Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lipoic Acid Explored As Anti-aging Compound

Date:
May 18, 2007
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
Researchers said they have identified the mechanism of action of lipoic acid, a remarkable compound that in animal experiments appears to slow down the process of aging, improve blood flow, enhance immune function and perform many other functions.

Researchers announced they have identified the mechanism of action of lipoic acid, a remarkable compound that in animal experiments appears to slow down the process of aging, improve blood flow, enhance immune function and perform many other functions.

Related Articles


The findings, discussed at the "Diet and Optimum Health" conference sponsored by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, shed light on how this micronutrient might perform such a wide range of beneficial functions.

"The evidence suggests that lipoic acid is actually a low-level stressor that turns on the basic cellular defenses of the body, including some of those that naturally decline with age," said Tory Hagen, an LPI researcher and associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at OSU. "In particular, it tends to restore levels of glutathione, a protective antioxidant and detoxification compound, to those of a young animal. It also acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent, which is relevant to many degenerative diseases."

Researchers at LPI are studying vitamins, dietary approaches and micronutrients that may be implicated in the aging or degenerative disease process, and say that lipoic acid appears to be one of those with the most compelling promise. It's normally found at low levels in green leafy vegetables, but can also be taken as a supplement.

According to Hagen, research on the natural processes of aging, and steps that could slow it or improve health until near the end of life, are of growing importance.

"We're coming into the middle of an aging epidemic in the country," he said. "In a short time more than 70 million Americans will be over 65. This is partly because of the Baby Boom, but also people are living longer, being saved with antibiotics and other medical treatments. In any case, it will be an unprecedented number of elderly people in this nation."

The goal of LPI research, Hagen said, is to address issues of "healthspan," not just lifespan -- meaning the ability to live a long life with comparatively good health and vigor, free of degenerative disease, until very near death. The best mechanisms to accomplish that, scientists say, have everything to do with diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle habits and micronutrient intake.

At the moment, Hagen said, that's not the way things appear to be headed -- diabetes is skyrocketing, about 50 percent of people over 65 have high blood pressure, heart disease often leads to permanent disability, and almost half of the elderly people in America have malnutrition that is easily preventable.

No single intervention can address all of these issues, Hagen said, but one that scientists keep coming back to is lipoic acid.

"Our studies have shown that mice supplemented with lipoic acid have a cognitive ability, behavior, and genetic expression of almost 100 detoxification and antioxidant genes that are comparable to that of young animals," Hagen said. "They aren't just living longer, they are living better -- and that's the goal we're after."

What the OSU researchers now believe is that the role of lipoic acid is not so much a direct one to benefit cells, but rather an indirect aid that "kick starts" declining function in cells and helps them recover the functions that came more easily and naturally in young animals.

In various effects, lipoic acid appears to help restore a cellular "signaling" process that tends to break down in older blood vessels. It reduces mitochondrial decay in cells, which is closely linked to the symptoms of aging. With age, glutathione levels naturally decline, making older animals more susceptible to both free radicals and other environmental toxins -- but lipoic acid can restore glutathione function to near normal. And the expression and function of other genes seems to come back to life.

"We never really expected such a surprising range of benefits from one compound," Hagen said. "This is really unprecedented, and we're pretty excited about it."

Many other presentations have been made at this conference on the role of diet, lifestyle and micronutrients in health and degenerative disease, including cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Lipoic Acid Explored As Anti-aging Compound." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517130823.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2007, May 18). Lipoic Acid Explored As Anti-aging Compound. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517130823.htm
Oregon State University. "Lipoic Acid Explored As Anti-aging Compound." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517130823.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins