A COSMETIC AND FOOD ADDITIVE THAT MAY SPEED AGING
We humans are exposed a many environmental chemicals that may interfere with DNA, the blueprints of our cells... One of the latest cited involves DHC (Dihydrocoumarin), widely added to our foods and cosmetics. In my Dictionary of Food Additives I describe it as “a flavoring from many plants including sweet cover and Tonka bean used in many flavorings for beverages, ice cream and baked goods.” I noted that prolonged feeding revealed a possible trend towards liver injury. In my Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, DHC is listed as “a fragrant ingredient and is related to is related to coumarin that has anti-blood clotting effects and is prohibited in foods because it is toxic by ingestion and carcinogenic on the skin.”
Now researchers at the School of Public Health, University of California at Berkley headed by Andrew J. Olaharski, found that DHC can interfere with sirtuins, a family of enzymes. In recent years, scientists have learned that sirtuins play critical roles in a wide array of vital life processes, including metabolism, aging, and gene expression. Some studies have shown that low-calorie diets that extend life boost sirtuins activities dramatically, suggesting an intriguing link between metabolism and aging through the enzymes. Humans have at least seven different sirtuins performing different tasks, and given the evident importance of the work they do, researchers have been trying to better understand how they function. Insights into their mode of action could represent early steps toward developing a novel class of drugs that might promote health in various ways and also identify environmental toxins that may interfere with sirtuins.
Reporting their research in journal PLos Genetics published by The Public Library of Science, the Californians found that DHC damages sirtuins .The scientists tested a number of environmental chemicals known to inhibit sirtuins and concluded that DHC is one of the culprits.
If you wonder why DHC is necessary to be added to our food and cosmetics, sit down and relax with a glass of red wine. A number of researchers have reported found that a sirtuin-activating compound found in red wine, reservatol, increased the life span of yeast cells by more than two-thirds . Resveratrol is synthesized by plants in response to stress, like a lack of nutrients or contracting a fungal infection. It exists in the skin of both red and white grapes but is found in amounts 10 times higher in red wine because of differences in the manufacturing processes.
According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, Pinot Noir tends to have high levels of the chemical, while Cabernet Sauvignon has lower levels. "Wines produced in cooler regions or areas with greater disease pressure, such as Burgundy and New York, often have more resveratrol," the book says, whereas wines from drier climates like California or Australia have less.
On the other hand, Dr. Toren Finkel, the head of cardiovascular research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said that "I would be cautious in sending out the message that one glass of wine a day will make you live 10 years longer." "The concentration of resveratrol in different wine differs," he said. "As a drug, it is not ready for prime time." But he acknowledged that the concept of a drug that mimicked caloric restriction "is a great idea.”