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Some molecules causing longivity

Some molecules causing longivity

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Some molecules, particularly the resveratrol can prolong life. A study.
Some molecules, particularly the resveratrol can prolong life. A study.

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Published by: Premendra Priyadarshi on Jul 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Study of Role of some Molecules in Prevention of Cancers and Degenerative Diseases, Retardation of Aging and Prolonging Life
By Premendra Priyadarshi FRCP
Death and old age have horrified human minds since earliest days. Much of human institutional effort has been directed directly or indirectly towardsincreasing human lifespan (and providing a better quality of life for the aged),whether by prevention of crime, maintenance of traffic rules, establishing of hospitals or erection of temples or churches in the past when God alone wascapable of helping man out from diseases and natural calamities. Growth of preventive medicine, immunization, better nutrition and recent awarenessabout metabolic consequences of over-eating, sedentary life, stress andobesity
and how to control them by yoga, regular exercise, regulated diet andanti-oxidants etc. have gone a long way in improving human survival andquality of life. Improvement in survival has to be associated with freedom fromdiseases especially the degenerative diseases which are usually side-effects of longer survival. As our life expectancy increases, we now feel more concernedto have a disease-free, independent existence in the old age.In the last few years, ginkgo, Co-enenzyme Q, rapamycin, resveratrol, brahmiand many other substances have been tested for their beneficial effects forprevention and treatment of aging related degenerative conditions. Many of these have been found to prolong life significantly.Ginkgo biloba, called Balkuwari in Hindi, is a tree whose nut and bark havebeen used in Indian medicine and Chinese Buddhist medicine for thousands of years.
Its common English name ‘Maiden’s Hair’ is just a literal translation of its
Hindi name (bal=hair; kuwari= maiden). It improves memory, improvesdementia and slows down the progression
of Alzheimer’s disease (Ernst and
Pittler, 1999). It is helpful in multi-infarct dementia or dementia caused bycerebral infarcts (Kanowski 1996).
A recent ‘external study’ i.e. study by
neutral examiners also approved of its efficacy in dementia of various origins(Bronthoft 2008). Although Gingko has been found to improve memory, retard
The article was published in the Nov 2009 issue of the
Eternal India
journal, published by the India FirstFoundation, 5 Hailey Road, New Delhi. Author Email: priyadarshi101@hotmail.com
brain degeneration and slow the progression of dementia, it is toxic in overdose, and is not recommended without medical supervision.Sirolimus, also known as rapamycin, is an immunosuppressant drug used toprevent organ transplant rejection, especially in patients with kidneytransplants. In structure, it is a macrolide antibiotic (like erythromycin). It wasfirst discovered as a product of the bacterium
, and was used asan anti-fungal agent. But soon it was found that it had strong immuno-suppressive effects, and therefore its use as anti-fungal antibiotic wasabandoned. Now it is used only for its immuno-suppressive effect which is
required to prevent rejection of transplanted organ by recipients’ body
. It wasonly recently noted that it prolongs life and prevents many degenerativediseases. Although it has been shown to prolong life of mice, it cannot belicensed for use in humans for this purpose, simply because of its unacceptableimmuno-suppressive effects. But it is likely that some of its derived moleculesmay be discovered in future which would not have immuno-suppressiveeffects or other side effects, but would be capable of prolonging life.Resveratrol seems to be the most promising of these newer agents andwithout any side-effect. Its story begins with detection of the French Paradox.THE FRENCH PARADOXIrish physician Samuel Black observed in 1819 that although the Frenchconsumed highest amount of fats among the white people, they had relativelylower incidence of heart disease and that they had longer lifespan. Thisphenomenon was termed the French Paradox by Surge Renaud in 1992. Manyspeculations were made how the French avoided coronary artery (heart)diseases in spite of consuming so much of fat, especially the saturated fats.Lastly, it was proposed that this was possibly because of highest consumptionof red wine by the French. It has been known for long that moderate amountof alcohol intake is associated with slight reduction in cardiovascular mortality,possibly because of anti-clotting effects of alcohol on the platelets. But thedegree of protection by red wine observed in the French people was far morethan that which could be produced by drinking similar amounts of other formsof alcohol like whisky. Hence it was concluded that the red wine hadsomething more than alcohol in it. It was later found that red wine contained
very high amounts of ‘resveratrol’.
RESVERATROLResveratrol was isolated in 1940. It is widely distributed in plant kingdom. It isfound in skin of grapes, peanuts, raspberries and pine. It is produced by plantcells in response to stress like attack by fungus, bacteria or lack of nutrientsand exposure to ultraviolet rays. The red and the white grapes have nearly thesame amounts of resveratrol in them. But while making white wine the skin ispeeled off, that reduces the resveratrol content of white wine. Thus red winecontains twenty times greater concentration of this substance as compared towhite wine. Resveratrol, a polyphenol, is known to protect againstcardiovascular diseases, cancers and degenerative diseases of brain and manyother organs. It is known to have anti-aging effects in numerous organisms,and prolongs life (Aggarwal and Shishodia 2005).A large number of effects of aging are caused by oxidative damage to the cells.Many of the biological substances used as food have anti-oxidant propertiesand are helpful in retarding degenerative diseases and harmful effects of aging.Beta-carotene and carotenoids (which derive their names from carrot) found intomato, papaya and carrot, as well as vitamin C found in most of the fruits(except dry-fruits) are good anti-oxidants. Jang
et al 
(2003) experimentallydemonstrated that resveratrol does have excellent anti-oxidant properties, andis good at stopping or slowing down degenerative diseases.In mice, resveratrol was shown to protect from some forms of 
et al 
1997). Following this research, worldwide interest surged in this moleculeand a large number of experiments and trials followed. It was tried in a largenumber of diseases and degenerative conditions. It was found that resveratrolmay prevent cancers to some extent. It was found that resveratrol hasbeneficial effects if used as a chemo-preventive agent for breast cancer (Lu,1999; Bhat, 2001). Since then a large number of studies have shown thatresveratrol is helpful in breast cancer. Pozo-Guisado (2002) found thatresveratrol could produce cancer cell specific alterations in cell-cycle therebyhelping in stopping cancer growth. They also found that this substancepromoted death of cancer cells (apoptosis). It has been further noted thatresveratrol could prevent skin cancer (Aziz 2005; Raul 2006). Ding
et al 
(2002)found that it could inhibit proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells and couldlead to death of such cancer cells.Bianchini and Vinino (2003) found that resveratrol inhibits the metabolicactivation of carcinogens (chemical substances which cause cancer), has

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