Structure of human telomeric DNA

Telomers and Resveratrol

Who among us does not want to look, and feel, younger? We continually purchase skin care and beauty products that promise us the “fountain of youth” effect and to some degree we achieve results. What if there is really a key to lengthening your life while also improving the mental and physical quality of your life? Well, science is zeroing in on what might really help you stay both physically young and young at heart.

The Science Behind Staying Young
DNA is necessary for so many of the processes that occur in your body and it makes sense that your DNA has an impact on the aging process. A telomere is an essential part of your cells that affect and influence how you age. Your cells are constantly replicating and dividing and each time this process takes place, the telomeres at the ends of your chromosomes become a bit shorter. When it comes to the telomeres on your chromosomes, the longer they are the better.

One of the reasons that telomeres are so interesting is in a study that tracked over 600 people up until age 38, the telomeres were clear indicators of certain conditions that tend to worsen with age. Prematurely short telomeres were used to identify bodies that were inflamed and that were having difficulty repairing it’s own DNA. People with the longest telomeres were found to have the highest levels of “good” cholesterol, or HDL.

Telomere length is in one way a reflection of how well your body is able to rise to the challenges of aging.

Woman having red wine

Resveratrol and Telomeres
Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in items such as grapes, blueberries and nuts. Perhaps most famously resveratrol is also found in red wine. Resveratrol shares properties of antioxidants and is the subject of much research with regards to health benefits. Some researchers and health experts suggest that resveratrol can benefit the body by fighting against bodily damage that causes heart conditions and diseases and cancers.

Another reason that resveratrol is an interesting and potentially incredibly beneficial substance is that it is thought to have positive effects on the body that can help to extend your lifespan. It has long been acknowledged that calorie restriction helps lengthen your life, and now researchers and health experts are reporting that resveratrol works in much the same way as calorie restriction does. When you eat less, the SIRT 1 gene is activated. This gene is important because it reduces the amount of cellular stress and also produces proteins that decrease cellular damage due to oxidation and protects cells from inflammation.

These benefits alone are enough to make you want to grab a glass of red wine. Resveratrol has the same positive effects on your health that long telomeres do. Enjoy the positive health benefits of resveratrol by snacking on a handful of nuts or enjoying a glass of your favorite red wine. As with anything, red wine should be enjoyed in moderation to ensure that the positive health benefits are not negated by consuming too much alcohol.

Red wine and red grapes.

History of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a polyphenol that is naturally found in sources such as grapes, blueberries, cranberries, billberries and peanuts. Perhaps the most well-known and discussed source of resveratrol is red wine. Research suggests that resveratrol is a key ingredient in red wine that prevents damage to blood vessels, prevent blood clots and reduces your levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein known as “bad” cholesterol). This polyphenol has been the subject of much research and study for several years, but resveratrol has been used for years.

Early History
In 1940, resveratrol was identified in the roots of a Japanese plant known as white hellebore. Years later, in 1963, resveratrol was also found in the roots of Japanese knotweed, which was used traditionally in Chinese and Japanese medicine. These cultures used Japanese knotweed to treat a large range of medical afflictions from infections, inflammations, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

Women having red wine in a bar.

The French Paradox
It is widely known that French cuisine features foods that are rich and contain saturated fats, yet the French people are among the slimmest people in the world. Dr. Serge Renaud coined the phrase the “French Paradox” to describe the ability of the French to eat a diet rich in saturated fats and still remain thin. Additionally, the “French Paradox” focused on the fact that French people also suffer low instances of heart diseases. Doctors and researchers theorized that perhaps the alcohol consumption of the French had something to do with their ability to maintain healthy weights and healthy hearts. Specifically, researchers were curious about the amount of red wine that is consumed by the French and whether or not red wine would benefit other diets as well.

The 2000s and Beyond
David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School, conducted studies the sowed the ability of resveratrol improved the life of yeast cells by as much as 70%. In 2004, another study at Harvard Medical School found that resveratrol lengthed the lifespan of worms and flies. Flies had a lifespan increased by about 30% while worms remained alive 70% longer. Additional studies on resveratrol had the same results; mice given a resveratrol supplement had a longer life expectancy than mice who were not given a resveratrol supplement.

Research and development for resveratrol has provided doctors and researchers with a wide range of the possible health benefits of consuming resveratrol. One of the major areas of study involves the “French Paradox,” which is the study of why the French, who frequently eat foods rich in saturated fats, are able to remain slim and why they have good health especially heart health. Other major studies involve the role of resveratrol in cancer and heart health such as reducing the levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and lowering blood pressure.

While the research on resveratrol continues, many health experts agree that the health benefits of resveratrol are widely beneficial. You can enjoy resveratrol’s benefits by eating grapes, nuts or pouring yourself a glass of red wine. Always consult with your doctor before adding supplements or drastically changing your diet to be sure you are not harming your health more than helping it.