It looks like while we were busy in finding a cure to human longevity in the outside world, the remedy actually lies within ourselves. According to research led by Georgia State University, you can actually delay your vascular aging process by the aid of an amazing molecule that is generated during fasting or calorie restricted periods.
What is vascular aging?
Vascular aging, or arterial stiffening in simple words, is a degenerative change that occurs with an increase in age. The arteries slowly lose their ability of elasticity due to the fraying of lamellar elastin elements present in the walls of arteries due to continued mechanical stress.
Other factors that also lead to the deprivation in the arterial elasticity include the changes related to the arterial collagen protein and also due to advanced glycation end products.
“As people become older, they are more susceptible to disease, like cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Ming-Hui Zou, senior author of the study, director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular Medicine. “Age is the most important so-called risk factor for human disease. How to actually delay aging is a major pathway to reducing the incident and severity of human disease.”
The remarkable anti-aging molecule: β-Hydroxybutyrate
Research scientists in this study traversed the connection between periods of fasting or eating less with the slowing down of aging. This area of human physiology has remained unknown or less explored till now.
The scientist found out the presence of a compound, β-Hydroxybutyrate, which has the capability to decelerate vascular aging phenomenon. This compound acts on the endothelial cells that line the interior of the blood and lymph vessels.
The compound can help in the prevention of cellular aging also called senescence.
Senescent cells lose their ability to completely multiply and divide. Scientists found that β-Hydroxybutyrate can actually stop these cells from becoming old by promoting cell division. Furthermore, this compound can also accelerate the activity of a stem cell factor called Oct4 by binding to a particular RNA protein.
The Octamer-binding transcriptional factor elevates an essential factor against DNA damage-induced cell aging that can keep the vessels healthy for a longer time.
According to researchers, Oct4 could act as a pharmaceutical target for minimizing or stopping aging, if it can make vascular system younger. This will lead to lesser age-related diseases which will ultimately lead to an increase in the longevity of lifespan of humans.
These recent findings by the Georgia State University are published in the journal Molecular Cell.