Author: Terra Marquette
ST. LOUIS — Aging may not be for the faint of heart, but new research on mice suggests a protein supplement may one day be available for humans that could delay aging by improving health and adding years to our lives.
It’s widely thought among those searching for the scientific equivalent of the “fountain of youth” that undergoing transfusions with blood from younger individuals may be the key to slowing down the aging process, and keeping our bodies and brains in tip-top shape. Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine wanted to know how older mice would react to a specific protein found in abundance in the blood of younger mice. The results suggest that giving this blood enzyme supplement to older mice may slow down the effects of aging and extend lifespans of older mice by around 16 percent.
Researchers set their attention to the protein eNAMPT, which is central to the body’s ability to produce the “fuel” — known as NAD — that prevents aging. The hypothalamus is akin to the “control center for aging,” but needs eNAMPT to work efficiently, scientists say. When we have lower levels of the powerful protein in the blood, the hypothalamus loses steam as less NAD is created, and one’s life span decreases.
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