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  1. #1
    Blown_SC is offline Retired Vet
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    ALA/ALCAR - Anti-aging

    ALA/ALCAR - Anti-aging


    Two dietary supplements appear to restore some youthful, peppy energy in aging rats but do not seem to guarantee a longer life, according to a new study released.

    Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and at Oregon State University in Corvallis, conducted a trio of studies to test acetyl L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid on old rats. These two compounds are easily accessible and sold in a variety of health food stores.

    In the first study, researchers looked at mitochondria, a substance found in all cells that plays a critical role in the aging process. Mitochondria is mainly responsible for converting fuel in the diet into energy for the body, so if mitochondria breaks down, the entire cell is affected. Researchers say their first study showed when free radicals -- molecules that are a normal byproduct of metabolism but also harm cells -- build up, this can cause deterioration of mitochondria.

    The second study examined giving acetyl-L carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid to rats. Acetyl-L carnitine is commonly found in meat, particularly pork and beef, and alpha-lipoic acid exists in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. For one month, researchers placed acetyl-L carnitine in the rats' water and alpha lipoic acid in their food. These rats were about 24 to 28 months old, the equivalent of a human around age 75. They were compared to young rats ages 2 to 4 months old.
    The older rats quickly started behaving more like their younger counterparts, showing signs of more energy and physical activity.

    "We were amazed in fact," co-researcher Dr. Tory Hagen, an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State and a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute at the university, told United Press International. "We just did not expect this type of thing to happen."

    Hagen and colleagues said it appeared the two compounds rejuvenated the mitochondria in the rats' cells by increasing chemicals known to decline with age, including ascorbic acid, a key antioxidant.

    In the third study, researchers fed old rats a similar diet of acetyl-L carnitine and alpha-liopic acid to determine the effect on memory, another element vulnerable to aging. The rats underwent a series of tests and results showed the supplements significantly improved the animals' memory. Microscope images showed the mitochondria in the hippocampus, a region in the brain, suffered less decay among rats fed the supplements.

    The findings are published in the Feb. 19 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was funded by the National Institute on Aging and other private and university foundations.

    "The brain stuff is pretty impressive, we didn't quite know what was going to happen there," co-researcher Bruce Ames of the University of California, told UPI. "There's every reason to think there's going be same thing in people."

    Clinical trials involving elderly people are underway, Hagen said, though currently there are only 15 healthy subjects and researchers are not testing yet to see whether these supplements combat serious, chronic age-related diseases.

    While these two supplements are not the fountain of youth, researchers said, they do offer some promise in restoring nutrients the body needs to remain energetic. However, there is nothing to suggest the compound can extend lifespan, Hagen explained. They only appear to improve overall well-being.

    Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a registered dietitian, said scientists do not know enough about how acetyl-L carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid work to recommend particular dosages to thwart aging.

    "They're trying to dig deeper to find out what is the mechanism or what is the result of taking some of these supplements," she told UPI. So far, these studies have involved only mice and Sandon said it is too premature to apply what is seen in rodents to what could happen in humans. "It's very, very preliminary," she said.
    Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
    All rights reserved.

    Posted by Liftsiron @ SBI....

  2. #2
    Blown_SC is offline Retired Vet
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Research conducted recently at the University of California, and confirmed by numerous studies at major universities throughout the world, has shown that the most important factor in aging is the decay of the mitochondria - the organelles within the cell that convert amino acids, fatty acids and sugars into energy. Research performed by the University Of California scientists and others has demonstrated that as we age, the efficiency of the mitochondria diminishes, as does their quantity per cell.

    The effect is a body operating at one-half to one-fourth the energy it had at youth. The brain is perhaps the most important organ affected by aging, since it consumes more energy than any other organ of the body. An energy deficit in the brain and central nervous system affects the activities of all organs throughout the body as well as mental acuity and mood.

    The antioxidant compounds found effective include Acetyl-L-Carnitine and alpha Lipoic Acid which are natural substances the body normally manufactures at sufficient levels for maximum health in youth, but in insufficient quantities as we age. Both of these natural substances are described as mitochondrial metabolites that have been shown in laboratory experiments to help maintain mitochondrial function as we age, by:

    • Maintaining the membrane potential
    • Promoting metabolism and cell function
    • Enhancing anti-oxidative protection
    • Promoting cellular health.

    Stimulation of Mitochondrial Function
    Alpha Lipoic Acid of ALA and Acetyl L-Carnitine are known to stimulate the synthesis of cardiolipin, a key component of the mitochondria. Cardiolipin is a phospholipid required, along with specific transport enzymes, to maintain the potential and overall integrity of the mitochondrial membrane. The membrane potential is the result of the separation of charge between the inner and outer surface of the membrane, a process that requires energy-driven pumps to move charge against a gradient. A healthy mitochondrion (one containing sufficient cardiolipin) has a maximum membrane potential and therefore maximum energy producing potential. Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid activate the transport of high-energy food-derived products into the mitochondria, where they are transformed into a specific chemical form of energy (ATP). This captured energy is used to run the cellular machinery for such activities as muscle contraction and neurotransmission.
    Additionally, the compounds are structurally similar to an endogenous neurotransmitter, which may be partially responsible for the reported beneficial effects to the nervous system such as enhanced memory, elevated mood, enhanced mental acuity, and more sound sleep.

    Promotion of Cellular Antioxidants
    The combination of ALA and ALC contains substances to maintain healthy cells. Scientists have demonstrated the production of cell-damaging oxidants in body tissues under normal physiological conditions. The bulk of these oxidants are controlled or neutralized by cellular antioxidants, but a portion of these toxic oxidants invariably escapes this defense and survives to contribute to the aging process. Furthermore, the antioxidant defense becomes less effective as the body ages, as a consequence of accumulated damage negatively affecting the efficiency of the defense-building enzymes.

    Both ALA and ALC have been shown to have two important properties. First, working in concert with the compound described above, it too plays a critical role in the conversion of food into energy, and secondly, it affords protection to the cell from oxidants, including the highly reactive substances known as free radicals. Free radicals are chemical by-products, produced during the burning of food to form energy. They are extremely toxic to the cell as they oxidize and distort its vital components.

    ALA is an amphipathic substance, as it is both water and lipid soluble, and can therefore penetrate and protect lipid containing cell membranes as well as water soluble cell components. Another important characteristic of this multiple function compound is its capacity to be regenerated to an active form, within the cell, after reacting with and neutralizing an oxidant. It can literally protect all of the cell components from oxidants. In addition to being an antioxidant, it helps maintain a high membrane potential by acting on other cellular antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, as well as glutathione, to keep them fully charged for maximum cellular protection from oxidants. It is perhaps the most potent of the natural cellular antioxidants, as it is very easily oxidized due to its low redox potential. This makes it a more attractive substance for the radical to attack, sparing the vital cell structures from destruction.

    Listed below are some of the specific beneficial effects observed at the cellular level:

    • Maintaining a high membrane potential
    • Maintaining optimum metabolic activity
    • Increasing energy production
    • Reducing the level of free radicals

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