New way to slow down aging and lose weight

Harmful fat by-products must be detoxified to prolong life

Research has shown that it can slow aging by detoxifying glycerol and glyceraldehyde, harmful by-products of fat. [사진= 게티이미지뱅크]

A promising approach leading to healthy aging and longevity has been discovered. New research suggests that aging can be slowed down by detoxifying glycerol and glyceraldehyde, harmful by-products of fat that naturally accumulate over time.

Researchers at the University of Virginia in the US suggest that reducing the harmful effects of glycerol and glyceraldehyde could be a potential avenue for healthy aging. “Actually, this discovery was unexpected,” said Eileen Jozelina Orrook, a researcher. I found a mechanism that I hadn’t been able to find.”

“The activation of these two enzymes is the key to altering the longevity mechanism, which has been extensively studied due to its role in the detoxification process of ethanol (the alcohol in beer and bourbon),” he said. It is a great help in finding drugs that can be specifically activated.”

To find the secret to slowing aging, the research team turned to the microscopic worm (C. elegan). These soil-dwelling worms share more than 70% of our genes, making them invaluable tools in biomedical research. Two Nobel Prizes in medicine have been awarded for discoveries that use the worm exclusively.

Previous aging studies in worms, mice and human cells have suggested that the key to longevity lies in the activation of autophagy, a process that regenerates old, damaged parts of cells. Other scientists, including the research team, had their doubts.

A new team of researchers has surprisingly discovered that autophagy is not necessary. Although the team improved the health and longevity of the worms by 50%, autophagy did not increase at all.

The research team obtained this result by utilizing the mechanism they discovered, AMAR (Alcohol and aldehyde-dehydrogenase Mediated Anti-aging Response). In short, they found that an anti-aging response could be promoted by stimulating a specific gene (adh-1). This allowed the gene to produce more alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that prevents toxicity by glycerol and, indirectly, by glyceraldehyde. As a result, the bugs lived longer and healthier.

Findings in laboratory models, such as worms and mice, do not always hold true for humans. So the team took a few more steps. First, it was confirmed that the enzyme had beneficial effects similar to lifespan in another laboratory model, yeast.

Then, because fasting and calorie restriction are known to prolong health and lifespan, we combed through studies looking at gene activity in organisms, including humans, who experienced fasting or calorie restriction. As expected, the research team found that the levels of anti-aging enzymes increased in all mammals, including humans.

According to the research team, AMAR offers a way to counteract fat-derived toxicity, prolong the length of time we live a healthy life, and may even help us lose additional weight.

“We hope to draw attention to developing therapies that target AMAR,” said Orook. “At a time when aging-related diseases are currently a major health burden for patients, their families, and the health care system, targeting the aging process itself can ease this burden and increase time for independent and healthy living for all of us. It will be the most effective way,” he added.

The study was published in Current Biology. The original title is ‘Increased alcohol dehydrogenase 1 activity promotes longevity’.

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