Natural products or nutraceuticals have been shown to elicit anti-aging, anti-cancer and other health-enhancing effects. A key target of the effects of natural products may be the regulation of microRNA (miR) expression which results in cell death or prevents aging, diabetes, cardiovascular and other diseases. This review will focus on a few natural products, especially on resveratrol (RES), curcumin (CUR) and berberine (BBR). RES is obtained from the skins of grapes and other fruits and berries. RES may extend human lifespan by activating the sirtuins and SIRT1 molecules. CUR is isolated from the root of turmeric (Curcuma longa). CUR is currently used in the treatment of many disorders, especially in those involving an inflammatory process. CUR and modified derivatives have been shown to have potent anti-cancer effects, especially on cancer stem cells (CSC). BBR is also isolated from various plants (e.g., Coptis chinensis) and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat diseases such as adult- onset diabetes. Understanding the benefits of these and other nutraceuticals may result in approaches to improve human health.
Keywords: CSCs; SIRT; curcumin; gene methylation; miRs; natural products; resveratrol.