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How does sirtuin work?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
When it comes to calorie restriction, the mechanism that slows aging comes in the form of a protein called sirtuin. Sirtuin seems to change the chemistry in your body to help neutralize aging. In animal models, we see that sirtuin is really a magic molecule, because it allows primates to have an even longer life expectancy than Bewitched reruns.

The way sirtuin works is by influencing the way DNA is made. DNA is encased in proteins called histones, which stabilize the structure of the DNA. But when the sirtuin gene is activated (through the starvation stimulus), the resulting increased activity of sirtuin protein compresses the DNA on the histones—and thus slows the way that the chromosomes are reproduced and reduces errors during the process.

However, not everyone's sirtuin protein-manufacturing gene is activated. Researchers have found that calorie restriction helps activate sirtuin. That is, eating fewer calories acts as the light switch that turns on sirtuin. But there are also other ways to activate sirtuin.
You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

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You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty

International bestselling authors of YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: On a Diet give you all the tools and know-how to stay young and defy the ageing process. Drawing lively parallels between your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.