In good news for hedonists, scientists have discovered a compound present in both dark chocolate and red wine may help you look younger by rejuvenating cells. Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Brighton researching aging have made a breakthrough in relation to inactive senescent cells. Part of the work was to find ways to for these cells to both look and act younger.
In a paper titled, Small molecule modulation of splicing factor expression is associated with rescue from cellular senescence, the researchers outline how they have taken the first steps that could lead to new ways of extending youthful health. In part of the research, the compound called resveratrol analogues was applied to cells in culture where it was discovered that splicing factors that turn off as we age turned back on in the compounds soaked cells.
A natural compound found in delicious food
The compound is naturally occurring in red wine, dark chocolate, red grapes, and blueberries. Within hours of putting the cells in with the compound, they had started to divide and had longer telomeres which are the caps of chromosomes which shorten as we age.
This shortening is one of the reasons we become more susceptible to disease as we age, as the cells are alike but have a loss of function to grow or perform. The project is part of a big movement of research related to aging.
Research pushes for good health, not long life
The scientists say that the research isn’t necessarily about extending life spans but rather about good health for longer. “This is a first step in trying to make people live normal life spans, but with health for their entire life," said Dr. Eva Latorre, Research Associate at the University of Exeter.
The researchers who carried out the experiments say they were surprised by the extent and rapidity of the changes in the cells. “When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn’t believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic,” Latorre said.
“I repeated the experiments several times and in each case, the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research.” “Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells,” she continued.