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Anti-aging supplements can retard old age
IANS, Jun 1, 2010, 12.00am IST
Anti-ageing supplements can retard old age (Getty Images)
Anti-aging supplements can retard old age, says a new study.
It appears that such so-called neutraceuticals should be taken before very old age for benefits such as improvement in physical function.
The findings from rat studies have implications for how dietary supplementation can be used effectively in humans.
"I think it is important for people to focus on good nutrition, but for those of advanced age who are running out of energy and not moving much, we're trying to find a supplement mixture that can help improve their quality of life," said Christian Leeuwenburgh.
Leeuwenburgh, is senior study author who heads the biology of ageing division at the University of Florida's (UF) Institute on Ageing.
Scientists do not fully understand all the processes that lead to loss of function as people age.
But more and more research points that as people age, oxidative damage piles up in individual cells such that the energy-generation system inside some cells stops working properly.
To address that problem, many anti-aging studies and supplements are geared toward reducing the effects of free radicals.
Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage and possibly some diseases.
These molecules are very unstable, therefore they look to bond with other molecules, destroying their vigour and perpetuating the detrimental process.
Researchers investigated the potential anti-ageing benefits of a commercially available mixture marketed for relieving chronic fatigue and protecting against muscle ageing.
The supplement contains a compound that aids muscle performance and ginseng, which also has been shown to have antioxidant properties.
The study gauged the effects of the mixture on physical performance as well as on two mechanisms that underlie the ageing process and many age-related disorders: dysfunction of the cells' energy producing powerhouses, known as mitochondria, and oxidative stress.
The researchers fed the supplement to middle-aged 21-month-old and late-middle-aged 29-month-old rats -- corresponding to 50 to 65-year-old and 65-to 80-year-old humans, respectively -- for six weeks, and measured how strongly their paws could grip.
Grip strength in rats is analogous to physical performance in humans, and deterioration in grip strength can provide useful information about muscle weakness or loss seen in older adults.
Grip strength improved 12 per cent in the middle-aged rats compared with controls, but no improvement was found in the older group.
These findings were published in PLoS ONE .