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Living life with vigour
Sirtuins are the “MacGyvers” of enzymes. They help organisms to streamline their metabolism so that they can withstand adverse conditions. But what does this enzyme family actually have to do with our internal energy supply? And how can we activate these enzymes? We’ll explain all of this and more.
What are sirtuins?
Sirtuins are enzymes that have developed in numerous plants and animals, including humans. They act as important regulators in these organisms. By actively intervening in the metabolism, they make it possible to withstand adverse conditions, which are a natural part of life.
What do sirtuins do…?
The activity of sirtuins increases the chance of surviving certain crisis situations, such as heat, lack of water, or long periods of hunger. Sirtuins set the body’s metabolic processes to “survival mode”. In concrete terms, a caveman, for example, whose metabolism effectively switches to “slow mode” when food is scarce would have clearly better odds of overcoming hunger than modern humans whose metabolism constantly demands food.
…and how can we benefit from them?
But what role do sirtuins play for those of us who are normally not exposed to life-threatening environmental conditions? Sirtuins are also associated with cell regeneration (i.e. cell maintenance and repair) and not least with the human ageing process. In addition, these enzymes are closely related to the functions of the vitamin niacin, which supports the energy yield in our endogenous cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria, thereby contributing to a normal energy metabolism. Ergo: sirtuins are involved in important control and regulation mechanisms and help us to live our everyday lives to the fullest.
What is sirtfood?
It was only recently discovered that sirtuins are not only activated in extreme situations but also by certain foods. Sirtfood contains a particularly high proportion of specific substances that stimulate the sirtuins. Well-known sirtfoods include broccoli, curcuma, and green tea. The vitamin niacin is also known to stimulate the sirtuins. Special plant substances such as quercetin (a bioflavonoid) and resveratrol (a stilbenoid commonly found in grapes) and its chemical relatives, the pterostilbenes, are also closely associated with sirtuin activity.
When following the sirtfood diet, you don’t have to starve to activate your endogenous sirtuins. You simply need to eat the right foods. And the best part: you can continue to enjoy things like chocolate and red wine in moderation. Nutritional supplements containing vitamin niacin can also influence sirtuin activity and thus help you to survive life’s big and small adventures full of energy.