Fisetin, the life-extender in cucumber, makes senescent cells disappear from the body
Everyday foods such as tea, onions, apples and cucumbers contain fisetin, a flavonoid that is very similar to quercetin. According to experiments that researchers from the American Scripps Research Institute published in EBioMedicine, fisetin may prolong life. The compound clears out sensecent cells and prevents tissues from malfunctioning due to the accumulation of decayed cells.
The researchers wondered whether natural senolytics actually exist. Senolytics are substances that clean up the sensecent cells in the body. The accumulation of these outdated cells, which can no longer do their job well, is an important factor in the aging process, that makes tissues lose their function. Anti-aging researchers hope that senolytics will not only increase our life span, but will increase our health span as well.
It's not difficult to recognize a senescent cell. It produces more of the enzyme senescence-associated beta-galactosidase than a cell that is still functioning properly.
The researchers used this principle, and screened a number of natural compounds with a suspected anti-aging effect. They exposed cells in which they could measure the production of senescence-associated beta-galactosidase to these compounds, and discovered two compounds that reduced the production of that aging enzyme: curcumin and fisetin. Of these two, fisetin was the most promising.
Fisetin is a flavonoid with a structure similar to that of quercetin. It is present in cucumbers, onions, tea, strawberries, apples and grapes. According to Japanese research, people consume about half a milligram of fisetin per day every day. [J Epidemiol. 1998 Aug;8(3):168-75.] As far as we know, a higher intake has no negative health effects.
In vitro study
In test tubes, the number of senescent cells decreased more as the concentration was higher. Fisetin had no influence on the total number of cells. Even in high concentrations, fisetin is apparently not toxic to healthy cells.
In fat tissue samples, takenfrom human volunteers, fisetin decreased the amnount of senescent cells. The production of inflammatory factors in the adipose tissue decreased simultaneously. This makes fisetin twice as interesting as an anti-aging product. The aging process is not only caused by an accumulation of senescent cells, but also by a cascade of inflammatory reactions.
The researchers fed a group of lab mice of 85 weeks for the rest of their life with standard chow [Control Diet], and gave another group of mice feed with fisetin. If the mice had been human, they would have been 75 years old when the experiment started. They would have consumed 600-900 milligrams of fisetin daily.
The mice in the experimental group lived significantly longer than the mice in the control group.
"These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life", says co-author Paul Robbins in a press release. [sciencedaily.com October 2, 2018] "But there are still many questions to address, including the right dosage, for example."
We will soon hear more about fisetin, the researchers promise. "Given that fisetin is a natural product found in common foods and available as an oral
dietary supplement and has no reported adverse side effects, our pre-clinical data suggest that fisetin should be imminently translatable and could have a significant benefit to the health of elderly patients", they write.
"Based on these mouse studies, clinical trials to evaluate the short-term benefits of intermittent fisetin treatment on certain aspects of aging such as frailty are currently underway."
EBioMedicine. 2018 Sep 29. pii: S2352-3964(18)30373-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.09.015. [Epub ahead of print].
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