Scripps Research Institute: Believe the Hype About Resveratrol

Quackery or quantitatively correct, red wine wonder-ingredient resveratrol has seen its fair share of headlines this year for its sometimes lauded, sometimes laughed-at powers to fight a myriad of conditions. 


Earlier this week, however, a team of scientists from Florida and California-based The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found what they believe to be one of the core functions of the controversial compound: human stress response. 


“This stress response represents a layer of biology that has been largely overlooked, and resveratrol turns out to activate it at much lower concentrations than those used in prior studies,” TSRI senior investigator Paul Schimmel said in a press release about the findings and the article’s appearance in “Nature” magazine’s online advance yesterday.


Fellow researcher Mathew Sajish said the discovery is different than others because it uncovers a process previously unknown to the science world.

“With these findings we have a new, fundamental mechanism for the known beneficial effects of resveratrol,” Schimmel said in the release.


Though dubious at first glance, “stress response” has a deeper meaning which makes the new Scripps findings all the more significant.


According to the TSRI study, resveratrol mimics a certain type of amino acid which binds itself to TyrRS, an antibody workhorse which spends its time plugging away at your cells’ genetic code.


When TyrRS is bound to the amino acid, it steps away from the humdrum and heads to the cell’s nucleus where it’s mission is simple: find the PARP-1 protein and tell it to start hitting the “on” switch for a set of genes which work to suppress tumors and prolong life. The whole process is known as a “pathway.”


The story gets better, the researchers said. 


Whereas previous studies were fairly whimsical in the sense that the amounts of resveratrol needed to see real benefits would require someone to drink impossible amounts of wine, the Scripps research shows otherwise.


“Based on these results, it is conceivable that moderate consumption of a couple glasses of red wine (rich in resveratrol) would give a person enough resveratrol to evoke a protective effect via this pathway, Sajish said in the press release. 


Schimmel believes resveratrol’s ability to mimic amino acids may be just the beginning of a new avenue of health research.


“We think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Schimmel said in the press release. “We think there are a lot more amino-acids out there than can have beneficial effects like this in people.”


Source: Snooth – Articles


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