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Red Wine Could Make You Live Longer

Update Date: May 02, 2012 03:32 PM EDT

Red wine could help people to live longer by slowing down the aging process, according to a new published research.

The May issue of the journal Cell Metabolism showed that resveratrol, an ingredient of the red wine, had no effect of its metabolic benefits when anti-aging gene, SIRT1, was turned off in mice. Mice with normal SIRT1 gene would have a boost in mitochondrial activity, which provides the energy for the cell, when given resveratrol.

“Resveratrol improves the health of mice on a high-fat diet and increases life span,” said David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School who co-authored the study.

In the past, there had been suggestions that resveratrol may have an influence on anti-aging process, but the exact mechanism was not clear. Several studies have shown that resveratrol acted on SIRT1 gene in human cells.

According to Sinclair, removing SIRT1 in mice was a difficult procedure, since mice born without the gene usually have defects. Sinclair and his team have been reported to work years to find ways to turn off SIRT1 in healthy adult mice.

The study showed that SIRT1 was absolutely required for resveratrol to improve metabolism. The study also rejected some of the previous suggestions by other researchers who argued that resveratrol may improve mitochondrial function by activating a separate energy pathway, AMPK. While AMPK pathway was activated when high doses of resveratrol was applied, but there was no benefit to mitochondrial function, the study revealed.

However, drinking red wines to live longer in the same scale as Sinclair’s experiment on mice would not be practical, since the amount of resveratrol used is equivalent to around 100 glasses of red wine a day.

Sinclair said the goal is to develop medication with synthetic resveratrol to treat diseases of aging. He added that extending lifespan is not necessarily the goal, although it may be a side effect.

George Vlasuk, CEO of Sirtris, said the finding of Sinclair is the “first definite evidence” that linked SIRT1 and the metabolic benefits of resveratrol.

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