There is a large area of science being studies that involves aging and how to slow it down or possibly even reverse it. The latest findings in this scientific area come from researchers at the University of Colorado who uncovered that chemically altering a natural supplement could reverse aging of blood vessels. By reversing this process, they could improve cardiovascular health overall.
Your body is equipped to fight off oxidative stress, but for the oxidative stress that does occur it promotes aging and damage. Unfortunately, as we age, free radicals become more abundant and the bodies ability to fight weakens.
Antioxidants work to fight against oxidative stress and free radicals, and that’s why we’re encouraged to consume them in our diet.
Oxidative stress on our blood vessels causes them to become stiffer, which makes blood flow more challenging. Furthermore, free radicals can damage the blood vessel lining, making them less effective.
For the study, the researchers targeted naturally-occurring antioxidants that target the mitochondria which impacts cardiovascular health.
The researchers gave antioxidants to half of their 20 participants who were healthy males and females over the age of 69. The other half were given a placebo.
The endothelium function (lining of the blood vessels) was examined over the course of six weeks.
The participants then underwent a two-week break which allowed their body to wash away any residuals. After the break, the two groups switched. On average, the supplementation improved dilation in arteries by 42 percent.
To relate this improvement to performance, the researchers suggest that it’s similar to the functioning of blood vessels in persons 15 to 20 years younger. If proved to be effective over time, this could result in a 13 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
The supplementation reduced blood vessel stiffness, improved dilation, and reduced the effects of oxidative stress.
Senior author of the study Doug Seals concluded, “Exercise and eating a healthy diet are the most well-established approaches for maintaining cardiovascular health. But the reality is, at the public health level, not enough people are willing to do that. We’re looking for complementary, evidence-based options to prevent the age-related changes that drive disease. These supplements may be among them.”