SAN DIMAS, Calif., Jan. 25 A red wine resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trawl) pill is edging closer to being confirmed as an anti-aging pill as researchers at LifeGen Technologies in Madison, Wisconsin, who were recently interviewed on CBS-TV's 60 MINUTES, reported this past September that Longevinex(R), a patent-applied-for nutriceutical matrix, activates 9-fold more longevity genes than plain resveratrol at a far lower dose than previously reported.
Resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine, has been touted as a molecular mimic of a calorie restricted diet, an intervention that has been shown to nearly double the lifespan of all forms of life when caloric intake is cut in half. Food deprivation is not expected to be adopted by the masses, but a pill that may stave off aging would certainly be welcomed.
"It takes life-long adherence to a limited-calorie diet to activate as many genes as Longevinex(R) did in just a short time. This is the first time any technology has been shown to significantly alter more genes than calorie restriction," says Bill Sardi, spokesperson for Longevinex(R).
A calorie restricted diet affected 198 genes, plain resveratrol 225 genes, the Longevinex(R) nutriceutical matrix 1711 genes, in mouse heart tissue.* The notion that mega-dose resveratrol would be required to produce the same biological effect as calorie restriction was dispelled.
Conclusive proof beyond reach
Because it would require over 90 years to conclusively prove any intervention prolongs life in humans, which is obviously impractical, researchers believe gene array studies in mice, like the one employed by lead researcher Richard Weindruch PhD of LifeGen Technologies, provides a more rapid assessment of life-prolonging strategies.
The mouse has about the same number of genes as humans (~30,000) and many of its genes are in a similar position or exhibit a similar function.
Does Sirtuin1 activation prolong human life?
The idea that activation of a single gene -- Sirtuin1 -- may prolong human life, has faced a scientific rocky road since it was first proposed in 2003. Early on it was shown that resveratrol activated the SIR2 gene in simpler life forms and cause yeast cells, fruit flies and round worms to live longer. SIR2 is a gene that is similar to Sirtuin1 in humans.
But only recently have researchers at MIT come to realize the Sirtuin1 gene is not activated in all tissues and organs in calorie restricted animals, so it may not serve as a universal marker of calorie restriction. A growing number of recent research studies indicate resveratrol actually down-regulates the Sirtuin1 gene.
Resveratrol is not calorie restriction
Additionally, researchers recently reported resveratrol does not produce the same characteristic drop in body temperature and slowed heart rate seen in calorie restriction. So, plain resveratrol may not be a true mimic of the effects of calorie restriction.
Furthermore, researchers concede the Sirtuin1 gene was not activated in earlier studies. More Sirtuin1-gene derived proteins were found in calorie restricted animals because this intervention protected Sirtuin1 proteins from degradation.
Dosage is important
Finally, when mega-dose resveratrol was put to the test in the first study involving warm-blooded animals, the animals fed mega-dose resveratrol did not live as long as animals placed on a normal-calorie diet. Many resveratrol pills sold online and in retail stores suggest mega-doses of resveratrol (360 mg and 1565 mg) on their label, doses that shortened the lives of lab animals. Lower doses, like those found in 3-5 glasses of red wine, or in Longevinex(R) (100 mg resveratrol), appear to be more efficacious.
The idea of a mega-Sirtuin1 gene activator (1000-fold gene booster), such as proposed by a pharmaceutical company, requires greater scrutiny because an engineered molecule that has never been used in humans is being employed and its safety profile is unknown, and because early animal studies show over-activation (7.5 fold) of Sirtuin1 produces unfavorable effects in laboratory animals (heart failure). Aging involves many genes, not just one gene.
Wine or pills?
In 1991 60 MINUTES was first to make Americans aware of The French Paradox, the fact the red-wine-drinking French exhibit 30% lower mortality rates from heart disease despite their high-fat, high calorie diet. Sales of red wine skyrocketed after that breakthrough 60 MINUTES TV report.
The approval of a pharmaceutical version of a red wine anti-aging pill may be years away, if it ever does gain approval, and its manufacturer concedes it may debut its Sirtuin1-gene activating drug as a companion with an anti-diabetic (metformin) or anti-cholesterol (statin) drug rather than as an anti-aging pill. A pill that more closely replicates the health benefits of red wine, without the alcohol, calories, sugar or sulfite preservatives, may be more desirable to many.
Such a pill would likely be more affordable than red wine. Three-to-five glasses of red wine cost about $3-5 for the most inexpensive red wine, while, for comparison, Longevinex(R) costs less than a dollar a day.
Intriguing evidence for unusual longevity attributed to red wine molecules is provided by researchers from Princeton University who show France has by far the greatest percentage of centenarians in its population than any other country. According to The Wine Institute, the French drink ~56 liters of wine per person per year, about 6.5 times more than in the U.S.
The world awaits the availability of a pill that promises to stop or reverse aging, a pill that would deliver more youthful years instead of inevitable senility, physical debilitation, loss of dignity and dependence upon others. A few years ago the Rand Corporation think-tank added an anti-aging pill to the future Medicare budget, recognizing real strides were being made in anti-aging. Such a pill couldn't come too soon.
To view an 8-minute online film on why humans age, readers are invited to visit www.longevinex.com
*Source: Short-term consumption of a resveratrol-containing nutriceutical mixture mimics gene expression of long-term caloric restriction in mouse heart. Barger JL, Kayo T, Pugh TD, Prolla TA, Weindruch R. Experimental Gerontology 2008 Sep; 43(9):859-66.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.