A new research, conducted at Harvard Medical School, has found that the compound resveratrol (found in plants and food groups) helps prolonging lifespan and health-span by enhancing the activity of mitochondria, the cell’s energy supplier.
In layman’s terms, researchers find out that resveratrol enhances cells metabolism, and that’s a very good thing for your health.
"The results were surprisingly clear," said David Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and the study's senior author; which will be published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Over the last decade, Sinclair and colleagues (including Leonard Guarente at Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have published a body of research describing how resveratrol improves energy production and overall health in cells by activating a class of genes called sirtuins that are integral to mitochondrial function. The cell's power supplier, mitochondria are essential not just for longevity but for overall health.
And this time around the researchers were able to assess, through a pretty complicated mice laboratory experiment, that resveratrol health benefits on cellular metabolism are due to the fact that it targets a specific gene (SIRT1), responsible for the efficiency of that process.
The study also provides insight into another important aspect of the resveratrol controversy. Doubts had arisen in part because the resveratrol seems to act in different ways at different doses. The study by Sinclair and colleagues clears those details up, too.
They show that resveratrol health benefits happens at moderate doses.
Based on the findings, Sinclair emphasizes the value of finding the lowest effective dose of resveratrol, and perhaps any drug, to avoid off-target effects.
"Resveratrol is a dirty molecule, so when you give very, very high doses, many things could be happening," said Sinclair. "It's standard when you study molecules that you use the lowest dose that gives you an effect because of the risk of hitting other things if you use too much".
Sources of resveratrol
Generally red wine is considered to be one of the greatest sources of resveratrol but if you don’t drink alcohol (like myself), don’t worry there are other “power” sources of it.
Grapes and pomegranates, are also considered to be pretty high in resveratrol.
Blueberries, raspberries and cocoa have been shown to be decent sources of resveratrol too. They might not be serious contenders (since you have to eat quite a bit to get sufficient levels to help your body) but as they’re part of your healthy eating regimen anyway they will help you get the resveratrol needed, on the side.
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