Two new meta studies published in the Journal Nature, one authored by Dr. David Gems, and the second one by Drs. Auwerx and Canto, examine previous studies of red wine’s ability to promote human health and longevity.
The compound which is contained in red wine which was the subject of the study is called resveratrol. Resveratrol specialist James Betz of Biotivia, a biotech company involved in the study of this compound commented on the two studies.
Resveratrol was first identified as an activator of enzymes known as sitruins by Dr David Sinclair of Harvard and his work was also published in the prestigious journal Nature in 2006. Since that time over 5,000 additional studies of resveratrol have been undertaken. The vast majority of these studies elucidate impressive potential health benefits of the red wine molecule. Although most of these studies were done on animals or in the lab, since 2009 a significant number, using a purified form of resveratrol called transmax resveratrol, have been done on human subjects. In these clinical trials resveratrol was shown to improve blood glucose tolerance in pre diabetic subjects, increase brain blood flow in university students, increase fitness in both training and sedentary subjects and to have a wide range of other beneficial health effects.
In the two new Nature studies it was confirmed that resveratrol does activate the so-called anti-aging genes Sirt 1 and 2, but that the primary benefits of this effect is to promote resistance to the diseases of aging such as diabetes and other chronic conditions, not necessarily to directly increase lifespan. Studies on human longevity are extremely difficult to conduct due to the inability of the researchers to control for the thousands of factors which influence lifespan. The medical community prefers to focus on Healthspan, which is the number of years a person lives free of the debilitating diseases which often accompany the later years of a person’s life. The idea is that if diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented one’s quality of life is dramatically improved and the cost of health care to the nation is greatly reduced. If the shift to prevention vs remedial health care is not accomplished within the next ten years the cost of providing health care to the citizens of every developed country will exceed the total public budget by 2025 according to leading economists. Resveratrol is one of the compounds which could make a significant contribution to the shift to a prevention centric health care strategy in the US and Europe. Dr. Auwerx stated “Similarly, indirect activation of SIRT1 by the compound resveratrol protects against metabolic and age-related diseases.” He goes on to state “SIRT1 activation remains a promising approach to delaying general age-related physiological decline and to treating numerous inherited and acquired diseases…
At this point the jury is still out on whether resveratrol will make one live longer however if it prevents an individual from contracting cancer or diabetes or one of the other diseases of aging, for that person it will certainly increase improve the person’s health span and quality of life, if not his life span.
One thing is clear. As the Dr Auwerx points out, the astonishing ability of SIRT1 to enhance ‘Healthspan’ by promoting metabolic fitness will also guarantee it a long life as a subject for further exciting research. Biotivia will continue to support human clinical trials of resveratrol worldwide.