The effects of ageing can be slowed down by eating broccoli, cabbage and avocado, according to a medical study.
A compound found in the foods promises to keep the elderly “younger” and healthier during their lives, scientists said in the study published by the U|K’s Daily Express.
In experiments on older mice given nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) slowed their physical ageing and gave them the metabolism of much younger mice.
It reduced ageing on muscles, bones, livers, eye sight, insulin sensitivity, immune function, body weight and physical activity levels.
“Human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy but as we age the cells’ ability to produce energy declines,” the study said.
While scientists are unsure why this happens they suspect the steady loss of efficiency in the body’s energy supply is a key driver of the ageing process.
The study found compound NMN can compensate for this loss of energy production
Professor Dr Shin-ichiro Imai at Washington University School of Medicine said: “We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in ageing mice.This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice.
“Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age.”
The next step is to carry out clinical trials on humans in Japan to test the safety of NMN.
With age, the body loses its capacity to make a key element of energy production called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).
Previous research has shown NAD levels decrease as mice age and is not effective when given directly to mice.
To boost levels the researchers only had to look one step earlier in the NAD supply chain to NMN.
When NMN is dissolved in drinking water and given to mice, it appears in the bloodstream in less than three minutes and is quickly converted to NAD in multiple tissues.
Mice of varying ages were given NMN water to explore the long-term effects.
There was a variety of beneficial effects of NMN supplementation but these benefits were seen exclusively in older mice.
Dr Jun Yoshino who also worked on the study, said: “When we give NMN to the young mice, they do not become healthier young mice.”