“These findings are not just significant, they’re remarkable,” enthused David Rollo, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
In 2013, he and his research team demonstrated that a specially formulated “anti-aging dietary supplement” preserved learning ability, increased brain size and improved brain energy in older mice.
In 2016 they went a step further. This time, lead author Jennifer Lemon said “the findings are dramatic.”
The research group believe the human health potential of this supplement is enormous.
Curbs 5 Mechanisms of Aging
Back in 2000, the McMaster team started work on developing a nutritional formula to create the ultimate fountain of youth. It contains 30 ingredients, most of which you can find in health stores, such as vitamins, minerals, fats and herbs.
The full list is in the second reference at the end of this article. (It’s also in the first reference if you look hard enough.) None of the ingredients is unusual – they’re all well-known — but I’d venture to say few people are taking all 30 of them.
And no doubt it’s the sheer variety, plus possible synergies among them – not the dose of any single ingredient — that produces the clinical results.
The formula was designed to offset five different mechanisms associated with the aging process.
- Maintain integrity and fluidity of cell membranes
- Sustain the mitochondria – the energy factory of the cell
- Enhance insulin sensitivity
- Reduce free radicals
- Dampen inflammation
By focusing on these areas, the formulators hoped to alleviate cognitive decline, slow physical deterioration and extend longevity.
The 2016 study is the eighth of the series. Positive findings came out of each, but the latest is the most exciting to date.
Reverses Cognitive Decline
This study used specially bred mice that age rapidly and experience dramatic declines in motor and cognitive function. Some were given the supplement in liquid form on a piece of bagel, while a control group of fast-aging mice received no supplements.
Dosage was based on common recommendations for humans, adjusted for the size of these little animals and their metabolic rate. A control group of healthy mice was also included in the study.
A wide range of tests, scans and brain slide studies were carried out.
At 12 months, (equivalent to about 60 in human years) the untreated mice lost over half the cells in various brain regions, similar to what occurs in humans suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. The untreated mice also experienced over one-third reduction in brain mass, reduced blood flow and metabolism, and considerable age-related cognitive impairment.
The story was entirely different in the group taking the supplement:
- density of brain cells and brain size were sustained at youthful levels
- cognitive decline was reversed and restored
- blood flow to the brain doubled compared to unsupplemented mice
- there were significant improvements in motor co-ordination
- anxiety was reduced
- metabolic activity was similar to the control mice
- higher numbers of photoreceptors were seen in the eyes, deterioration in clarity of vision was halted, thickness of the retinal outer nuclear layer increased by 26% and outer segment by 29%
- sense of smell improved
The researchers wrote: “To our knowledge, this is the first dietary supplement to abolish such severe loss of brain cells and maintain cognitive function with such efficacy.”
Researchers are Shocked by the Results
Commenting on the results, Dr. Lemon said she was “shocked, along with everyone else, [that nutritional supplements] considered by most practitioners in the medical field to be either ineffective or benign can actually have such a profound effect on function.”
She went on to say that efforts to slow down aging usually focus on one factor, but she and her fellow researchers have discovered that “if you simultaneously protect several of the key processes that contribute to that deterioration, you can significantly slow aging and offset both physical and mental dysfunction.”
I’m tempted to say “duh,” but this simple truth escapes most of the medical establishment, across a wide range of diseases. And there are plenty of laypeople who continue to look for a silver bullet instead of treating multiple factors.
Of course, the big question is whether the same results will be achieved in people. Dr. Lemon is optimistic because the supplement works on the same fundamental mechanisms common to all species.
Human trials should begin within the next two years.
I take most of the 30 ingredients myself. The only two I probably wouldn’t take are aceytlsalicylic acid (aspirin) and green tea extract. Contrary to what some doctors say, I don’t think a daily dose of aspirin is a good idea. Instead, consider natural anti-inflammatories like curcumin.
Green tea is a wonderful supplement if you actually drink it as a tea. Unfortunately, when taken in concentrated form in a tablet or capsule it has shown some toxicity.