A molecule in supplements already on the market can make blood vessels younger and healthier, according to a new study involving mice.
Harvard Medical School researchers found that boosting levels of the naturally occurring molecule NMN, also found in humans, increased levels of another biological compound in mice — called NAD+ — which in turn raised levels of a well-known anti-aging enzyme, the Boston Globe reports.
The impact was so significant that researchers said it helped reverse age-related deterioration of blood vessels of 20-month-old mice — akin to 70-year-old humans — to make them more youthful.
“It’s probably not the magic pill everyone is looking for,” said aging expert Dr. Eric Verdin, “but it’s one more brick in our efforts to understand aging and healthspan,” which gauges how long people can stay biologically young as they age.
The new study, published in the journal Cell, is latest to examine ways to target the anti-aging enzyme called SIRT1, which has been the focus of nearly three decades of research.
After receiving NMN, more blood vessels sprouted in the old mice’s muscles. The density of the smallest vessels — capillaries — became more like those of young mice. Blood flow increased, and the rodents’ fitness endurance was up to 80 percent greater than that of untreated old mice.
NMN restored the health-boosting effects of a good treadmill run, basically “reversing vascular aging in the mice,” said study co-leader David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School.
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