In a new study, researchers have discovered a new way to delay aging.
They found that a protein that is abundant in the blood of young individuals plays a vital role in keeping them healthy.
With age, levels of this protein decline, while health problems such as insulin resistance, weight gain, cognitive decline, and vision loss may increase.
Supplementing older ones with the protein obtained from younger ones may slow down this decline and extend the life spans of older ones.
The research was conducted by a team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
In the study, the team found the circulating protein is an enzyme called eNAMPT. It plays a key role in the process cells use to make energy.
With age, the body’s cells become less and less efficient at producing this fuel. This is true in worms, fruit flies, mice, and people.
The researchers found that supplementing eNAMPT in older mice with that of younger mice appears to be one way to boost fuel production and keeping aging at bay.
The older mice show marked improvements in health, including increased physical activity and better sleep.
These mice also had improved insulin functions, eye functions, and cognitive function in performance on memory tests, as well as increased running on a wheel.
The team believes they have found a totally new pathway toward healthy aging. They hope the findings can help develop new anti-aging interventions.
They have studied the effects of giving oral doses of a molecule called NMN, the chemical eNAMPT produces. Currently, NMN is being tested in human clinical studies.
The senior author of the study is Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, Ph.D., a professor of developmental biology.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
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