Fisetin, the Supplement that Protects you Against AGEing

July 14, 2010

Fisetin, the Supplement that Protects you Against AGEing 

 Competency: Brain Health  Reference:  Maher, Pro Natl Acad Sci 2006 103(44), 16568 

 Fisetin is a very interesting compound that may just be the next hot topic on life-extending strategies.  It is a polyphenol compound that’s found most commonly in strawberries but is otherwise not really abundant in any food.  There has been a flurry of studies in various basic science journals that have pushed fisetin out into the popular wellness literature, making it interesting to all of us.   Here is why. 

 First of all, we now know that there is one clear strategy that you can follow that will likely add years to your life.  That is reducing your calorie count of food by 30%.  Another way to do that is to simply eat every other day and go on a 36 hour fast in-between.  When you do that you turn on a set of genes called SIRTUINS .(silent information regulator)that make your body go into survival mode.  Your cells live longer, delay natural cell death, improve DNA repair, and do all the things that make the individual cell live longer.  Considering the Hayflick limit of about 50 generations of cell turnover that we have, if our individual cells live longer, then we do too.  Hence, if you want to age slower, live longer, have fewer illnesses, see more grandchildren, you want to turn on your SIRTUIN genes.  

The problem?  It’s a drag eating 30% fewer calories.  For a woman who typically eats 2000 calories, well, you only get 1400 hereafter.  Bummer. Better strategy is to find a way to turn on those SIRTUIN genes without the calorie restriction.  Resveratrol does that.  We’ve done a column on resveratrol.  That’s the red polyphenol in red wine that you can take 100 mg a day of and get a similar turn-on of your sirtuin genes. 

Anything else help with that?  Yes!  That’s where Fisetin comes in.  Fisetin turns out to have a whole bunch of handy features.  For starters, it is such a potent antioxidant that is helps resveratrol last much longer.  It also seems to protect LDLs from being oxidized, and oxidized LDLs are the troublemakers we want to avoid.  But the list goes on.  It seems to protect proteins from getting tagged with glucose molecules which are called Advanced Glycation Endproducts or AGEs.   Hemoglobin A1c is an AGE that we measure to see how bad your diabetes is.  Fisetin prevents that glycation.   It downregulates NF-kB which is the uber-inflammation modulator in cells.  With that, many inflammatory substances your cells put out get turned off, remarkably lowering the level of inflammation.  That sort of action results in more mitochondria being active after experimental strokes in laboratory animals, and those strokes being smaller.  It helps maintain your glutathione levels and glutathione is your “uber-ANTIinflammation” compound. So, it suppresses the bad and maintains the good guys.   This stuff sounds like a miracle compound. 

 WWW. What will work for me?  Hold your horses.  All this is in basic bench science and in lab animals.  But isn’t it fun to know the advance of science?  We have pretty good evidence that resveratrol is safe and induces very favorable anti-inflammatory changes.  I take 100 mg a day of that.  Fisetin may be coming down the pike soon and you may want to watch this story.  Other compounds that have similar effects are quercetin (apples and onions), grape seed extract, black tea, pterostilbene (blueberries).  Sounds to me like bright-colored whole foods do a good number on you.  It’s blueberry season right now.  Apples are coming.   Strawberries are always good for you.  Eat up.  I’ll watch for more stories on fisetin before I go buying any.

Column written by John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)