New Study: Why You Should Care about SIRT-1 and Arthritis

by Chris Centeno, MD /

SIRT-1 and arthritis

You’ve likely never heard of the SIRT-1 gene, let alone about the relationship between SIRT-1 and arthritis.  It’s full name is even more enigmatic-silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog. Wow that’s a mouthful! Basically, in humans, this gene is an intra-cellular traffic cop. When it’s doing it’s job, it regulates other proteins like a cop standing in an intersection. When it’s not doing it’s regulatory function, traffic accidents happen in the intersection. The traffic accidents among proteins being produced in the cell lead to faster cell aging. For example, we know that SIRT-1 is activated in underfed mice and primates and that this SIRT-1 activation helps keep these animals defying the effects of aging. While under eating activates SIRT-1, insulin resistance (the pre-diabetes that effects about half of all US adults over 40 who chronically overeat) deactivates SIRT-1. Why should you care if you have arthritis? Because several studies have shown more cartilage breakdown in animals where SIRT-1 is blocked. Out this morning is yet another study showing that the deactivated traffic cop gene leads to more arthritis. What can you do to get SIRT-1 back on the job? If you’re overweight, low glycemic eating combined with a 25-50% reduction in portion sizes (depending on how much you overeat now). There are other resources on this topic in our new 2nd edition of Orthopedics 2.0. The upshot? Cartilage breakdown is about much more than wear and tear, it’s also about how you eat and your genes (some of us have genes that turn a lack of exercise and starchy/sugary eating habits into too much insulin, turning off SIRT-1). To keep your cartilage healthy and ward off arthritis, read our book about what you can do.

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Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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