Juvenon Health Journal – September 2015, No. 6
New Study Proves Alpha Lipoic Acid May Slow Down Aging
Supplementation also helps reduce the effects of atherosclerosis
In the never-ending search for a silver bullet to slow down the march of time and treat the chronic diseases of aging, comes exciting news from Emory University School of Medicine, published last month in Cell Reports.
Scientists have found that the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can stimulate telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres. Chances are you’ve heard the term telomeres in relationship to aging. It is known that in human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the end of chromosomes, are a sign of aging. What’s more, the study also found that ALA could help in treating hardening of the arteries, also know as at atherosclerosis.
Researchers found that in mice, ALA stimulated the cells to make PGC1-alpha, which controls how exercise affects skeletal muscles. More importantly, they discovered something new: PGC1-alpha can regulate telomerase (and in turn lengthen them) and reduce cellular stress in mice.
“The effects of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes on blood vessels can be traced back to telomere shortening,” says senior author Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “This means that treatments that can restore healthy telomeres have great potential.”
Fellow author Shiqin Xiong, PhD, simplified the findings further. “What’s new here is that we show that PGC1-alpha is regulating telomerase, and that has real beneficial effects on cellular stress in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.”
The Testing Model
Researchers gave mice an ALA supplement, which is known for its antioxidant properties and its role in mitochondrial function. These mice lacked a cholesterol-processing gene and were fed a high-fat diet. In this model, the study states, mice also lacking PGC1-alpha had more advanced plaques in their vessels. Basically, the mice’s blood vessels were in poor condition; their telomeres were short and telomerase was not active. The researchers found that this led to oxidative stress and damage to their DNA. However, introducing PGC1-1 changed that.
“As a way to boost PGC1-alpha in cells more conveniently,” an Emory Health Sciences article discussed, “Xiong and Alexander turned to alpha lipoic acid or ALA. ALA is a sulfur-containing fatty acid used to treat diabetic neuropathy in Germany, and has previously been shown to combat atherosclerosis in animal models.”
The researchers found that even one day of ALA treatment could stimulate PGC1-alpha and telomerase in vascular smooth muscle cells. Emory Health Sciences reports that the scientists are now investigating the effects of ALA on other tissues in mice. Importantly, they have not observed increased cancer in ALA-treated mice, but plan to do a further investigation.
Alpha lipoic acid is an essential nutrient that functions as a cofactor in the catalytic conversion of food-derived metabolites to energy. While cells of our body synthesize lipoic acid, we also obtain it from the foods we eat. Evidence indicates we require both sources to supply healthy quantities to our cells. As we age, however, this amount may be insufficient for maximum cellular health, since absorption from foods may decline and cellular synthesis may be less efficient. This is where a quality ALA supplement, such as Juvenon, can be an essential addition to your daily regime.
In the coming months, the Juvenon Health Journal will continue to feature research that will help you stay informed and healthy. By offering effective, all-natural supplements and health news you can use, Juvenon provides an essential arsenal for combating aging enemies.