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Scientists Develop Supplement That Offsets Aging


What happens when you combine more than a dozen carefully selected vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other nutritional substances? Scientists at McMaster University say it is a supplement that can offset a key symptom of aging—declining physical activity.

The newly developed supplement is not the Fountain of Youth, but it holds promise of extending physical function as well as improving the quality of life. According to David Rollo, associate professor of biology at McMaster, the decline in physical activity “is one of the most reliable expressions of ageing and is also a good indicator of obesity and general mortality risk.”

The study’s authors found that when they combined a number of dietary supplements into one compound and administered it to old mice, the formula allowed the mice to maintain youthful levels of physical activity into old age. This occurred because the concocted supplement increased the activity of the mitochondria, which supply energy, and reduced the amount of free radicals, which are believed to be the basic cause of aging.

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In the control group of old mice that did not receive the supplement, the scientists observed a 50 percent loss in daily movement, a significant decline in the activity of the mitochondria, and declines in brain chemicals associated with locomotion. These observations support the team’s findings that the supplement extends longevity and prevents cognitive decline.

The supplement developed by the scientists consisted of thiamin, vitamins C, D, and E, acetylsalicylic acid, beta-carotene, folic acid, garlic, ginger root, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, green tea extract, magnesium, melatonin, potassium, cod liver oil, and flax seed oil. Many of these substances are ones often associated with antiaging because of their antioxidant and other properties.

Scientists will continue to explore and develop new supplements to hopefully offset aging and prolong lifespan. Dr. Rollo noted that “For ageing humans maintaining zestful living into later years may provide greater social and economic benefits than simply extending years of likely decrepitude.” The McMaster team’s results offer “great promise for extending the quality of life or ‘health span’ of humans.”

McMaster University news release, Feb. 11, 2010