The coronavirus has become a widespread pandemic, a concern that has not only increased the anxiety of the public around the world — but emphasized the current gaps in coronavirus research. Though increasingly studied, the current strain of viral pathogen that has invaded our homes — known as COVID-19 — has many scientists on edge.
Yet, it has also brought many researchers together in a rush to better understand how the virus works and how we can better prepare ourselves against it.
This upsurge in research efforts has unmasked a substantial amount of the inner-workings of the virus, including how it functions and behaves. From this, scientists have learned that the virus channels a protein called mTOR that has become famous in the field of science over the last 20 years. In this article, we’ll break down what the current research efforts have elucidated about the viral mechanisms of COVID-19, how it interacts with mTOR, and how scientists are now considering ways to keep mTOR at bay — including therapies that utilize SIRT1 activators — a great protagonist against mTOR.
Fortunately, this is not a new line of research. Many great nutrients available to you now work to promote SIRT1, an infamous protein that touts anti-aging properties, and you don’t have to look far. Some of the greatest SIRT1 activators can be found quite easily including quercetin, resveratrol, and even your favorite brain-enhancing nootropic Nadovim. Scientists have known for years that NAD+ is the only direct activator of SIRT1, and now innovative research on the coronavirus has shown a new benefit: a chance to fight back against your body’s own response to the infection.
How The Discovery of mTOR Changed How We View Cells
A little over 25 years ago, a graduate student named David Sabatini at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine made a discovery — he isolated an unnamed protein that would forever change his life and the field of science. Over the next two decades, Dr. Sabatini has devoted his life to exploring the role of mTOR in neuroscience, though his discoveries have paved the way for dozens of other fields.
Cells must take in nutrients and convert them into energy (through metabolism) to create building blocks (by gene expression) in order to grow and to replicate. This process is extremely efficient and highly coordinated, requiring detailed and specialized proteins that work in sync like an orchestra — but every orchestra requires a conductor. For cells, in times of growth, that conductor is the target-of-rapamycin protein or mTOR.
Since then, studies have linked mTOR and its role in cellular growth and replication as heavily linked to a variety of illnesses and conditions. For example, genetic mutations in cancer cells hijack the ability for mTOR to control this pathway, keeping the growth cycle completely open. This is how cancer cells can rapidly reproduce, manifesting as large tumors in record time. Interestingly, the reach of mTOR in disease extends far past cancer.
Research examining the process of aging has also found benefits to studying mTOR. Researchers believe mTOR has a significant role with cellular senescence, mitochondrial function, and the ability for cells to recycle their components (autophagy) — all various ways mTOR may shorten lifespan. In scientific research, shutting down this protein has led to increasing lifespan in many animal models — though we are still a few years away from a human-clinical breakthrough. And yet, there are many natural compounds already available that have shown they can — in fact — change this cycle. These anti-aging nutrients have proven to be powerful regulators of mTOR, reducing its impact on disease. The study of nutraceuticals and the way they can improve health is of vital importance in these fields — and now may prove even more relevant as we confront a new assault known as COVID-19.
The COVID-19/mTOR Connection
With the pressure rising to address the growing concern of COVID-19, the race is on to understand how the virus behaves. Viruses themselves are not like human cells or bacteria, or in fact — any living organism. Viruses function outside the realm of “living,” and act in almost a mechanical fashion, integrating into other living organisms solely to replicate and release.
Visions of films like “Alien” may come to mind, and with good reason. Viruses function in the way of nightmares — neither living nor dead. Their role is simply to replicate, and they can do this in various ways. The most well-evidenced is by penetrating a cell’s membrane and injecting a small section of DNA encoded for one goal: to take control of the host cell. The DNA embeds itself into the cell’s genetic blueprint and redirects it to create more of the virus until the cell explodes, releasing thousands of copies of the virus into the body. Each one seeking a new cell to convert to their next manufacturing plant.
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?
The novelty of NAD+ supplements is just now really hitting the market, with significant research to support it. For years, NAD+ IV’s have been used to boost the body’s ability to efficiently heal by improving the cell’s ability to recycle necessary components. This process, called autophagy, is one of the best ways the body can improve longevity. NAD+ has become a proficient and effective promoter of this process, aiding in regeneration and activating SIRT1 to keep DNA safe. The research is there — and so is the clinical relevancy. It has been known for some time that the current trends of westernized diet and lifestyle have drastically harmed our production of NAD+.
This realization is what motivated us at Innovative Medicine to create Nadovim, the first physician-formulated brain nootropic that utilizes fully-intact NAD+ to boost mitochondrial stores, used to optimize brain cell health, and reduce cognitive decline — and a substantial part of that is through activating our favorite anti-aging protein SIRT1.
With everyone rushing to optimize their immune system during these trying times, increasing your consumption of immune-boosting supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea can certainly help optimize how well your immune system identifies and fights potential viral infections. But if you’re looking to take the fight to the next level, increasing your SIRT1 activity might just slow down the infection enough to give your body a better chance of recovery.
Nadovim was created to help improve cognition, memory and enhance brain health, but with the added benefits of SIRT1 activation — there is no better time to reap the benefits of NAD+ by adding in 3 pills a day of Nadovim to better arm your cells against viral infections.
The main component of Nadovim features fully-intact NAD+ — but it also contains seven other ingredients that promote a synergy of effectiveness within you for optimal brain health and SIRT1 activation.
Stay safe out there and do what it takes to keep your health strong and your body resilient. Practice social-distancing and always wash your hands (20 seconds or longer is recommended) and remember to support your body through optimal nutrition and beneficial supplements. Whether you’re keeping your mind sharp while you’re monitoring our nation’s next steps, or you’re looking to boost your SIRT1 activity, Nadovim will be there. Today, tomorrow, and long after.