The secret of longevity could be found in a traditional Japanese plant that seems to slow down its aging

Scientists believe that a Japanese plant used in traditional Asian medicine contains a compound that can slow down aging.

The compound is found inside the angelica keiskei koidzumi plant, known in Japan under the name of ashitaba. Cultivated largely in the center of the country and consumed in fresh or dried form, it has been used traditionally to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers, hypertension and cholesterol, the hay fever, gout and constipation.

The researchers identified the flavonoid 4,4'-dimethoxychalcone (DMC), which they described as "a natural compound with anti-aging properties," in the plant.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers said that slowing the process of degeneration could be an important approach to fight against related diseases because it is a risk factor for conditions, including heart disease.

Currently, it is thought that limiting calories while avoiding malnutrition affects aging, while taking pro-longevity drugs, the authors wrote. But avoiding eating can be difficult for an average person, they noted.

In tests on human cells, scientists discovered that DMC appeared to slow senescence, the process by which cells stop dividing and begin to develop permanently, which has been associated with cancer.

Animal testing has also shown promising results. When the scientists fed the compound with worms and fruit flies, it seemed to increase their lifespan by 20%. It also protected the hearts of mice when blood flow was blocked.

The team believes that DMC could work by triggering autophagy, a recycling process in cells where damaged cells are removed.

Last year, researchers responsible for a separate study shed new light on the aging process by concluding that activities such as running, swimming, and cycling could slow it down better than the current one. ; weightlifting.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, have studied the impact of different types of exercises on telomeres, compounds located at the end of our chromosomes that protect our DNA. They are considered the watch of life: we grow old as they wither.

Scientists have found that high-intensity interval training and endurance training have extended telomeres and enhanced telomerase activity. However, resistance training did not have the same effect.

Ioakim Spyridopoulos, professor of cardiology and cardiovascular gerontology at the British University of Newcastle, said Newsweek at the time, "the most surprising result is that aerobic exercise, but not the resistance training, induced telomerase activity."

"This is despite the fact that resistance training results in a similar increase in maximum oxygen uptake, suggesting a different, perhaps advantageous, mechanism according to which aerobic exercise can delay the process. aging compared to a resistance exercise, "he said.

Angelica keiskei Japanese Ashitaba getty stock Ashitaba is used in Japanese medicine to treat various ailments. Getty Images

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