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The supplement that reduces your body’s ageing processes

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Nobody wants to get old, or suffer the chronic problems of ageing-but it may not be inevitable if the benefits of one nutritional supplement are to be believed, scientists have said this week.

They have discovered that the supplement alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) seems to reverse the worst effects of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening the arteries) and diabetes.

It works by stimulating the body to produce more telomerase, the enzyme that encourages the growth of telomeres, the protective caps at the end of chromosomes. Telomere-shortening is a sign of bodily ageing and also contributes to the ageing process.

ALA is an antioxidant naturally produced by the body that converts glucose into energy. It’s also found in red meat-and especially in brewer’s yeast-but it can also be taken as a supplement, an option that is especially important for vegetarians.

Right now, the theory is based on animal studies, say scientists at Emory University School of Medicine, and they aren’t sure that similar results would be seen in humans because of problems with ALA’s stability and bio-availability.

(Source: Cell FReports, 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.047)

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Article Topics: cell, death, meat, medicine, Senescence
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