Medicine is always on the look-out for the 'magic bullet'. This week, they may have found it-but in nutritional medicine. An antioxidant, MitoQ, reverses ageing in our arteries, and makes them 'young' again, so reducing the risk of heart disease as we get older.
The antioxidant has been tested only on laboratory mice at the moment, but the results are very compelling. Mice with a human age of between 70 and 80 drank the antioxidant for four weeks, and by the end their arteries were functioning as well as the arteries of mice with an equivalent human age of 25 to 35 years.
MitoQ targets the mitochondria cells that convert energy, and especially those in the endothelium, a thin layer of cells that line the blood vessels. They help the vessels dilate, but as we get older, they become less effective, and so increase the risk for heart disease.
MitoQ is a manufactured antioxidant that adds a molecule to ubiquinone, or coenzyme Q10, which targets the mitochondria.
Standard antioxidants, such as vitamin C, don't target mitochondria or the endothelium, the researchers say.
(Source: Journal of Physiology, 2014; doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.268680)