Understanding how viruses control this process is key to learning how to fight them. In the case of COVID-19, previous studies on other viral strains, including other coronavirus family members, are likely hijacking the protein mTOR. In a new study published just a few days ago, scientists have confirmed that much like its predecessors, COVID-19 acts in a similar manner, using mTOR to initiate the growing and replication mechanics of the cell that help the virus create the many components it needs for its army. Previously, researchers have used this information to see how viable halting mTOR may be in H1N1 pneumonia and in MERS-CoV cases, showing it helped significantly to reduce the spread of the viral infection.
With this new information, scientists are already looking to create new therapies that target mTOR in hopes of fighting the severity of COVID-19. But are there ways we can take this knowledge and use it here and now? What can we do to make smart choices at home that optimize our immune system and improve our body’s ability to overcome illness?
Some healthcare professionals believe that activating anti-aging protein SIRT1 might give us a fighting chance.
What is SIRT1 and Why is Everyone Talking About It?
Sirtuins are a family of proteins that play an important role in cellular health and work to keep cell functions balanced. They have many roles, as the family is quite large, but they all work to keep our DNA safe from damage. Normally, our DNA is kept wound tight in bunches called histones. When our cell needs to create a specific protein, a series of actions unwind our DNA so that it can be easily read and translated into proteins to get these jobs done. When unwound, our DNA is vulnerable to damage that can cause mutations in the DNA and disrupt normal cellular functions. It’s up to the family of Sirtuins to help close these histones up. Thus, Sirtuins (like SIRT1) are an essential protective measure to our DNA and cellular health.
But SIRT1 also has another function. When activated, SIRT1 also works to shut off mTOR, preventing excessive growth and replication that can be stressful to the cell. In the case of viral infection, SIRT1 has been shown to be a natural regulator of mTOR, repressing it and slowing down the virus’s intent to replicate. By cutting down the replication machinations, the body’s natural immune defense has a better chance of identifying and restricting the progress of the virus. Moreover, other studies have shown that many of the Sirtuin family, including SIRT1, exhibit natural antiviral properties.
How does one activate SIRT1?
Sirtuin1, or SIRT1, has only one known activator – a specialized co-enzyme called NAD+.
NAD+ Naturally Boosts SIRT1 Levels
Several nutrients can be metabolized into NAD+ precursors, such as resveratrol and quercetin. These nutrients have been universally proclaimed for their natural anti-aging properties, scientifically shown to boost SIRT1 – but if you’re looking to improve your NAD+ levels, wouldn’t you rather go right to the source?