Understanding AMPK and SIRT1: The Enzyme Link

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If you’ve been studying the various aspects of human biology, particularly how it works at the cellular and genetic levels, you probably know about AMPK already. However, have you come across SIRT1? While not as commonly discussed, the protein deacetylase (meaning it’s also an enzyme like AMPK) serves important roles in boosting longevity, facilitating metabolism, and managing inflammation.

Discover the Core Concept

To help those who are just starting their research into the topic, here’s the basics on AMPK – when activated, the protein triggers a set of reactions ranging from increasing metabolism and inducing cellular repair, to reducing inflammation and initiating mitochondrial formation. Clearly, AMPK is of great significance when it comes to attaining a better physique, but what triggers its activation?

Whenever the body’s energy supplies run low, which AMPK detects based on the cellular AMP/ATP ratio, the enzyme begins various processes that all generally allow the body to function for longer – and at the same time protects the cells from the damages induced by prolonged intense physical activity. SIRT1 works in a similar manner, in the sense that it also detects the body’s energy levels and activates when necessary.

Also, like AMPK, SIRT1 responds to shortages in nutrient availability. As for the topic of processes, it initiates many other things aside from fat metabolism and glucose homeostatis (or keeping blood glucose levels within an appropriate range). For one, it inhibits the p53 protein, meaning it prevents cells from undergoing apoptosis (or cell death). The protein also stops cellular growth, so in essence SIRT1 causes the opposite.

Uncovering the Connection

Experts are yet to pinpoint the exact link between AMPK and SIRT1, particularly in terms of how they interact. However, they have gathered enough information to safely say that the two regulate one another to some extent. Specifically, whenever there’s a drop in SIRT1 activity, AMPK would follow suit and exhibit a lowering of activity as well. Interestingly, this isn’t the only thing they’ve uncovered so far in terms of activation.

Some studies point towards the possibility of AMPK acting as an activator of the protein deacetylase. However, other scientific inquiries have revealed other ways to explain the observed phenomenon – hinting towards a not-so-direct process in which AMPK itself fails to activate SIRT1, but since the former triggers a shift in the NAD+/NADH ratio, the latter eventually gets activated.

Time to Make Sense of It All

Right now, you’re probably wondering why these things should matter to the common individual. Why should a person without any interest to just learn about these bits of info pay attention to the connection between the two enzymes. Well, given the beneficial effects that they offer whenever they get activated, it would only be logical to seek ways on how to maximize such health-giving perks.

Since AMPK has the potential to influence SIRT1, choosing to increase the former’s activation should prove to have a doubly beneficial outcome. Doing that may be as simple as taking a small amount of aspirin regularly, as the common drug is a known AMPK activator. Getting enough zinc (yes, the mineral) can also help in reaching such a goal since it’s another recognized activator of the enzyme.

Of course, there are dietary approaches to inducing AMPK activation. Consuming more olive oil (or using it to replace other oils in meal preparation) is one good example. Eating more blueberries is another valid approach, given that the fruit is rich in anthocyanin. Bitter gourd, despite not being as palatable as the previous recommendation, is still an excellent choice since it offers a myriad of other health benefits.

Alternatively, if you’re aiming to boost SIRT1 activation specifically, you may go the supplementation route. As mentioned beforehand, NAD does influence SIRT1, and so taking NAD supplements should result to an increase in the enzyme’s activity. This particular course of action may be ideal if your aim is to fight aging, given that AMPK doesn’t have a direct influence over it (though it does affect antioxidant production).

A Quick Reminder on Safety

If your goal in reading this brief article is simply to gather knowledge or to satisfy your curiosity, then hopefully you got what you were looking for. On the other hand, if you’re looking to achieve health- or physique-related goals, here’s an important reminder for you – before trying any suggestion for activating specific enzymes, you it’s best to confirm your plans with a physician.

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