratrol.. A drug formulation of resveratrol is in clinical trials as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and cancers. While it has shown promise in animals, long-term studies have not yet been conducted in humans using resveratrol, and some experts caution that dosages of the supplement vary widely. One can get the same benefit -- which are antioxidant properties and heart protective properties -- by consuming berries and the dark red grapes.

LESS CALORIES, LONGER LIFE? Decades of animal studies have shown that semi-starvation can extend lifespan by up to 50 percent by reducing the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Scientists suggest that in order to add to longevity, a calorie-restricted diet should be defined as one with 25 to 30 percent fewer calories but still containing essential nutrients.

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