In the search for natural ways to keep the body younger, researchers have discovered a nutrient in certain fruits and vegetables they call a “geroprotector,” a new term for something that protects against the root causes of aging.
And they believe this geroprotector does such a good job at protecting cells against the diseases and deterioration of age, it might help us live longer.
Put the Brakes on Memory Loss and Improve Lifespan
This nutrient is called fisetin, and it’s found in fruits and vegetables like strawberries, onions and cucumbers, as well as in curcumin, the antioxidant in the spice turmeric.
Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, tested fisetin in laboratory animals. The research revealed fisetin protected the animals’ brain cells and other parts of their bodies against damage from aging.
Dr. Dave Schubert and his colleagues fed the lab animals combinations of fisetin and curcumin, as well as fisetin and curcumin alone. In every case, fisetin or fisetin and curcumin combined lowered the amount of molecular aging in neurons, reduced the occurrence of dementia and prolonged the lifespan of the animals.
The scientists reported the compounds could “improve memory, reduce inflammation, maintain synapses, and remove toxic amyloid peptide.” All of these benefits are critical for memory health since inflammation and amyloid peptide kill off healthy brain neurons and are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.1
The study results lead researchers to conclude that both fisetin and curcumin as well as synthetic combinations of these nutrients “could be used alone or in combination with disease-specific compounds for the treatment of old-age-associated neurodegenerative diseases and, perhaps, aging itself.”
It’s Never Too Late to Improve Longevity
Meanwhile, tests at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic also demonstrate fisetin may boost longevity and improve health quality as we age – even if we wait until relatively late in life to increase our fisetin intake.
These tests examined fisetin’s effects on specific cellular damage, called “cellular senescence,” that takes place with aging.
Cellular senescence refers to cells that can’t operate correctly and are supposed to be eliminated by immune cells.
When you’re younger, your body’s elimination process is efficient at dismantling and clearing out damaged senescent cells that can’t be repaired; however, as we get older, the immune system falters and allows these dysfunctional cells to remain in place. This leads to increased inflammation and the accumulation of enzymes that further damage the body’s tissues.
In the Minnesota investigation, researchers discovered that treating old lab animals with fisetin helps get rid of damaged senescent cells, improving the animals’ health and lifespan.2 Exciting news, if it holds for humans, too!
Additional research also shows that fisetin can:
Help the body fight off cancer – Laboratory studies show that fisetin can help force cancer cells to self-destruct via apoptosis, limit the supply of nutrients to cancer cells by cutting off their blood supply, and restrict tumors from spreading into organs.3
Limit heart damage caused by diabetes – Additional lab tests demonstrate that fisetin can protect the heart muscle from damage caused by high blood sugar. In this research, fisetin protected the heart from oxidative stress, inflammation and the death of heart muscle cells.4
If these anti-aging benefits can be translated to humans from test animals in the lab, says researcher Dave Schubert,” “then you should be able to slow down the appearance of many diseases that are associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and overall frailty.”
It’s exciting news, indeed. What’s more, all of the research into fisetin I’ve looked at finds it’s safe to consume. So, if you want to take supplements of fisetin, I see no reason not to. You can also focus on foods rich in fisetin: Strawberries are a particularly good source. Onions, mangoes and cucumbers (don’t peel them) also provide a wealth of this anti-aging nutrient.
I started taking fisetin several months ago after learning of its powerful anticancer effects. I’m thrilled to learn it may be an elixir against aging in general.