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Showing posts from August, 2011

Resveratrol derivative helps obese lab mice live longer – so what?

Do the new findings about the resveratrol derivative SRT-1720 extending the normally shortened lifespan of obese mice tell us anything new? It’s been a long and ultimately disappointing road with the red wine derivative resveratrol, once touted as the basis for miracle anti-aging drugs and now a fading star. As I have described here before, resveratrol was purported to activate an enzyme system known as sirtuins, which in turn activate anti-aging genes that trigger a unique lifespan extension phenomenon normally associated with severe caloric restriction. Take a pill and skip the starvation diet was the promise, and live up to 40% longer. The idea was so compelling that the biotech company Sirtris was founded to exploit more potent (and patentable) resveratrol derivatives such as SRT-1720.


This latest report showed that giving mice resveratrol after rendering them morbidly obese through an unhealthy diet helped them live longer than they normally would have, by improving insulin sensi…

Is organic wine a healthier choice?

Many people accept as gospel that organic food (and wine is a food) is healthier. No chemicals, harmful pesticides, or hormones must mean more nutritional value, right? Maybe, but there is a surprising lack of evidence in the form of dietary intervention studies –that is, actual measures of health parameters comparing organic and regular diets. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any, and recent studies are helping to shed some light on the subject.


Beyond the questions of environmental stewardship and moral/ethical reasons to eat organic, it is important to identify what sorts of nutrients that organic foods might contain in greater abundance and how this translates into better health. Vitamins aren’t the answer; simple enough to take a multivitamin pill and get what you need. A more promising possibility is antioxidants, nutrients such as the polyphenols that make red wine red and in general seem to be more prevalent in brightly colored foods. Antioxidants come in a variety of types…