An enzyme found in broccoli, cucumbers, and cabbage was discovered to make the cells of mice act as they would in a younger mouse.
Thanks to the enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), lab mice were able to transform food into energy much more efficiently. Also, some of the indicators of aging seemed to disappear, including improved blood sugar and better eyesight.
Although results appear promising, researchers note that it is “very difficult” to obtain the sufficient amount of NMN by ingesting natural foods. A solution would be to launch an NMN supplement in the form of a pill or soluble powder.
The key lies in energy metabolization
In essence, researchers knew that the availability of oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) decreased with age. NAD is a coenzyme that is found in every living cell and organisms, as it performs the electron transferal process of metabolic reactions. When it is oxidized in the form of NAD+, it can accept electrons, and after taking electrons for transferal, it becomes reduced and is known as NADH.
NAD is fundamental for altering the proteins found in cells and conducting different organic metabolic processes, because of this the enzymes linked to NAD are being researched thoroughly for treating disease. Researchers believe that NAD+ can be used as therapy for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, but the trials on these ailments proved to be successful for mice but not for humans.
The research team from Washington University School of Medicine discovered that NMN improves the synthesis of NAD+ when administered to lab mice. They were given NMN-infused water, which takes just a few minutes to appear in the bloodstream and then convert into NAD.
The subjects were five-months-old, and the trial took place over the course of a year. Although the mice were not expected to live longer, they did show decreased signs of biological wear that is associated with the aging of cells. Young mice provided with NMN did not show any changes because they already have plenty of their own NMN, according to researchers. They suggest that the inflammation associated with aging makes it harder for the body to produce NMN.
“Without any obvious toxicity or deleterious effects, NMN suppressed age-associated body weight gain, enhanced energy metabolism, promoted physical activity, improved insulin sensitivity, and plasma lipid profile, and ameliorated eye function and other pathophysiologies,” reads the study.
The NMN found in muscles had a highly beneficial effect on the cellular mitochondria, which are the organelles in charge of cell respiration. Also, the mice that were administered NMN gained less weight with age, even if they ate more food. This is most likely due to the metabolism’s ability to produce more energy out of less food, thanks to the increased input of NMN.
The results were so promising that the Keio University of Tokyo will be performing a study on people by administering NMN through a pill supplement. It appears that the key is the loss of energy, where the lack of NMN hinders the NAD metabolic conduction of electrons. The results also seem to be in line with other drugs that base their composition in the energetic processes of the body.
“We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in aging mice. This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice. Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age,” stated Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, lead author of the study.
Dr. Imai suggests that the body’s energy processes are interconnected with each other, what remains is to determine exactly which compounds could be added to promote a more efficient and healthy metabolism.
Eat your veggies
Broccoli is the first contestant for containing the highest levels of NMN, while also having immensely healthy benefits. Steamed broccoli is great for lowering cholesterol, and it also has a high fiber content which helps clean the digestive tract. It is considered one of the detox vegetables by excellence, as it contains at least three glucosinolate compounds that assist the body to get rid of contaminants. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, K, and A.
Hundreds of research papers point out broccoli as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative stress compound, and a detox agent, all of which are fundamental traits for fighting the development of cancer. Researchers suggest that broccoli helps deal with chronic inflammation, which occurs in the body due to the constant exposure to contaminants in the environment, dietary deficiencies, and poor daily life practices that lead the body to work in a detrimental state.
On the other hand, cucumber provides high amounts of vitamin K, B, C, and potassium, which supply the body with vital nutrients. Cucumbers have also been proven to help lower the risk of cancer, mainly due to its content of the polyphenols secoisolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and lariciresinol. Also, cucurbitacins, a signature compound found in cucumber, can block cancer cell development and survival by blocking its signaling pathways.
Perhaps it is time to take out the blender and start drinking cucumber and broccoli smoothies in preparation for the NMN supplements to hit the market.