How to boost your anti-aging enzymes
Scientists have found for the first time a way to rev up a potent "anti-aging" enzyme in living cells, an advance they said could speed the development of drugs to extend human life span and prevent a wide range of geriatric diseases.
The novel approach has significantly increased the life spans of yeast and human cells in laboratory dishes and extended the lives of flies and worms -- organisms that, on the level of molecular biology, age very much as humans do. Indeed, said the researchers, the compounds seem to have the same anti-aging effect as a drastic reduction in calories, the only strategy ever proven to extend life in mammals but one that most people find difficult to stick to.
It is too soon to say whether the latest findings will ever make the leap from the lab bench to the geriatrics clinic -- though some may choose not to wait: Of all the compounds the researchers tested, the one that boosted the anti-aging enzyme the most was resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine that's been credited with that beverage's ability to lower the risk of heart disease.
But the findings strengthen an increasingly popular notion among many scientists that the cellular enzymes at the core of the experiments -- called sirtuins -- are universal regulators of aging in virtually all living organisms and represent a prime target for new anti-aging drugs.