Researchers making huge strides in anti-aging studies

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Researchers making huge strides in anti-aging studies
Researchers making huge strides in anti-aging studies

Everyone yearns to live a long and healthy life and there are numerous methods people across the world strive to achieve this.

There are a plethora of anti-aging products on the market, while researchers are continually looking for ways to find the ‘perfect solution’ to stave off the aging process.

Poorer physical and cognitive health are amongst the common indicators of aging, but studies have shown that it is possible to delay or even reverse this.

Many researchers believe the effects of aging are due to numerous genetic and environmental factors, and these can vary between individual people.

Genetics certainly play a part, but there is strong evidence that lifespan is largely influenced by factors such as diet, exercise, location and exposure to toxins and compounds. Read on as we look at some of the ways the aging process can be tackled.

Increasing human telomeres

Researchers in the US discovered a way to increase the length of human telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are linked to aging and disease.

The group, based at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, used a modified form of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that consisted of the coding sequence for TERT – the active component of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomere health – to extend their length.

Helen Blau, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at the university, said: “We have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life.

“This greatly increases the number of cells available for studies such as drug testing or disease modelling. This new approach paves the way toward preventing or treating diseases of aging.

“There are also highly debilitating genetic diseases associated with telomere shortening that could benefit from such a potential treatment.”

The group became interested in telomeres when previous studies showed that the muscle stem cells of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy had much shorter telomeres than those without the disease.

Blau says they are working hard to understand more about the differences among cell types and how these can be overcome to allow this approach to be more universally useful.

“One day it may be possible to target muscle stem cells in a patient with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, for example, to extend their telomeres,” she said.

“There are also implications for treating conditions of aging, such as diabetes and heart disease. This has really opened the doors to consider all types of potential uses of this therapy.”

Using CBD oil

Cannabidiol (CBD oil) has already created a huge buzz in the health industry and it could be set to make a huge splash as an anti-aging treatment due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Unlike other cannabinoids – such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – CBD does not produce a psychoactive effect as it doesn’t affect the same receptors as THC.

People have used CBD for many centuries to treat various types of pain, but medical research has only recently begun to latch on to its potential benefits.

Using CBD oil for inflammation reduction is one of the product’s most popular uses and studies have found that it can also have a positive impact for people who suffer the symptoms of arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Other research has shown that using CBD can reduce the risk of seizures, treat anxiety and depression and combat the pain associated with cancer treatments.

CBD has also been found to be a powerful moisturiser, helping to combat the dry skin that causes the early appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Research has shown that endocannabinoids are responsible for oil production in the sebaceous glands and that dry skin may be caused by a shortage of endocannabinoids.

However, CBD improves the production of natural skin oils, making the skin supple and preventing the appearance of fine lines.

CBD also increases the production of collagen, making the skin and muscles firmer and connective tissue and bones stronger. It can improve the appearance of scars, wrinkles and skin discolouration.

By consistently applying products containing CBD, people can create a youthful appearance and thus delay the signs of aging.

Young blood the key to longer life

Researchers previously found that blood plasma from young people improved the memory, cognition and physical activity in old mice.

Several studies have also found that injecting plasma from young mice into old mice can help rejuvenate the brain and other organs, including the liver, heart and muscle.

Recent research, led by the University of Washington, found that one compound which is abundant in the blood of young mice, an enzyme known as eNampt, extended lifespan by 16 percent when transferred to older rodents.

The research focused on a compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which has become the focus of anti-aging studies over the past few years.

“We have found a totally new pathway towards healthy aging,” Dr Shin-ichiro Imai, a senior author of the study, told the journal Cell.

“That we can take eNampt from the blood of young mice and give it to older mice and see that the older mice show marked improvements in health – including increased physical activity and better sleep – is remarkable.”

Animals receiving the treatment produced insulin more effectively, performed better in memory tests, had healthier eyes, spent longer on their wheel and grew ‘thicker, shinier fur’.

While eNampt’s effects haven’t been studied in people, human trials have commenced for another chemical which performs a similar role and helps rejuvenate the construction of new blood vessels.

“We think the body has so many redundant systems to maintain proper NAD levels because it is so important,” Dr Imai added.

“Our work and others’ suggest it governs how long we live and how healthy we remain as we age. Since we know that NAD inevitably declines with age, whether in worms, fruit flies, mice or people, many researchers are interested in finding anti-aging interventions that might maintain NAD levels as we get older.”

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