The Fountain of Youth Seems to Be at Hand

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The Fountain of Youth Seems to Be at Hand

Since the 1930s, scientists have known that life can be extended dramatically by restricting the amount of calories an organism consumes. Research studies, using a wide range of animals as subjects, have proven this over and over again. However, until recently, no one understood how it worked or how it could be applied successfully to humans.

But now, scientists have finally achieved a major breakthrough: a pill that slows down the aging process by mimicking the effect of calorie restriction. And, if all goes well, it may soon enable the typical human to live well beyond the age of 100.

As explained recently in MIT’s Technology Review,1 Sirtris Pharmaceuticals is now testing the pill, called SRT501, in early-stage clinical trials with humans. At the recent Annual Metabolic Diseases Drug Discovery and Development World Summit in San Diego, the senior director of biology for Sirtris, Jill Milne, announced that the pill has proven effective in previous tests with humans and animals.2

Specifically, the drug has lowered glucose levels and improved the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which is a key factor in preventing diabetes. Sirtris has tested how well the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and removed from the body.

SRT501 is a proprietary formulation of resveratrol, a naturally occurring substance found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, plums, and peanuts. The difference is that SRT501 is 1,000 times more powerful than resveratrol.

One of the founders of Sirtris, David Sinclair of Harvard University, has been at the forefront of a group of scientists who are testing the effectiveness of resveratrol in extending the life spans of mice, flies, fish, and yeast.

For example, Sinclair recently wrote a research paper in Nature3 that revealed the results of an anti-aging study that used mice as subjects. The mice that were placed on a high-fat diet and given large amounts of resveratrol were shown to be just as healthy as mice that were fed a normal diet.

The mice in the resveratrol group also lived 15 percent longer than the control group. In addition, Sinclair found that resveratrol boosted insulin sensitivity and energy production in cells. He theorizes that resveratrol activates SIRT1, an enzyme that has been proven to affect the lifespan of many types of organisms.

SIRT1 is one of a newly discovered class of enzymes known as sirtuins. Sirtuins are named after the gene SIR2, which is the name of the enzyme found to prolong life in yeast, fruit flies, and roundworms...

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