SIRTFOODS HEALTHIER THAN SUPPLEMENTS?
Sirtuin activators and sirtfoods are very new to the science of nutrition. A ‘sirtfood’ is actually a food high in sirtuin activators. Vitamins were discovered more than 100 years ago, antioxidants 50 years ago, and sirtuin activators just over ten years ago.
The first sirtuin activator identified – and still the best known – was resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes (which is why red wine is believed to keep you healthy), pomegranates and Japanese knotweed.
Other sirtuin activators soon followed, such as catechins (found in green tea and thought to work against cancer cells) and epicatechins in cocoa powder (responsible for the health benefits of dark chocolate).
But research really took off when the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline bought the rights to produce synthetic versions of resveratrol for £462 million. It excitedly trialed this as a cancer treatment but the results were not impressive. In 2010 the company announced that it had stopped the research.
But it now seems eating sirtfoods naturally rich in sirtuin activators may be a healthier, more effective – and cheaper – alternative to supplements. This was the thinking behind the many recent trials of sirtfoods and the sirtfood diet. Present results indicate that sirtfoods target exactly the same pathway for losing weight and staying healthy as calorie restriction and exercise.