Supplementing your diet program with the sea organisms Ascidiacea, also recognised as sea squirts, reverses some of the primary symptoms of growing older, according to a new study applying an animal design.
Even though the Fountain of Youth, the legendary spring that restores youth to everyone who bathes in it or beverages its waters, is obviously fantasy, scientists are challenging at operate wanting for means to battle ageing. Some of these scientists just experienced a breakthrough: they found out that supplementing a food plan with sea squirts, reverses some of the most important symptoms of getting old.
Whilst additional exploration is wanted to confirm the impact in people, as the examine was done making use of mice, the findings are really promising.
If you’ve ever glanced in the mirror and noticed greying hair and wrinkles, or if you’ve overlooked the name of a near friend, you may possibly desire a treatment that could possibly halt or even reverse the effects of growing old.
According to a new examine, this could not be these a silly idea. Researchers from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool College, Stanford University, Shanghai Jiao tong College, and the College of Chinese Academy of Sciences learned that supplementing a diet with the sea organism Ascidiacea, also acknowledged as sea squirts, reverses some of the most important signals of growing old in an animal design.
Sea squirts may perhaps be eaten uncooked and can be identified in recipes from Korea (wherever it is regarded as meongge, or 멍게) and Japan (hoya, or ホヤ). These aquatic critters consist of plasmalogens, which are vital to human physique processes. Plasmalogens are by natural means observed during our bodies, notably in the coronary heart, mind, and immune cells, but the amount in our bodies declines as we age. This reduction is also a characteristic of several neurodegenerative diseases, like
This study is the first to show, in detail, how plasmalogens affect the aging brain.
Making new connections
The effects of the plasmalogen supplement on learning and memory were evaluated by training mice to navigate a Morris water maze, which consists of a pool of water with a platform that acts as a resting place. Mice typically dislike swimming, so after five days of training, they remember where the platform is and swim directly to it as soon as they enter the pool. Older mice, on the other hand, take longer to locate the platform following the same amount of training.
Astonishingly, when fed with plasmalogens, aged mice perform more like young mice, finding the platform much quicker than the control group of aged mice that have not been given the supplement.
To find the reason for the improvement shown by plasmalogen-fed mice, the researchers took a closer look at changes happening within the brain. They found that mice that were fed the plasmalogen supplement had a higher number and quality of synapses – the connections between neurons – than the aged mice not given the supplements.
Synapses are a fundamental part of our neural networks and, therefore, crucial for learning and memory. Our synapses tend to be very plastic as children, but they decrease in number and deteriorate with age and in neurogenerative diseases, resulting in cognitive impairments.
Accordingly, in this study, the aged mice fed with plasmalogen supplements showed greater potential for learning new skills and creating new neural networks than the aged mice whose diet was not supplemented. This suggests that dietary plasmalogens can halt the age-related deterioration of synapses.
A further characteristic of getting older, and thought to be a significant factor in neurodegeneration, is inflammation in the brain. Too much inflammation can have a negative effect on cognitive ability, as the brain’s immune system becomes overactive and turns on itself, attacking neurons and preventing synapses from functioning correctly.
In this study, the inflammation in aged mice was greatly decreased in those given plasmalogen supplements compared to those on a normal diet, providing some insight as to why they performed better in learning and memory tasks.
Possible pathways of action
Although it is still unclear how dietary plasmalogen supplements seem to cause such significant changes in learning and memory, Professor Fu speculates on possible pathways of action.
“We found that plasmalogens significantly increase the number of molecules that aid the growth and development of neurons and synapses in the brain. This suggests that plasmalogens can promote neuroregeneration.
“There is also an increasing body of evidence that plasmalogens directly affect the structural properties of synapses. Plasmalogens may increase the fluidity and flexibility of synaptic membranes, affecting the transmission of impulses between neurons.”
Additionally, Professor Fu explains that plasmalogens may also have indirect effects on our brains.
“Some studies have shown that dietary plasmalogens affect the microorganisms in the gut. It has been widely reported that the connection between the organisms in our gut and our brain influences neurodegeneration. It may be the plasmalogen’s effect on this connection that causes the improvements in learning and memory are seen in this study.”
Professor Fu is so convinced by the results of this study that he takes a plasmalogen supplement each day.
“For the first time, we show that plasmalogen supplements might be a potential intervention strategy for halting neurodegeneration and promoting neuroregeneration.
“The oral intake of plasmalogens could be a feasible therapeutic strategy to improve cognitive function in older people.”
So, it could be that a pill to keep you young may not be such an unrealistic proposition after all – as long as it contains sea squirts.
Reference: “Plasmalogens Eliminate Aging-Associated Synaptic Defects and Microglia-Mediated Neuroinflammation in Mice” by Jinxin Gu, Lixue Chen, Ran Sun, Jie-Li Wang, Juntao Wang, Yingjun Lin, Shuwen Lei, Yang Zhang, Dan Lv, Faqin Jiang, Yuru Deng, James P. Collman and Lei Fu, 23 February 2022, Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.