Scientists claim to have discovered that resveratrol, present in high levels in red wine, credited with anti-ageing powers, and the ability to work against cancer, heart disease and obesity, boosts the body’s supply of cell energy. However, these effects are only ‘switched on’ in the presence of the gene called SIRT1.
Lead researcher Professor David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School, Boston found resveratrol boosted the activity of mitochondria, the cell’s energy supplier, which is essential for longevity and overall health. Without the mitochondria-boosting gene SIRT1, resveratrol did not work. The latest study showed how resveratrol enhances the energy-generating activity of cells via a longevity gene called SIRT1.
The effect of resveratrol on SIRT1 had been demonstrated in yeast, worms and flies before but never on higher animals. The experiments involved a new strain of laboratory mouse whose SIRT1 gene can be successfully switched off. When adult mice were given low doses of resveratrol with SIRT1 disabled, no effect was seen on the energy producing heart of the cells.
But mice with normal SIRT1 showed dramatic increases in energy after exposure to resveratrol. Sinclair said ‘Our paper shows that SIRT1 is front and centre for any dose of resveratrol.’
Source: SIRT1 Is Required for AMPK Activation and the Beneficial Effects of Resveratrol on Mitochondrial Function,David A. Sinclair. Cell Metabolism, 2012; 15 (5): 675 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.04.003