A randomized, double-blind human clinical trial conducted by Baylor College of Medicine researchers found that supplementation with GlyNAC—a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine—improved many age-related defects in older adults and strongly promoted healthy aging. This is relevant because until now there have been no solutions to improve many of the age-related declines in humans.
Published Journals of Gerontology: Series A, the study shows that elderly people taking GlyNAC for 16 weeks improved many of the characteristic defects of aging. This includes oxidative stress, glutathione deficiency, and several hallmarks of aging affecting mitochondrial dysfunction, mitophagy, inflammation, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, genomic damage, stem cell exhaustion, and cellular senescence. It is associated with improvements in muscle strength, walking speed, exercise capacity, waist circumference and blood pressure.
“This is the first randomized clinical trial of GlyNAC supplementation in the elderly, and it found improvements in a variety of age-related abnormalities in older adults supplemented with GlyNAC, compared to no improvement in those who received a placebo,” said corresponding author Dr. . Rajagopal Sekhar, professor of medicine – endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Baylor.
Improvements in oxidative stress, glutathione levels, and mitochondrial function in muscle tissue of older adults who received GlyNAC were similar to improvements in organs such as the heart, liver, and kidney of older mice supplemented with GlyNAC, the researchers reported in a recent publication. Taken together, the results of these studies show that GlyNAC supplementation can improve these deficiencies in many different organs of the body. “Addition of GlyNAC to aged mice extended their lifespan by 24%,” Sekhar said. “Walking speed is associated with survival in older adults. Our clinical study found a significant improvement in walking speed in older adults supplemented with GlyNAC. This raises the interesting question of whether GlyNAC supplementation may have randomized effects on survival in humans.”
For the past 20 years, Sekhar has been studying natural aging in humans and animal models to understand why age-related declines occur and how to correct them. His work leads to discussions about how the mitochondria, the cell’s batteries, are connected, as well as free radicals and glutathione. Sehar’s work and discoveries help explain why we age and how we can improve our health as we age.
Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and aging
Mitochondria generate the energy needed to support cell functions. Therefore, normal mitochondrial function is very important for a healthy life. Sekhar believes that improving the health of aging mitochondria is the key to healthy aging. “Energy sustains life and mitochondria provide energy. I believe mitochondrial health is critical to our well-being, and maintaining mitochondrial health as we age should be a top priority in our overall health efforts,” said Sekhar.
However, the ability of mitochondria to function well decreases with age. How to improve the performance of these dysfunctional mitochondria is not well understood, so there are no solutions. Sekhar’s group previously found that supplementing GlyNAC in aging mice repaired dysfunctional mitochondria. However, a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial is needed to definitively determine whether GlyNAC supplements benefit humans.
Sekhar and his team conducted and completed one such randomized clinical trial in which they found that older adults have more mitochondrial damage and other age-related defects compared to younger adults. After 16 weeks of GlyNAC supplementation, mitochondrial function in older adults improves to younger levels. This was accompanied by improvements in several additional outcomes, as reported in the publication. Analysis of molecular data from the trial shows that GlyNAC supplementation is capable of repopulating cells with younger and more efficient mitochondria. “Overall, these exciting new findings hold great promise for improving our mitochondrial and overall health as we age,” Sekhar said.
A second important benefit offered by GlyNAC supplementation is that it also helps protect the body from an important problem known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by high levels of toxic waste products called reactive oxygen species or free radicals. Oxidative stress can damage our cells, membranes, lipids, proteins and DNA and is very common in aging. Glutathione is a natural antioxidant. Glutathione is made inside our cells every day and it works by protecting cells from harmful oxidative stress. However, in older adults, glutathione levels are very low and harmful oxidative stress is very high. GlyNAC supplementation corrects glutathione deficiency and reduces oxidative stress in the elderly back to youthful levels, thus addressing both issues.
Sekhar believes that restoring mitochondrial health and repairing oxidative stress with GlyNAC supplementation are two powerful reasons that help explain why many other age-related defects are improved. It also has a wide range of health benefits.
