As reported in 2021 pilot human trials; therefore, the findings reported here are likely to be applicable to humans as well (2).
Brain Food for Healthy Aging
“For more than two decades, my lab has been studying natural aging in aging humans and aging mice,” said correspondent and senior author Dr.
“Our work provides insight into how age-related cognitive decline in older adults is linked to glutathione deficiency, increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, inflammation, and low levels of neurotrophic or neuron-supporting factors. GlyNAC supplementation reverses these defects and improves cognition.”
Human studies only allow measurements at the whole-body level, so in this study, the researchers used mice to investigate. defects in the aging brain directly.
This study is important for many reasons: it assesses the recovery of cognitive decline that occurs naturally in aging, rather than the cognitive decline caused by the introduction of gene defects; increasing age is identified as the most significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease; and these naturally occurring defects have been studied directly in the brain.
Unraveling the Science of Nutritional Strategies
Sekhar and his team worked with three groups of mice. The two groups naturally aged next to each other until 90 weeks of age, which is similar to a 70-year-old human.
Both groups of 90-week-old mice were assessed for their cognitive ability to remember the correct route in a maze leading to a food reward. These results were compared with the results of the third group of young mice.
Then, one group of old mice was started on a diet supplemented with GlyNAC, while another group, called the old control group, continued their regular diet without GlyNAC supplementation.
After eight weeks on their respective diets, the animals’ cognitive abilities were reassessed and their brains were analyzed to measure specific brain defects previously linked to cognitive impairment in studies by others.
The results of these analyzes in old mice supplemented with GlyNAC were compared with analyzes of old controls and corresponding data from young mice.
“We are very excited by the results of this study,” Sekhar said. “Compared to young mice, aged mice had cognitive impairments and multiple brain abnormalities, including glutathione deficiency, increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, increased inflammation, genomic damage, and lower levels of brain-supporting factors. Importantly, we found evidence that the brain’s primary fuel This problem is made worse because the brain’s mitochondria, which burn glucose for energy, also do not work well in the brain. , which can result in cognitive decline.”
From Leafy Greens to Omega-3
In old mice, GlyNAC supplementation corrected brain glutathione deficiency, improved brain glucose transporters, reversed mitochondrial dysfunction and improved cognition.
In addition to, GlyNAC supplementation reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and genomic damage and enhanced neurotrophic factors.
“Seeing so many improvements in the brain with GlyNAC supplementation is really exciting because it proves that it may be possible to improve brain health during aging,” Sekhar said. “In the future, we plan to conduct a larger randomized clinical trial in older adults to study the effects of GlyNAC supplementation on improving cognition and brain health during aging.”
Previous rodent studies from the Sekhar lab reported that GlyNAC supplementation improved similar biological defects in the heart, liver, and kidneys, as well as increased lifespan (3).
A recently published randomized clinical trial in older adults provided evidence of similar improvements in skeletal muscle and blood and reversal of signs of aging (2).
The results of this study are consistent with and advance these previous studies by supporting them the beneficial role of GlyNAC supplementation to specifically promote brain health and supports cognitive function in aging.
“Furthermore, our findings may have implications for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment, as similar deficits are reported in these conditions,” Sekhar said. “We are currently evaluating whether older adults with mild cognitive impairment are deficient in glutathione compared to older adults without a diagnosis of cognitive impairment.”
Baylor owns the GlyNAC patent, which it has licensed to Nestlé Health Science. GlyNAC is sold in the United States by Nestlé Health Science under the name CelltrientTM Cellular Protect. Nestlé Health Science did not provide financial or material support for this study.