Friday, July 25, 2008

Update on drugs that might increase lifespan

Nicholas Wade covers recent work by Sirtris, a startup company recently bought by GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million dollars. The drug candidates are activators of the enzyme sirtuin, involved in the 'famine reflex' that can switch body tissues to more efficient metabolism and increase life span in mice and other beasts (see graphic below). The commercially available form is resveratrol, obtained from skins of red grapes. It actually is a mixture of compounds having many actions other than sirtuin activation, some probably undesirable. (I actually ordered the stuff from a nutritional supplement supplier, and I'm playing with the idea of trying it, maybe following blood glucose levels.... the not so minor problem being the possibility that any positive physical, psychological, or chemical reactions to the stuff might be a placebo effect.)


  1. nice article in the new yorker july 28, called the eureka hunt, not online, got a pdf only

  2. I got that issue and read the article last night, will post the abstract and the pdf next week sometime.

  3. Since the original Dr. Sinclair study was published in Nature a flood of dubious companies have sprung up selling resveratrol. Consumer Lab, the independent authority on supplement quality and safety, evaluated the major brands and found many to be deficient in terms quality and quantity.

    The highest potency products that passed their evaluation were Biotivia, Transmax and Bioforte. transmax is also the one used in many of the published studies. A product by Life Extension Foundation failed badly with only 26% of the claimed resveratrol. Another brand, Revatrol, had virtually no resveratrol in its supplement. Several other products that passed on quality, such as Longevinex, had so little resveratrol in their products that the cost per mg was sky high. Most of the newer suppliers declined to have their products tested. The Consumer Lab test results are available on their web site at