It cannot be said often enough: the most important element in preventing premature ageing is a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Avoid exposing your skin to the sun for too long or without protection, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, protect yourself from pollution, keep your interior spaces well-ventilated, limit your intake of fatty, salty and sugary foods, eat a healthy, balanced diet, etc.: all these measures are recognised and regularly advocated by health organisations and the media (1).
However, in order to ‘go the extra mile’ in fighting the ageing process, we’re going to explore all the various components of ageing and discover which are the supplements and substances scientists are studying for their anti-ageing benefits. We will then share with you the particular supplement we believe to be especially beneficial.
Telomeres are small sections of DNA found at the end of chromosomes. They are directly involved in the ageing process through their role in cell death.
Each time a cell divides in order to replace a senescent cell, the act of replicating this end section of DNA reduces its length: this is called telomere shortening (2).
Once a cell has divided a certain number of times, the telomere becomes so short that the cell can no longer divide. Indeed scientists have been able to predict short-term mortality in a population of wild Seychelles reed warblers by analysing the length of their telomeres (3).
However, an enzyme called telomerase is able to slow down and even reverse this telomere-shortening. Researchers are therefore investigating the potential of certain molecules to activate telomerase and so combat cell ageing (4).
Such substances include extract of purslane and a patented palm fruit extract (both of which feature in the supplement Telomeres Maintenance Formula) as well as cycloastragenol, a saponin obtained from astragalus root (which can be found in the high-quality supplement CycloAstragenol Maximum Strength 98%) (5).
Stem cells are another avenue being explored for their potential to increase human life expectancy and ‘healthspan’.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells which are able to self-renew, differentiate into any type of cell, and proliferate. They are already being used to regenerate and recreate damaged tissue, particularly skin tissue: this is called cell therapy (6).
On this basis, scientists are looking at how to stimulate and increase the quality of stem cells in the bone marrow of healthy individuals, using nutrients and plant extracts.
The natural extracts most commonly-studied in this context are extract of Polygonum multiflorum or flowery knotweed, fucoidan, a polysaccharide extracted from a type of Japanese algae, beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, another polysaccharide, and L-carnosine, a combination of two amino acids, believed to support the replicative capacity of stem cells (which is why all these molecules feature in the synergistic formulation Stem Cells Activator) (7).
The chemical process glycation is one that’s particularly valued by cooks and pastry chefs: it’s the famous Maillard reaction, which occurs when a sugar binds to a protein, producing caramel, browning of meat, etc.
In the body, however, glycation generates advanced glycation end-products or AGEs, which are very harmful to health and a factor in accelerated tissue-ageing, especially when they affect DNA and collagen (8).
A number of studies are therefore investigating combinations of molecules that can help reduce or regulate blood sugar levels as well as inhibit glycation.
Here, it’s carnosine, benfotiamineand aminoguanidine which offer the greatest promise (see the supplement Anti-Glycation Formula).
While our bodies are subjected to constant oxidative stress from birth, things get worse with age.
Over the years, cell senescence and hormonal imbalances lead to increased free radical production by the body. Add to that the fact that the antioxidant intake of many older people is low, and the result is a positive feedback loop (or vicious circle) which exacerbates the oxidative stress, and so on.
Ultimately, therefore, ageing, senescence and finally cell death are the result of depletion of the resources which maintain balance or cellular homeostasis.
That’s why scientists are also studying molecules likely to support the body in fighting free radicals: in theory, antioxidants should constitute remedies with anti-ageing benefits.
Among the molecules under investigation are L-ergothioneine. This amino acid, isolated in 1909 from rye ergot, is a parasitic fungus. Once in the body, its action is concentrated in those organs that suffer the greatest oxidative stress (9).
Telomere shortening, oxidative stress, exposure to UV rays and pollutants, smoking, alcohol, etc.: our ADN is being constantly compromised throughout life, which damages cells and promotes an inflammatory cellular environment, which itself leads to a number of age-related health problems. (10).
So it seems reasonable to assume that one of the ways of fighting ageing would be to promote normal DNA synthesis while supporting the immune system and cell division. And that’s precisely what some researchers are trying to achieve by creating synergistic formulations combining zinc pidolate, which supports DNA synthesis, with arabinogalactans, vitamin B12, etc.
You can find all these nutrients in our synergistic supplement DNA Repair.
As you can see, ageing is dependent on a number of factors each of which needs to be actively addressed: there is no single substance that can work on such a wide variety of parameters.
However, advances in research suggest we should be seriously focusing on a key element of the ageing process: the development and expansion of senescent cells. Remember these are ‘zombie cells’ which have ceased to function but have not been properly eliminated. They remain in the body, creating all sorts of problems: they secrete inflammatory molecules and free radicals, they accumulate in tissues and stop them functioning properly ... In short, they significantly accelerate ageing.
For some years, scientists have been studying the ability of two natural flavonols, fisetin and quercetin, to encourage the elimination of senescent cells (11-13). These compounds are known as senolytics (in other words, they ‘eliminate senescent cells’).
So one of the most effective anti-ageing supplements (but still affordable) would be one with a high content of natural senolytics, such as Senolytic Complex. This is rich in fisetin and quercetin phytosome (20 times more absorbable than standard quercetin), as well as NMN, extract of decaffeinated black tea, vitamin C, bromelain … This latest-generation anti-ageing supplement is also vegan, gluten-free and contains no nano-particles.