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Is Resveratrol the Modern-Day Fountain of Youth?

Resveratrol is one of the most exciting antioxidants out there, as it’s been found to extend life, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and inhibit the spread of cancer. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which has only been around for two years, is now working on a number of resveratrol-based drugs that they hope will do everything from extend lifespan and reduce the “diseases of aging” to control blood sugar in diabetics.

A drug that could slow down all diseases would be an “FDA-approvable blockbuster of unprecedented scope,” and it appears that resveratrol does have the power to extend life, just as the less-desirable method of calorie restriction, or CR, does. (Most experts agree that CR does extend life; studies have found that reducing normal calorie intake by about one-third extends animals' lifespans by 30 percent or more, however most people aren’t willing to go through that kind of deprivation.)

While this new research is exciting, I wouldn’t put my hopes of a long, healthy life into the hands of a pharmaceutical company. For now, if you want to boost your consumption of resveratrol, stick with natural sources like whole grape skins, raspberries and mulberries. (I don’t recommend getting resveratrol from red wine).

Meanwhile, if you have any interest in extending your lifespan, you will want to watch the Nova video below, which reviews the incredible work of a Harvard researcher who is performing much of the pioneering work in the field.

CNNMoney.com January 19, 2007

Wired January 23, 2007