Eat Yourself Young
If you’re interested in longevity, have any inkling of a goal to live a long time, or truly want to pursue as many natural anti-aging strategies as you can, then you need to be familiar with something called “sirtuins.” (Pronounced sir-two-ins.)
A host of studies over the past decade have shown that sirtuins play a crucial role in regulating a variety of biological parameters linked to longevity, including your circadian rhythm (aka your 24-hour body clock), oxidative stress (free radical damage by pollutants, excessive exercise and more!), DNA repair, inflammation, cellular metabolism, tumor suppression and stress response. Sirtuins can also inhibit fat storage and increase fatty acid metabolism, which gives them the potential to reduce the risk of diseases associated with excess fat, such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.
Now, here’s the troublesome part: these beneficial effects of sirtuins primarily become activated during calorie and nutrient depletion, starvation and cellular stress such as heat, cold and exercise.
This demonstrates that some physical stress on the body can be beneficial in small amounts (a concept called “hormesis”), but it also suggests that unless you want to be on a constant diet, shivering, sweating and stressing yourself out, you may not be able to activate sirtuins or live a long time. And let’s face it: who wants to live a long time if you’re always cold and hungry, right?
However, molecules very similar to sirtuins have been identified in almost all species that have been studied including yeast, worms and fruit flies. These sirtuin-like compounds require something called NAD+ to function properly, and NAD+ is a derivative of vitamin B3 (niacin). Niacin is found in foods such as mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, mushrooms, chicken, turkey, duck and whole grains. Niacin is also found in Vitality and MIND.
Research has found that a variety of foods, and food components, are classified as “sirtuin-activating foods.” Ever hear that a daily glass of wine may have longevity-enhancing effects? You heard right, although that claim was blown out of proportion because “resveratrol,” the active anti-aging component in wine, is actually necessary in extremely high amounts to have an anti-aging effect. This means you need a supplement … or you’d have to drink copious amounts of booze to get that amount of resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a plant-based polyphenol that has been shown to have a wide range of beneficial effects, including antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic, and, you guessed it … sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) activating. Resveratrol is found in foods such as berries, red grapes, and Vitality.
Quercetin is another SIRT1 activator. It has a significant amount of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects due to the upregulating effect of quercetin on SIRT1. Foods rich in quercetin include capers, apples, tea, onions, citrus fruits, green vegetables, and most berries and grapes. (Vitality contains grape seed and skin extract.)
Then there’s turmeric, a strongly flavored herb and rich source of curcumin that has been shown to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects due to activation of SIRT1. Fermented soy foods, such as natto, miso and tempeh, contain isoflavones that can act as SIRT1-signaling activators.
Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids, such as those you find in wild caught fish and fish oil, are sirtuin activators. Finally, there’s melatonin, the sleep hormone that also acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It too activates sirtuins – and foods high in tryptophan precursors such as turkey and dairy may indirectly increase melatonin production.
All of this can seem very overwhelming as different sirtuin activators are spread among many different foods. FEAR NOT! Since berries are one of the most potent sirtuin activators found to date, finding a conveniently powdered and dried form is the easiest way to get your daily dose of sirtuins.
Let’s take a look at some of the most sirtuin-rich berries:
- Saberry®: an ORAC-dense phytonutrient that stimulates the body’s ability to produce the antioxidants catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase – the body’s first line of defense against toxins that accelerate aging.
- Goji berries: rich in antioxidants; carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin; essential vitamins and minerals; amino acids; polysaccharides and monosaccharides.
- Açai: native to Central and South America, it is a relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and other purple fruits, and contains powerful antioxidants that help defend the body against life’s stressors, while also playing an important role in bolstering the body’s immune system.
- Grape powder, skin and seed extract: each contains a powerful and unique combination of phytonutrients, such as anthocyanins, vitamin C, and quercetin, all of which contribute to reducing unnecessary fats, enhancing glucose balance, and increasing bone health and anti-inflammatory activity.
- Wild blueberries: especially rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with high antioxidant capacity, and also an excellent source of manganese, which is important for bone development.
- Cranberries: full of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by free radicals. Cranberries also improve the body’s circulatory system, are high in vitamin C, and have antioxidant and antibacterial effects in the body.
- Raspberry powder and seed extract: prevent unwanted damage to cell membranes and other structures in the body by neutralizing free radicals. Raspberry powder and seed extract are high in vitamin C and manganese.
- Prunes: contain vitamins A and C to help maintain healthy hair and skin, and also contain potassium and iron, which are essential for healthy blood. The high potassium content in prunes can help normalize blood pressure, while the soluble fiber promotes heart health.
- Strawberries: a nutrient-rich fruit and an excellent source of vitamin C. Along with vitamin C, strawberries are a rich source of B vitamins. These vitamins acting as cofactors help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Tart cherries: pigment rich fruits that promote flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals.
- Wild bilberries: a rich source of flavonoids, which help keep cells healthy and strong. Bilberries also support eye health during aging and improve one’s ability to adjust to light variations both at night and during the day.
As you can see, most of the sirtuin-activating berries above also have a wide variety of crossover health effects that go above and beyond longevity. So when you go out of your way to include them in your diet, you are not only promoting a long life span, but you’re also ensuring you feel good doing it!
While you could certainly spend days, weeks, months or years of your life traveling to the four corners of the world harvesting each of the little-known berries and other sirtuin-activators described above, there is good news …
Each and every one of those activators is tightly packed into a single dose of Vitality. This means each time you enjoy Vitality, you are activating the very same anti-aging pathways you’d normally need to activate via extreme calorie restriction, a hard exercise session, cold or heat.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for hard work, but it’s nice to know that you can also achieve anti-aging by simply engaging in better living through natural science by getting your hands on Vitality.
Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, obstacle course racer, human performance consultant, speaker, and author of 13 books, including the New York Times bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life.” (BeyondTrainingBook.com)
In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the Year, and in 2013 and 2014, he was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at http://www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA, with his wife and twin boys.