Mice make like Methuselah when fed multivitamin mix

Mice fed a once-a-day multivitamin containing 30 common nutritional ingredients lived 11 per cent longer and showed no loss of daily movement compared to a greater than 50 per cent movement decline in the old, untreated mice.

"Something like an 80 year old creaking around is what you're expecting, what you get is a mouse running around like it's 30," said lead researcher David Rollo at McMaster University in Canada. "We put the supplement together and we tested it on the mice and guess what? The results were profound. The fact that everyone else gets mixed results with antioxidants? Sorry, but it works."

The researchers developed the formulation to target five key mechanisms of ageing: oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial function, insulin resistance and cell membrane integrity.

Accordingly, the constituents included mitochondrial ingredients such as carnitine and coenzyme Q10; antioxidants such as N-acetyl cysteine; vitamins A, C, E and selenium, blood-sugar regulators such as chromium picolinate and fish oils; and botanicals such as garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng and green tea. The dosages were derived from recommended human doses adjusted for body size and the 10-fold higher metabolic rate of mice. The mice consumed the supplement mix once a day.

Declining mitochondrial function, a biomarker of ageing implicated in free-radical generation, was 46 per cent of youthful levels in nontreated mice at 24 months old. In contrast, the supplemented mice exhibited a "remarkable" 56 per cent gain in mitochondrial activity.

"Remarkably, the dietary supplement elevated mitochondrial activity (energy) and reduced free-radical processes, thus ameliorating two key mechanisms linked to ageing and its dysregulation," wrote the researchers.

The results were published in the March issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

They are conducting further animal studies on grasshoppers to see which of the 30 ingredients are doing what. The preliminary test of giving them all of the ingredients has resulted in a doubling of their lifespan.

Move over, resveratrol (which was not included in the formulation).

The functional ingredients that were included in the blend, from highest to lowest quantity, were flax-seed oil, cod-liver oil, bioflavonoids, ginseng, ginger root extract, green-tea extract, vitamin C, vitamin E, N-acetyl cysteine, rutin, alpha-lipoic acid, carnitine, acetylsalicylic acid, coenzyme Q10, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, glutathione, beta-carotene, manganese, potassium, Ginkgo biloba, garlic, melatonin, folic acid, chromium picolinate, vitamin B12, selenium and vitamin D.

To watch a televised news report on the research, and to read the published study, go to http://www.functionalingredientsmag.com/go/mice.

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