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Substance can extend life, postpone onset of ageing processes, study finds

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor   |   17 October 2016   |   3:24 am
Ageing gracefully... PHOTO CREDIT:

Ageing gracefully… PHOTO CREDIT:

The coenzyme NAD+ plays main role in ageing processes. In mice and roundworm adding the substance can both extend life and postpone the onset of aging processes. New research conducted at the Center for Healthy Aging and the American National Institute of Health shows that this new knowledge will eventually be able to help patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

As we live longer and longer, a lot of people are occupied with their state of health and, not least, quality of life in old age. Therefore, researchers all over the world are trying to understand aging mechanisms, as this knowledge may eventually help to postpone physical aging and extend life. None of the existing explanations of physical ageing are able to explain all the biological aspects of human ageing.

Previous research has shown that a main process in aging is the capacity of the cells to keep our genes, our Deoxy RiboNucleic Acid (DNA)/genetic material, more or less intact. However, changes in the cells’ power stations, the mitochondria, also affect aging processes. An international team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Ageing at the University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health in the United States has shown that the substance NAD+ bridges the gap between two main aging theories — repairs to the DNA and poor functioning mitochondria. The results have just been published in the leading journal Cell Metabolism.

“Our new study shows an age-dependent decrease in the level of NAD+, and this decrease is far greater for organisms with early aging and a lack of DNA repairs. We were surprised to see that adding NAD+ postponed both the aging processes of the cells and extended life in worms and in a mouse model,” says Professor Vilhelm Bohr from the Center for Healthy Aging and the National Institute of Health.

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