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American researchers find way to slow aging

Natural product found to reduce the level of damaged cells in the body, caused by aging

Kampala, Uganda | HEALTH REPORTER | New research has demonstrated the ability to slow aging and reduce the amount of damaged cells in the body, according to a recent published paper.

Aging experts from the University of Minnesota, USA, The Scripps Research Institute, and Mayo Clinic, discovered that a natural compound found in many fruits and vegetables showed the ability to improve health and increase the lifespan of mice. They used foods like apples, cucumbers and strawberries.

The researchers showed that treatment of aged mice with the natural product; Fisetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, has significant positive effects on health and lifespan.

By giving mice doses of fisetin, a natural product in many fruits and vegetables, researchers found improved tissue function, a decrease in age-related diseases and lifespan extension, said Laura Niedernhofer, director of the University’s Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism.

“I think it is hard to prove that you are slowing aging,” Niedernhofer said. “But we definitely slowed an aging process.”

The Mayo Clinic will soon begin human clinical trials.

Previous research had showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life.

The earlier research was published in `Nature Medicine’ and involved University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia. It showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life. As people age, they accumulate damaged cells. When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence. The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells.

Healthy and normal cells continuously grow, die and replicate. Cell senescence is a process in which cells lose function, including the ability to divide and replicate, but are still resistant to death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A younger person’s immune system is healthy and is able to clear the damaged cells. But as people age, they aren’t cleared as effectively. Thus they begin to accumulate, cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade the tissue.

Robbins and fellow researchers found the natural product, called Fisetin, which reduces the level of these damaged cells in the body. They found this by treating mice towards the end of life with this compound and see improvement in health and lifespan. Their paper titled, `Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan’, was published recently in EBioMedicine.

“These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life,” said Robbins. “But there are still many questions to address, including the right dosage, for example.”

Of the 10 compounds tested in the research, fisetin was found to be the most potent senolytic, meaning it could selectively kill those senescent cells or reverse the age-related diseases and decreased physical functions that they cause.

“Administration of fisetin to wild-type mice late in life restored tissue homeostasis, reduced age-related pathology and extended median and maximum lifespan,” according to the research.

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