A fundamental process of aging is cellular senescence, when an aging cell loses its ability to divide, effectively dying. Once this happens, the cell releases an inflammatory signal which tells the immune system to destroy it.
Generally speaking, the younger a person is, the more efficiently their immune system can remove senescent cells. As we age, however, the immune system becomes far less efficient at removing senescent cells, causing a build-up of damaged cells, which in turn increases inflammation.
In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers discovered that senolytics — molecules that destroy senescent cells — can effectively prolong life and health.
Recently, the same team of researchers published the results of a new study whose goal was to identify the specific senolytics that were most helpful in slowing the aging process. Their research was published in the journal EBioMedicine.
The scientists investigated 10 specific flavonoids with a high degree of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to determine their effect on elderly mice. Of all 10 flavonoids, one stood out as being especially effective. It was the flavonoid fisentin, a naturally occurring compound in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, strawberries, cucumbers, and onions.
The team’s research showed that when elderly mice were treated with fisentin, it reduced their levels of senescent cells, which contributed to better health and longer lifespans.
However, the research did not conclusively show whether fisentin actually targeted senescent cells. In a third study, the researchers devised a method of using mass cytometry — a technique that allows researchers to tag specific molecules and track their activity. Using this approach, they were able to prove that specific flavonoids targeted specific subsets of damaged cells in the tissue of elderly mice.
This research suggests that new drugs may soon be developed which will help to improve the health and lifespan of the elderly. In the meantime, it is reassuring to know that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will indeed help slow the aging process.
At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, we know that that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables keeps our residents in good health. For that reason, our staff includes a master chef and a crew of culinary experts who work with registered dietitians to prepare healthful, delicious meals. We even take care to serve our residents on fine china to ensure that our meals are as pleasing to the eye as they are tempting to the palate.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.
Contact us at 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.