The Science of Aging Gracefully:  Geroprotector Compounds

The Science of Aging Gracefully: Geroprotector Compounds

As founders of Sustainable Nutrition, we are well into our golden years. Anything that promises to extend our lifespan receives our full attention.

Geroprotectors are compounds that aim to affect the root cause of aging and age-related disease and in turn prolong life. There are many candidate compounds being researched by the healthcare community which “correct” for deficiencies by adding (supplementation) or blocking (inhibitors) aging related compounds. 

We just reviewed a study(by Dr. Rajagopal Viswanath Sekhar, associate professor of medicine-endocrinology at Baylor College of Medicine. (1) 

Dr. Rajagopal states “there are two fundamental defects that contribute to aging. The first is a dysfunction of our bodies’ mitochondria.. The second is an increase in oxidative stress.

Amen.

He observed that glutathione, which participates in several metabolic pathways including tissue building & repair, is depleted as we age.  Check.

He then concludes by promoting a supplement that “restores glutathione levels”  in mice which in turn extended their life.

Nice but…

Don't bring a knife to a gunfight. 

Glutathione is made naturally in the liver. It is hydrophilic meaning it dissolves in water/blood and is easily broken down.  As an antioxidant,  it’s oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC score ) is 68K,  pretty decent.  

The nutraceutical industry has jumped on the glutathione bandwagon promoting supplements containing glutathione or the chemical precursors needed to boost glutathione production in the liver.  One approach to improve bioactivity was to inject glutathione directly into the bloodstream. That attempt attracted a warning by the FDA that glutathione supplements may cause adverse side effects including vomiting, difficulty breathing and low blood pressure.

Nature’s most powerful mitochondria targeted anti-oxidant (MTA) is di-esterified 3S, 3’S astaxanthin. That compound has an ORAC score of 2.8M, 41X more potent than glutathione.  The presence of astaxanthin in the cell and mitochondria plasma membrane protects other anti-oxidants including glutathione from being oxidized by reactive oxygen species (ROS),  freeing them up to do what they were designed to do. No surprise that astaxanthin has been shown to increase glutathione concentrations. (2) 

Sorrenti et. al. (3) observed astaxanthin’s ability to modulate transcription factors and genes directly linked to longevity. Transcription factors are proteins that turn on and off genes.  Sorrenti observed that astaxanthin modules transcription factors including the gene FOX03.  "Fox03 is one of only two genes shown to robustly effect longevity… and slow down brain aging.”

Time to bring in the guns.  

Get astaxanthin in your diet, either by eating astaxanthin rich “wild” animals,  their eggs or fish (wild salmon is an excellent source) or shellfish. 

Or simply take Adjuvia Astaxanthin every day.

[1] Rajagopal V Sekhar, GlyNAC Supplementation Improves Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Inflammation, Aging Hallmarks, Metabolic Defects, Muscle Strength, Cognitive Decline, and Body Composition: Implications for Healthy Aging, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 151, Issue 12, December 2021, Pages 3606–3616, doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab309.

[2] Dose J, Matsugo S, Yokokawa H, Koshida Y, Okazaki S, Seidel U, Eggersdorfer M, Rimbach G, Esatbeyoglu T. Free Radical Scavenging and Cellular Antioxidant Properties of Astaxanthin. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Jan 14;17(1):103. doi: 10.3390/ijms17010103. 

[3] Sorrenti V, Davinelli S, Scapagnini G, Willcox BJ, Allsopp RC, Willcox DC. Astaxanthin as a Putative Geroprotector: Molecular Basis and Focus on Brain Aging. Mar Drugs. 2020 Jul 5;18(7):351. doi: 10.3390/md18070351.