Traditionally, aging has been viewed as an inevitable deterioration of various body functions over which we have no real control. However, a detailed picture has begun to emerge of highly intricate regulatory cell signalling pathways that may provide keys to managing the aging process.
Aging is commonly described as an accumulation of physical and physiological changes over time. Greying hair, hearing loss, muscle and mobility loss and increased risk of cardiovascular and neurological disorders are commonly associated with the aging process. However, these physical issues are only signs of a series of systematic processes that develop as we age.
Today it is widely known that the aging process begins in our cells, with our genetic material, DNA and the many complex signalling pathways that control everyday cellular processes such as mitochondrial efficiency, gene repair, protein cross-linking and free-radical production. Studies have found that by blocking or activating these pathways that regulate aging, the physical signs of aging can be altered or slowed down. This includes cardiovascular efficiency, muscle loss, cardiovascular disorders and neurodegeneration.
In recent years, interest has soared in identifying nutraceutical ingredients that can target these pathways and influence the aging process.
Some healthy aging ingredients have been shown to support healthy telomere length, an essential part of the cell’s DNA that affects the rate at which cells age. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of DNA strands that shorten and fray with cell division. Shorter telomeres are linked to many age-related health and appearance issues.
Other key ingredients have been shown to support mitochondrial function, maintain their delicate cellular structures and promote the creation of new mitochondria. Healthy mitochondria produce the energy that powers cells. As people age, the mitochondria begin to lose that function and decrease in number, which can affect brain and body performance.
Key nutraceuticals have a direct impact on the processes important to healthy aging that include telomere length, mitochondrial function, insulin and cortisol balance, healthy levels of free radical production, healthy cell membranes and a healthy balance of cross-linking and balanced cellular turnover.
Astragulus root extract supports and protects telomere length, helps maintain healthy heart function and supports immune function by contributing to the healthy production and activity of specialized white blood cells.1
Bitter melon fruit extract supports healthy cellular turnover, or apoptosis, and provides antioxidant support to protect DNA from the damaging free radicals that play a role in aging.2 It also helps maintain normal, healthy blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a free radical scavenger that can help manage the cascade of oxidative stress, which can accelerate the aging process.3 It also promotes healthy collagen and elastin content in the skin’s connective tissue.
Green tea leaf extract supports cell membrane integrity and helps reduce fat storage to support hormone sensitivity, the ability of the cell membrane to accept hormones.4 It also supports healthy cortisol function, healthy cholesterol levels and lipid profiles.
Turmeric root extract supports healthy cell division and the detoxification of aging cells to promote a healthy inflammatory response and support for brain function.5
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) reduces excessive oxidative stress, supports the creation of cellular energy by protecting the mitochondria and promotes healthy heart, brain and nervous system function.6
Quercetin bud powder promotes unique protective mechanisms for the hardworking heart muscle by promoting mitochondrial activity to maximize oxygen utilization and tissue repair.7 It also supports the healthy replacement of old, worn-out cells with healthy, new robust cells.
Pomegranate fruit extract is highly effective in the suppression of free radicals for a healthy inflammatory response.8 It also supports healthy cell replication and heart function, exercise tolerance and healthy prostate and breast tissue.
Resveratrol has the unique ability to mimic the effects of caloric restriction, which has been shown to promote longevity in a variety of organisms.9 It also promotes healthy insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial function, dopamine receptors and a healthy inflammatory response.9,10
Apigenin, a powerful plant flavonoid, supports brain cell protection and cognitive function. It also promotes production of superoxide dismatuse, the enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxidation in cells for a healthy inflammatory reaction.11
Pterostilbene, a compound from the same family as resveratrol, has been shown to work synergistically with resveratrol to support longevity genes and healthy prostate and breast tissue.12
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) protects and augments delicate mitochondrial structures to promote youthful cellular function with antioxidant support, healthy cell proliferation, mitochondrial defense and helps regulate caloric usage.13 PQQ prompts CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein), a protein that regulates DNA function and gene expression. CREB stimulates new mitochondrial growth and plays an important role in the formation of neural pathways and long-term memory.
Jack Grogan is chief science officer for Uckele Health & Nutrition (uckele.com). He is a recognized expert in hair mineral analysis, a valuable tool in determining the causes of nutritional imbalances or deficiencies. With considerable experience in the fields of biology, biochemistry and nutrition, he has been influential in the development of hundreds of proprietary nutritional formulas and programs.
- Boccardi V, Paolisso G. “Telomerase activation: A potential key modulator for human healthspan and longevity.” Ageing Research Reviews. 2014;15:1–5.
- Devasagayam JC et al. “Free Radicals and Antioxidants in Human Health.” Announcement: 4th International Symposium on Diabetes. January 2005.
- Murad H et al. “The effect of an oral supplement containing glucosamine, amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants on cutaneous aging: a preliminary study.” Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2001;12(1):47-51.
- Szelényi P et al. “Inhibition of microsomal cortisol production…A potential new target for treating obesity-related diseases.” BioFactors. 2013;39:534–541. DOI: 10.1002/biof.1095.
- Salvioli S et al. “Curcumin in Cell Death Processes: A Challenge for CAM of Age-Related Pathologies.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2007;4(2):181-90.
- Sohal R, Forster M. “Coenzyme Q, oxidative stress and aging.” Mitochondrion. 2007;7:S103–S111.
- Conquer JA et al. “Supplementation with Quercetin Markedly Increases Plasma Quercetin Concentration without Effect on Selected Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Healthy Subjects.” Journal of Nutrition. 1998;128(3):593-597.
- Johanningsmeier SD, Harris GK. “Pomegranate as a Functional Food and Nutraceutical Source.” Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. 2011;2:181-201.
- Timmers S et al. “Calorie Restriction-like Effects of 30 Days of Resveratrol Supplementation on Energy Metabolism and Metabolic Profile in Obese Humans.” Cell Metabolism Press. 2011;14(5):612-622.
- Sun A et al. “Resveratrol as a Therapeutic Agent for Neurodegenerative Diseases.” Molecular Neurobiology. 2010;41(2):375-383.
- Williams RJ , Spencer JP. “Flavonoids, cognition, and dementia: Actions, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic utility for Alzheimer disease.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2012;52(1):35–45.
- Lekli I, Ray D, Das D. “Longevity nutrients resveratrol, wines and grapes.” Genes & Nutrition. 2010;5(1):55–60.
- Chowanadisai W et al. “Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Stimulates Mitochondrial Biogenesis through cAMP Response Element-binding Protein Phosphorylation and Increased PGC-1α Expression.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2010;285:142-152.