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Niacin, the fountain of youth
Date:9/30/2013

ns, Ristow demonstrated that the health-enhancing effect of endurance sports is mediated via an increased formation of reactive oxygen species and that antioxidants abolish this effect. Based on the present study, he concludes that niacin brings about a similar metabolic condition to exercise. "Niacin tricks the body into believing that it is exercising even when this is not the case," says Ristow. Such compounds are known as "exercise mimetics".

The researchers conducted their experiments on the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. This worm, which is merely one millimetre in length, can be easily maintained and has a lifespan of only a month, making it the ideal model organism for ageing research.

Also relevant for humans

The results of the study may also be of relevance for humans, says Ristow. After all, the metabolic pathway initiated by niacin is very similar in roundworms and higher organisms. Whether niacin has similar effects on the life expectancy of mice is the subject of Ristow's current research. Previous studies also suggest a health-enhancing effect of niacin in humans with elevated blood cholesterol levels.

Niacin and nicotinamide have been approved as dietary supplements for decades. Ristow could easily envisage the substances being used broadly for therapeutic purposes in the future. A whole series of foods naturally contain niacin, including meat, liver, fish, peanuts, mushrooms, rice and wheat bran. Whether nutritional uptake is sufficient for a health-enhancing or lifespan-extending effect, however, remains to be demonstrated, says Ristow.


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Contact: Michael Ristow
michael-ristow@ethz.ch
41-446-557-446
ETH Zurich
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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