Can red wine extend lifespan? The power of resveratrol and sirtuins

You may have heard a lot of hype around red wine actually being healthy. A key reason for this is that it contains a molecule called resveratrol, which has been shown to activate a family of longevity genes called sirtuins. In humans, there are 7 sirtuins in this this family.

Sirtuins are major players in the biohacking community. They are said to regulate aging by controlling a whole raft of biological processes, including inflammation, mitochondrial biogenesis, DNA damage repair and many more.


As I said, resveratrol (found in red wine) has been shown to activate sirtuins. Some of the earlier studies on resveratrol were specific to the activation of sir-2 (the human homolog of sir2 is SIRT3). ‘sir’ stands for silent inflammation regulator, which is where the ‘sirtuin’ name comes from. In yeast, sir-2 has two key functions; DNA damage repair and gene silencing, but it can only do one or the other at any given time.

These early studies showed that resveratrol increased the activation of sir-2, resulting in increased lifespan. It was also shown that if you knock out sir-2, it accelerated aging. These results were also shown in flies, worms and even mice (mice also have 7 sirtuins, like humans).


Other studies in mice (with resveratrol) covering more of the sirtuin family have shown exciting benefits like increased memory and physical performance. Studies that knock out certain sirtuin genes in mice have resulted in premature grey hair, skin aging and early onset of diseases.

In order for sirtuins to be activated, there MUST be the presence of a co-factor called NAD+, which is found in all living cells. NAD+ levels go up under conditions of nutrient deprivation, which is why FASTING will also increase the expression of the sirtuin genes.

Resveratrol is also found in the skin of blueberries, although not as much as in grapes.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much data to show if we get the benefits of resveratrol in humans, and there is a big question mark over the does required (it’s believed you will need a lot). Nevertheless, you can buy it in supplement form, and of course, feel a little less guilt about enjoying that glass of wine!

If you are taking the supplement form, it will be better digested with some fat (I take a spoon full of coconut oil) as it’s not very soluble.