New research has found that fasting triggers a anti-aging molecule that can delay the aging of our arteries. The findings could help prevent age-related chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. The search for eternal youth has worried human imagination since ancient Greek times. In fact, a quick look at Greek mythology shows that youth was more appreciated than immortality, since some myths tell the story of how useless the latter is if it is not accompanied by the first. In this sense, modern medicine has recently been updated with ancient mythology. New scientific advances encourage us to hope that the myth of eternal youth will soon come true.
In a recent study, researchers were able to reverse the signs of aging such as hair loss and wrinkles in mice; and, perhaps more impressively, another team of researchers managed to rejuvenate the aging human cells. Now, a new study adds to the evidence that aging can be reversed. Scientists led by Dr. Ming-Hui Zou – director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State University in Atlanta – demonstrated that fasting, or restricting calorie intake, can produce a anti-aging molecule that delays aging vascular.
How a Ketone Molecule Keeps Young Cells?
Dr. Zou explains the motivation of this study, saying: « The most important part of aging is vascular aging. When people get older, the vessels that supply the different organs are the most sensitive and are most subject to damage from aging, so studying vascular aging is very important. Therefore, scientists set out to focus on vascular aging, changes that occur with senescence and ways to prevent them. Specifically, the researchers observed the relationship between caloric restriction and vascular aging. Dr. Zou used models of atherosclerosis in mice, studied his post-mortem aortas and performed a series of cell culture experiments. They also induced starvation in rodents and performed similar tests. They saw that, as expected, hungry mice produced the beta-hydroxybutyrate molecule.
“Surprisingly, however, this molecule also prevented vascular aging”.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a ketone, that is, a anti-aging molecule produced by the liver and used as an energy source when glucose is not available. The body produces ketones during fasting or starvation, in low carb diets and after prolonged exercise. Interestingly, the research also revealed that beta-hydroxybutyrate promotes the division and multiplication of the cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Cell division is a marker of cell youth. We found that beta-hydroxybutyrate can delay vascular aging. That actually provides a chemical link between caloric restriction and fasting and the anti-aging effect –Dr. Ming-Hui Zou.
This compound can delay vascular aging through endothelial cells,explains Dr. Zou, ” which line the inner surface of the blood and lymph vessels. It can prevent a type of cell aging called senescence, or cell aging.
A Drug Target to Stop Aging and Chronic Diseases:
The study also revealed that the compound triggers another chain reaction that keeps the DNA of these endothelial cells young and undamaged. More specifically, when beta-hydroxybutyrate binds to heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 ribonucleoprotein, the activity of a stem cell transcriptional factor called octamer binding transcription factor (Oct4) increases. In turn, Oct4 “increases Lamin B1, a key factor against senescence induced by DNA damage “, which keeps blood vessels young. This stem cell factor (Oct4), “says Dr. Zou, “could be a pharmaceutical or pharmacological target to delay or prevent aging. “Then, if the vascular system becomes younger, it is less likely to have cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer because all these diseases are related to age.”–Dr. Ming-Hui Zou.
We believe this is a very important discovery, and we are working to find a new chemical that can mimic the effect of the function of this ketone body, adds Dr. Zou. It is difficult to convince people not to eat for the next 24 hours to increase the concentration of this compound, and not everyone can do it, but we can find something that can mimic this effect and people can still eating would make life more enjoyable and help fight disease .