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Dietary supplements may reverse cardiovascular ageing


happy senior couple holding up a red paper heart

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As we age, our risk for developing cardiovascular disease increases. This risk is largely driven by age-related stiffening of arteries and increase in blood pressure.

That’s why any research that sheds light on interventions that can improve arterial function and lower blood pressure is promising.

For a long time researchers have known that chronic calorie restriction (CR) prevents the development of arterial dysfunction and increases in blood pressure with aging as seen in rodent studies. CR also lowers stiffening of arteries and blood pressure in overweight middle-aged and older adults as seen in previous studies.

The study also found that in 13 participants with high blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension, the systolic blood pressure was about 10 points lower after taking the supplements.

Despite the many health benefits of CR, this method may be impractical and even unsafe for normal weight older adults.

Now a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder indicates that when people consume a natural dietary supplement called nicotinomide riboside (NR) daily, it mimics caloric restriction. As a result it triggers the same chemical pathways responsible for the health benefits of CR.

This study included 24 lean and healthy men and women ages 55 to 79 years.

Half the participants took a placebo for the first six weeks and then 500 mg twice-daily dose of nicotinamide riboside (NR) chloride (NIAGEN).

The other half had NR for the first six weeks, followed by the placebo.

The researchers took blood samples and other physiological measurements at the end of each treatment period.

The participants did not have any reported side effects.

The researchers found that 1000mg daily dose of NR increased the levels of another compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) by 60 percent.

NAD+ is required for the activation of enzymes called sirtuins – largely responsible for the beneficial effects of CR. Sirtuins tend to decline with age.

The study also found that in 13 participants with high blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension, the systolic blood pressure was about 10 points lower after taking the supplements. This translates to about 25 percent reduction in heart attack risk.

By supplementing older adults with NR, researchers were able to restore NAD+ which is lost with ageing and also increasing the activity of sirtuins which are responsible for protecting the body from stress.

While further trials are needed to confirm whether supplementation can reduce systolic blood pressure and improve arterial health in a larger population, this study provides the stepping stone for finding a way to restrict calories without being harmful to our health and yet providing us with the healthy heart benefits as we age.

Source: Nature Communications



 

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!