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How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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October 24, 2013: by Bill Sardi
Virologists, reporting in Nature Medicine, are searching for a way to make a universal flu vaccine that would address fast-mutating flu viruses that vaccines cannot possibly develop antibodies towards. Surface proteins on flu viruses mutate so rapidly that block flu vaccines from addressing the exact flu strain in circulation.
Researchers have discovered that volunteers who develop flu symptoms and experience only mild symptoms have more of a particular type of white blood cell – identified as CD8-T cells. (T-cells are generated from the thymus gland.) CD8-T cells target the core of the flu virus rather than the surface proteins the conventional vaccines address. A CD8-T cell activating vaccine is in the making, say researchers.
While researchers attempt to develop and commercialize a universal CD8-T cell activating vaccine, it is well documented that resveratrol, the red wine molecule, increases the quantity and activity of CD8-T cells. CD8-T cells are activated by low-dose resveratrol.
Resveratrol makes tumor cells more vulnerable to radiation treatment. Forty-four percent (44%) of tumor cells were killed when pre-treated with resveratrol, and 65% when both resveratrol + radiation were employed (Journal of Surgical Research Volume 183, No. 2, pages 645-53, August 2013). The effect was evident in a number of types of tumor cells, as tested in a lab dish. The cancer cell-killing effect was produced by high concentrations of resveratrol which may not be achievable with oral dose delivery. Other recent studies confirm this report.
For the first time researchers report on the use of resveratrol among laboratory monkeys (Cell Metabolism Volume 18, pages 533–545, October 1, 2013). Two doses of resveratrol were employed, low and high-dose resveratrol for 1-year periods (80 mg year-1, 480 mg year-2). Animals were fed a high sugar diet and monitored for changes in markers of inflammation, fat-cell (adipose) size, gene activation, and insulin sensitivity.
Resveratrol did increase the amount of Sirtuin1 gene protein in abdominal (visceral) fat, decreased the size of fat cells (adipocytes) and reduced markers of inflammation.
Researchers noted that while lifestyle and dietary changes are primary over use of any medication, they may be difficult to adhere to. They conclude that “resveratrol may provide a safe approach to reduce chronic inflammatory properties associated with obesity.”
It has been a decade since a Harvard professor gained widespread public attention for his linkage of a red wine molecule (resveratrol) with the Sirtuin1 survival gene target – a gene known to be activated by a limited calorie diet. Human studies to validate whether resveratrol is a molecular mimic of calorie restriction are sparse, though there are positive reports. Most of the data involving resveratrol in warm-blooded mammals involves laboratory studies with mice.
A review of seven studies (a meta-analysis) involving 282 human subjects shows resveratrol has no significant effect in lowering total or LDL cholesterol or triglycerides as reported in a recently published report in Nutrition Reviews. Researchers conclude that the heart-protective effects of resveratrol do not involve reduction of circulating fats (lipids).
In 1992 it was Dr. Serge Renaud who first noted a paradox among wine-drinking Frenchmen — that they consumed higher amounts of fats and cholesterol from their diet and had higher circulating levels of cholesterol, yet exhibited far-lower rates of coronary artery disease mortality (90 per 100,000) than North Americans (240 per 100,000 at the time).
Dr. Renaud attributed this heart health benefit to wine’s ability to inhibit clumping of blood platelets that form blockages (blood clots) in coronary arteries that feed the heart with oxygenated blood (Lancet Volume 339 (8808), pages 523-26, June 20, 1992). Molecules in red wine including resveratrol, not just its alcohol content, are believed to be responsible for this effect. (Drugs Experimental Clinical Research, Volume 25, No.2-3, 1999)
It was later determined that resveratrol also reduces damage in heart muscle tissue following a heart attack by its ability to increase nitric oxide, a transient gas formed within arteries that widens (dilates) arteries. (Cardiovascular Research Volume 47, No. 3, pages 549-55, Aug. 18, 2000)
A third method by which resveratrol reduces damage to the heart is by activation of internal enzymatic antioxidants (glutathione, catalase, heme oxygenase and superoxide dismutase) prior to a heart attack. (Annals New York Academy Sciences, Volume 1215, pages 22-33, Jan 2011.)
Lowering the incidence of cancer and heart disease by 25% over the next few decades would barely improve the health of senior adult populations whereas an intervention that would slow aging would do more to improve healthspan, says a recent report published in Health Affairs.
Utilization of technology that slows the rate of aging would produce millions more healthy senior adults and would be expected to save $7.1 trillion over the next five decades, researchers said. While such a strategy would not initially produce health benefits, it would be expected to produce more healthy years over the long term.
Researchers say they “don’t know which mechanisms are going to work to actually delay aging.”
The over-mineralization theory of aging has been proposed and encompasses all other theories of aging (oxidation, mitochondrial, hormonal, etc.).
Calorie restriction is a known method of doubling the healthspan and lifespan of laboratory animals. To date, the closest molecular mimic of a calorie restricted diet, as measured by gene activation, is a nutraceutical that switched 82% of longevity genes in the same direction as a calorie restricted diet. ©2013 Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com