This Japanese plant can slow down aging

This Japanese plant can slow down aging

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Does a plant allow slow aging?

A Japanese plant traditionally eaten by samurai warriors could hold the secret of anti-aging. The so-called Ashitaba plant is used to support wound healing and prevent infections. Doctors found that a unique natural compound in the plant helps protect cells and delay aging in different species and in human cells.

In their current study, scientists from the University of Graz in Austria found that the Ashitaba plant contains a natural compound that can protect cells and delay aging. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature Communications".

Plant removes unwanted cells from the body

The compound in the Angelica Keiskei Koidzumi plant works by promoting a cleaning and recycling process in the cells and removing unwanted cells that can cause disease when they accumulate. This is an important step in the direction of effective anti-aging therapies. The Ashitaba plant has long been touted in traditional medicine for prolonging healthy life, now the current study has shown that natural compounds in the plant actually delay aging. The scientists identified a compound called 4,4′-dimethoxychalcon, also known as DMC. According to the scientists, DMC may be therapeutically applicable in the future.

Initial investigations were carried out on yeast cells

The research team first tested how the substance affected yeast cells, which are often used in experiments to supplement animal experiments. They found that the yeast cells could be protected from aging effects and that the substance works as well or even better than other cell-protecting compounds (such as resveratrol). The team then tested the effect of DMC on cells in both worms and fruit flies.

DMC extended the life expectancy of flies and worms

Remarkably, DMC treatment has extended the average lifespan of flies and worms by around 20 percent, the study authors explain. Further tests have shown that the compound helps protect the cells in the heart of mice through the so-called autophagy process, in which the body is cleaned of damaged cells and new cells are generated. This cleansing process is the key to maintaining good health as the body ages. If cells don't remove damaged parts quickly and efficiently, they can accumulate, which can lead to diseases such as cancer.

DMC slowed the aging process in human cells

The team tested the effects of DMC on different types of human cells and found that the substance slowed aging by preventing so-called senescence. The experiments indicate that the effects of DMC on humans are transferable, but scientists still have to wait for real clinical trials.

How did the researchers discover DMC?

The team of experts found the DMC compound based on a class of substances called flavonoids, which have been shown to have a number of positive effects, from anti-inflammatory properties to protection against brain degeneration and cancer. Doctors examined 180 compounds representing different subcategories of flavonoids and looked for candidates who might have the natural ability to counter age-related cell disintegration before encountering DMC. According to the researchers, DMC is not found in any other natural source, which makes the Ashitiba plant particularly interesting. (as)

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