Here's another reason to toast red wine. Researchers say it may help slow the aging process.
The key lies in compounds that activate an enzyme that stabilizes DNA and extends life. Animal studies have already shown a low calorie diet can have anti-aging effects. But now, for the first time, scientists have zeroed in on compounds found in red wine and vegetables that unlock that anti-aging enzyme, called SIR-2.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School used the compounds to extend the life span of yeast by up to 70%. Since humans have an enzyme similar to that found in yeast, the findings may provide a new approach for researchers to develop drugs to help us live longer.
The study is in the journal Nature. While scientists have known for years that this enzyme, called SIR-2 exists, this is the first time that researchers were able to find a compound that can activate the enzyme.
As we age, DNA starts to naturally break down and so called bad DNA accumulates in the cell. In laboratory experiments in yeast cells, researchers were able to activate an enzyme to prevent that break down from occurring.
The DNA was then allowed more time to repair itself instead of naturally self distracting. A similar enzyme exists in humans. Researchers say the findings could one day lead to the development of drugs that would activate this enzyme to help keep DNA healthy and help people live longer.