April 10, 2013

Diabetes Drug Shows Anti-aging Effects

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wormsThe findings of this study are exciting if you’re a worm. However can this somehow be trandlated into humans? A study reveals how the worms inadvertently consumed   less calories and lived longer.

Studies have shown in animals that caloric restriction extends lifespan. Researchers wanted to test this theory by growing worms in an environment with E.coli sensitized to the T2D drug metformin. The worms treated with metformin lived longer when the E.coli strain were sensitized to the drug.

The relative life extension of the worms is about 1/3 of the worms lifespan, or 6 days longer. Researchers hypothesized that metformin seems  to work by altering metabolism in the bacteria that live in the worm, which limits the nutrients that are available to the worm host and has a similar effect to restricting the diet.

It’s hard to believe that little gut bacteria can have such an impact on digesting and absorbing nutrients from the food its host consumes. Believe it or not, gut bacteria are linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and cancer. Just the other day, an article celebrated obesity-fighting gut bacteria that flourish after weight-loss surgery.

The bacteria in the worms had something special genetically-altered about their metabolism. They could not metabolize folate, a B-vitamin and methionine, one of the building blocks of protein. This cancellation of nutrients mimicked the caloric restriction that prolongs life.

The good news is that researchers are looking at ways we can make healthier choices a no-brainier. It’s so easy, a worm can do it!

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