Graphic abstract. Credit: Journals of Gerontology: Series A (2022). DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glac135
Taking GlyNAC is not the same as taking glutathione: incorporating the “power of 3”.
“It’s important to understand that this trial supplemented GlyNAC and not supplemented glutathione,” says Sekhar. “Because our bodies don’t get glutathione from food, but the body must make its own glutathione every day. All of our organs maintain varying levels of glutathione in a delicate balance that is beneficial to health. Too little glutathione can’t fight harmful oxidation. Stress and too much too much glutathione can cause harmful reductive stress,” Sekhar said. “That’s why GlyNAC is a natural solution for correcting glutathione deficiency because it provides the raw material to help cells make the right amount of glutathione. We’ve seen this repeatedly in all our previous studies of GlyNAC supplementation, including this trial.”
“One of the interesting questions from this trial is why there are so many improvements in health. We believe that this is not simply due to the combined action of three separate components – glycine, cysteine (from NAc) and glutathione. is essential for cellular health and GlyNAC provides both. Glycine and cysteine are the building blocks for the formation of glutathione, which also has health benefits. We believe this will improve the results of the combined effects of glycine and NAC and glutathione in our test and our previous studies. is and we call this combination the ‘Power of 3’,” said Sekhar.
GlyNAC improves several signs of aging
According to the World Health Organization, the number of elderly people is expected to exceed 2.1 billion by 2050. This increase in the number of elderly people will increase the need for health care and increase the stress on the projected health systems worldwide. To understand what causes unhealthy aging, scientific research has identified nine signs of aging, which represent specific deficiencies thought to contribute to poor health during aging.
“It is believed that correcting the signs of aging can help people age more healthily,” Sekhar said. “However, we do not fully understand why these signs of aging occur in the first place, so there have been no proven solutions through human randomized clinical trials to improve or correct the signs of aging in older people.”
Enhanced aging hallmarks include mitochondrial dysfunction, altered intercellular communication, nutrient sensing, loss of proteostasis, genomic instability, cellular senescence, and stem cell exhaustion. Study participants were advised not to change their usual diet or physical activity; therefore, nothing changed except the addition of GlyNAC. “This tells us that the benefits were due to the GlyNAC supplement. But we were surprised to see improvements in many signs of aging. This level of improvement shows how and why these signs of aging may be related to each other,” says Sekhar.
GlyNAC improves aging muscle strength
GlyNAC supplementation improved upper and lower extremity muscle strength and tended to increase exercise capacity. “These findings may have additional implications for improving the health of older adults, particularly in terms of physical activity,” Sekhar said.
“This research has required effort and has taken many years to complete. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my researchers, nurses, and everyone who helped with this trial. A special thank you to all the participants who volunteered to participate in this study,” Sekhar said. .
As he moves forward, Sekhar plans to expand his work to understand more about the benefits of GlyNAC supplementation on the body’s cells, tissues and organs. He plans to seek funding to conduct larger clinical trials in typical older adults to increase our understanding of how GlyNAC can improve health in aging. Additionally, as reported in their previously published exploratory study, Sekhar’s group found that GlyNAC supplementation improved memory and cognition in older adults. He further investigated this in older mice and found that GlyNAC supplementation directly reverses several age-related declines in the brain and is associated with improved memory and brain health—a new and exciting discovery report in progress. .
GlyNAC supplementation extends lifespan in mice
Premranjan Kumar et al., Glycine and N-acetylcysteine (GlyNAC) supplementation in older adults ameliorates glutathione deficiency, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, physical function, and signs of aging. Journals of Gerontology: Series A (2022). DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glac135
Provided by Baylor College of Medicine
Quote: GlyNAC Supplementation Reverses Signs of Aging in Older People (2022, August 18) Retrieved August 18, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-glynac-supplementation-reverses-aging-hallmarks.html
This document is entitled. No part may be reproduced without written permission except in any fair dealing for personal study or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.