We all know the everyday signs of aging, but researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what is happening on a molecular level. Scientists hope that when the process is understood, it can be slowed down to improve the quality of life for older humans.
A new paper, published in Nature Metabolism, provides a chemical that just might be able to slow the aging process. The researchers began by screening 46 plants for substances that carried anti-aging capabilities. From these, they hit the jackpot and found procyanidin C1 (PCC1), a chemical actually found in grape seed extract.
Experiments looking at PCC1 activity saw a reduction in the number of senescent cells in the human prostate. These are cells associated with the aging process and diseases related to it. Low doses of PCC1 reduced inflammation in this region, with higher doses killing these old cells outright while preserving healthy gut cells.
Scientists working on this project wanted to test the anti-aging compounds further, next recruiting elderly mice to help with their hypothesis. The results were incredible, with the PCC1-treated mice, on average, increasing their overall lifespan by nine percent and their remaining life span by 60 percent. Further therapeutic properties were found in these experiments, increasing fitness of younger specimens and also reducing tumor size in cancerous mice.
Although PCC1 is in an early phase of experimentation, these results make it a strong and interesting candidate for the future of aging treatment. What is also really positive is that the compound has no negative effect on healthy cells. However, more tests need to be run in clinical trials to gain the full picture of effectiveness.
Source study: Nature Metabolism – The flavonoid procyanidin C1 has senotherapeutic activity and increases lifespan in mice