Article by SoLongevity Research
Sirtuins are proteins that occur naturally in our body and regulate some important metabolic processes, Overall, their action aims to reduce cell replication, consequently slowing down the aging process

What this article is about

  • Sirtuins are proteins that perform several functions, most aimed at ensuring the survival of the organism
  • Sirtuin synthesis occurs through stimulation of SIRT genes, which go into action in response to threats or metabolic stress conditions. Such conditions can be simulated, including through the use of dietary supplements
  • Activation of sirtuins is not responsible for weight loss

Sirtuins: what are they and what do they do?

Sirtuins are proteins with enzymatic properties that occur naturally in our bodies. Produced by a family of genes called SIRTs, also called longevity genes, sirtuins perform several functions, most aimed at ensuring the survival of the organism. In particular, sirtuins regulate a number of metabolic processes: they act directly on insulin resistance, play a controlling role in immunity and epigenetics, and are also important for cardiac health and the functioning of circadian rhythms. Their action, overall, aims to reduce cell replication activity, consequently slowing down the aging process and preventing some related diseases, such as cancers, neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

How to stimulate the “production” of sirtuins?

Sirtuin synthesis occurs through stimulation of SIRT genes, which go into action in response to threats or metabolic stress conditions. The three main ways to stimulate SIRT genes and promote sirtuin synthesis are: starvation, cold, and physical risk. It is no coincidence that some strategies for promoting longevity mimic these stressful conditions: calorie restriction (or intermittent fasting), cryotherapy, and physical activity trick the body into activating sirtuin genes to promote survival.

What foods activate sirtuins?

Research is still in its infancy, but some preliminary data suggest that consumption of specific foods can stimulate sirtuin production and lead to clear health benefits for the body. The Sirt diet is based precisely on reducing caloric intake combined with the intake of particular foods, thus leveraging biochemical stimuli to enhance sirtuin synthesis. We have, in addition, interesting information about the anti-aging properties of certain molecules in foods.

For example, resveratrol is a naturally occurring molecule found in many foods, such as grapes, and is able to activate sirtuins and allow the cell to live longer. Another example is vitamin B3, or rather its form called nicotinamide riboside (NR, found in meat, fish, mushrooms, oilseeds, vegetables, and spices), which has a positive effect on stem cell function and the ability of organs to regenerate. These are safe molecules with proven beneficial properties, which is why they are included in dietary supplement and nutraceutical formulas.

Are there supplements to stimulate sirtuins?

In the nutraceutical world, dietary supplements can be used to stimulate sirtuins. Some, for example, act on glucose levels to modulate the insulin pathway, that is, the set of biochemical reactions that allow glucose to be converted into energy. Another strategy, however still experimental, aims to reduce protein synthesis (the mTor pathway). Finally, the last approach involves the AMPK modulator pathway, a “metabolic regulator” enzyme that signals the body’s energy level. If AMPK is activated, it means that energy levels are low. Activation of AMPK, therefore, progressively reduces cellular activity, keeping it at a minimum: the cell, in this way, reduces its activities and lives longer.

False myths: sirtuins make you lose weight

Activation of sirtuins does not promote weight loss. Weight loss is related to calorie restriction, which has the additional effect of activating sirtuins. It is not the sirtuins that mediate weight loss. In other words, weight loss is the “child” of calorie restriction and the “sibling” of sirtuin activation. The fact that they can occur simultaneously, then, is because they both originate from caloric restriction.

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