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Pill may activate anti-aging defenses, according to research

Article-Pill may activate anti-aging defenses, according to research

Washington — Researchers may have found more ways to activate the body’s own anti-aging defenses — perhaps in the form of a pill that could fight multiple diseases at once, reports Reuters.

Their study, published in the journal Cell, explains why animals fed very low-calorie diets live longer, and also offers new ways to try to replicate the effects of these diets using a pill instead of hunger, the researchers said.

Reuters quotes lead researcher and Harvard Medical School pathologist David Sinclair, Ph.D., as saying, “What we are talking about is potentially having one pill that prevents and even cures many diseases at once.”

The key, says the study, is a family of enzymes called sirtuins. They are controlled by genes called SIRT1, SIRT2 and so forth. Past research has shown that stimulating SIRT1 can help yeast cells live longer.

Sinclair and colleagues at Cornell University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health identified the actions of two more sirtuin genes called SIRT3 and SIRT4. They found the enzymes controlled by these genes help preserve the mitochondria. The study says that SIRT3 and SIRT4 are important for keeping the cells healthy and alive when they undergo stress and DNA damage during the aging process.

The researchers also found that fasting raises levels of another protein called NAD. This, in turn, activates SIRT3 and SIRT4 in the mitochondria of the cell and these help keep the mitochondria youthful.

“Theoretically, we can envision a small molecule — or pill — that can increase levels of NAD, or SIRT3 and SIRT4 directly, in the mitochondria. Such a molecule could be used for many age-related diseases,” Sinclair told Reuters.

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