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Eating Broccoli Might be the Key to Staying Young

Oct 31, 2016 03:45 AM EDT
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A new study from the Washington University's School of Medicine revealed that a certain compound found in broccoli could help delay the telltale signs of aging.

The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, showed that supplementing mice with the natural compound nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) could reduce typical signs of aging. These include loss of insulin sensitivity, gradual weight gain and decline in physical activity.

"We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in aging mice," said Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, a professor of developmental biology and of medicine, in a press release. "This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice. Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age."

For the study, the researchers analyzed three groups of healthy male mice fed with regular mouse chow diets and different doses of NMN. The first group of male mice was given a high dose of NMN-supplemented water, while the second group received low dose of NMN. The third group served as control and was not given NMN-supplemented water.

The researchers conducted a follow-up and compared multiple aspects of physiology between the groups, first at five months of age and then every three months until they reached 17 months of age. The researchers observed a variety of beneficial effects of the NMN-supplementation, including in immune function, skeletal muscle, body weight, physical activity levels, bone density, eye function and liver function.

However, the beneficial effects of NMN were only observed in older mice. The researchers noted that young mice were not affected by the NMN supplementation because their body is still making plenty NMN. On the other hand, increase in inflammation brought by aging reduced the ability of the body to make its own NMN, explaining why the NMN-supplementation appear to benefit only older mice.

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