New research shows that giving older adults GlyNAC — a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine — reverses several key indicators of aging and keeps people healthier as they age. Not only that, the elderly also looked fit and strong with a slim waistline. GlyNAC in addition.
As reported in the Journals of Gerontology Series A, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine studied the effects of the GlyNAC supplement on 24 older adults and 12 younger adults in a randomized, double-blind human clinical trial.
After 16 weeks, GlyNAC supplementation was associated with multiple benefits for major signs of aging and age-related defects. These include oxidative stress, glutathione deficiency, mitochondrial dysfunction, mitophagy, inflammation, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, genomic damage, stem cell exhaustion, and cellular senescence. Meanwhile, no improvement was seen in those who received a placebo.
In turn, older adults who received a dose of GlyNAC had stronger muscles, lower blood pressure, and a smaller waistline. They increased exercise and improved walking speed, a surprisingly good indicator of poor health in old age.
Researchers explain that the key to GlyNAC’s benefits lies in its ability to restore mitochondrial health and repair oxidative stress.
Mitochondria – the “powerhouse of the cell” as textbooks say – generate most of the energy needed to fuel the cell’s biochemical reactions. But as we age, they become less efficient at producing energy. Similar to their previous mouse studies, this clinical trial showed that GlyNAC supplementation boosted mitochondrial function in older adults to levels found in younger adults.
As for oxidative stress, it describes the process by which the body is damaged by high levels of toxic waste products called reactive oxygen species, or free radicals, causing cell damage and DNA damage. Our bodies produce glutathione, a natural antioxidant, to combat this, but as we age, its levels also decline. A recent trial showed that GlyNAC supplementation may help reverse this glutathione deficiency and reduce oxidative stress in older adults.
GlyNAC supplementation had some real effects on the health and well-being of the participants. Older adults who received GlyNAC improved muscle strength and exercise capacity, and also experienced significant improvements in walking speed, which has been linked to increased survival rates in older adults.
“One of the interesting questions from this trial is why there are so many improvements in health. We believe that this is due not only to glutathione itself, but to the combined action of glycine, cysteine (from NAC), and the three separate components of glutathione. Both glycine and cysteine are essential for cellular health, and GlyNAC provides both,” explained Dr. Rajagopal Sekhar, corresponding study author and professor of medicine at Baylor.
“Glycine and cysteine are the building blocks for creating glutathione, which also has health benefits. We believe that the improvements in this trial and our previous studies are the result of the combined effects of glycine and NAC and glutathione, and we call this combination the ‘Power of 3.'” he added.
Despite how important the aging process is to everyone, scientists know surprisingly little about how it happens. Through clinical trials like these, we can help unlock some of its mysteries and find ways to ensure happier and healthier lives for the world’s aging population.
“Reversing the signs of aging is believed to help people age healthily,” Sekhar added. “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.”