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Longevity Mitochondria

Dietary Supplements Restore Rats Youth

21 years, 4 months ago

10437  0
Posted on Oct 14, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Two over the counter dietary supplements may help to turn back the clock and give aging humans a new lease of life. Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that rats given acetyl-L-carnitine and the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid performed better on memory tests and had much more energy. Tests also revealed that their mitochondria -energy-producing cell organelles - worked more efficiently.

Two over the counter dietary supplements may help to turn back the clock and give aging humans a new lease of life. Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that rats given acetyl-L-carnitine and the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid performed better on memory tests and had much more energy. Tests also revealed that their mitochondria -energy-producing cell organelles - worked more efficiently. The effect of the supplements on the rats was so dramatic that many researchers were surprised by the results. Study leader Professor Bruce N Ames, said: "The brain looks better, they are full of energy - everything we looked at looks more like a young animal."

The researchers believe that the supplements "tune up" the mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of cells. An increasing body of evidence is indicating that the deterioration of mitochondria plays an important role in aging, thus Ames and his colleagues believe that they can rejuvenate cells by preventing this deterioration, which according to Ames, is caused by free radicals. Together acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid work to neutralize free radicals and enhance the activity of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase, which helps mitochondria to burn cellular fuel.

In addition to the supplement combinations mitochondria boosting properties, the researchers also discovered that it improved both spatial and temporal memory, as well as reducing the amount of oxidative damage to RNA in an area of the brain called the hippocampus- an area important in memory.
Ames and his colleague Tory M Hagen founded the company Juvenon in 1999 so that they could licence the patent of the supplement combination from the University of California. Juvenon is currently conducting human clinical trials of the supplement.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.eurekalert.org on the 18th February 2002

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