Eat spinach and quinoa and live longer
Maybe people who regularly consume spinach or quinoa, or otherwise regularly ingest ecdysteroids, live longer. This is suggested by an experiment that researchers at Rutgers University conducted with the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The nematodes lived longer if the researchers exposed them to a quinoa extract.
The researchers from Rutgers have been studying ecdysteroids for quite some time. In animal studies, they have shown that ecdysteroids inhibit the growth of fat tissue and at the same time make muscles grow. [J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3532-7.] They also published analyses showing that quinoa is an excellent source of ecdysteroids. More recently, Rutgers has also started to pay attention to the anabolic effect of brassinosteroids such as 28-homo-brassinolide.
In 2017, the researchers published an experimental study in the Journal of Functional Foods, in which they exposed nematodes in aquariums to a quinoa extract that contained a lot of ecdysterone and other ecdysteroids. [Some details] This was not the case with nematodes in a control group.
The nematodes in the control group lived for 9 days. If nematodes received ecdysteroids, they lived for 11 days. This amounts to a life extension of 22 percent.
Until the nematodes were 7 days old, the researchers measured how mobile the animals were. Mobility says something about their health. The more nematodes move, the healthier they are. The researchers discovered that ecdysteroids increased mobility by 11 percent.
Below you can see how ecdysteroids may extend the lifespan. The nematodes receiving ecdysteroids consumed more oxygen. At rest, their oxygen consumption increased by 37 percent. Even when the researchers sabotaged the conversion of energy from food into ATP with chemical substances, and thus increased calorie and oxygen consumption, ecdysteroids increased oxygen consumption. These effects suggest that ecdysteroids enhance the functioning of the mitochondria.
Not surprisingly, the amount of body fat in the nematodes exposed to ecdysteroids was reduced by 14 percent.
Ecdysteroids reduced the production of AGEs and free radicals by 24 and 20 percent, probably via enhancing the mitochondria. AGEs and free radicals can accelerate aging processes in the body.
"Collectively, these results suggest that supplementation with 20-hydroxy-ecdysone-containing quinoa preparations may promote metabolic health in Caenorhabditis elegans through a conserved mechanism that may be extrapolated to humans", the researchers summarize.
Journal of Functional Foods 37 (2017) 1-7.
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