Sirtuins are a family of seven proteins that help regulate numerous cellular functions, including inflammation, circadian rhythms, energy metabolism, and neuronal function. (1) The way sirtuins impact physiological processes is key to longevity.
Sirtuins Role in Healthy Aging
If your body is the “car,” sirtuins are the “driver.” Like increasing speed or pumping the brakes, sirtuins drive numerous functions in the body. NAD+ acts as “gasoline” for sirtuins, fueling them to properly carry out their vital roles.
Just as a sharp driver and sufficient gasoline ensure that a car drives well over the long haul, optimal sirtuin activity and NAD+ levels may optimize lifespan and increase healthspan, or the number of years we live in good health.
How Sirtuins Affect Longevity Pathways
- During a primary age-influencing process called histone deacetylation, sirtuins remove small chemical groups from pearl-shaped, DNA-wrapping proteins called histones. This core sirtuin activity promotes genome stability, ensuring that genes are expressed correctly. When gene expression is controlled cells no longer waste energy and raw materials synthesizing unneeded proteins. This allows cells to be more efficient and versatile as conditions change in the body.
- Sirtuins also deacetylate protein complexes involved in regulating inflammation, glycemic control, and mitochondrial function. (2)
- Sirtuins can “detect” cellular energy states by responding to the physiological-free concentration of NAD+.(3) Declining levels of NAD+ profoundly impact the aging process, so simultaneous upregulation of NAD+ and sirtuins is key for supporting a healthy aging process.