A byproduct that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables might help people live healthier and longer.
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic studied if fisetin, which is a coloring agent, might extend lives. Published in EBioMedicine on September 29, the study showed that it might extend lives by roughly 10 percent.
“We’re looking for drugs that can kill these damaged senescent cells that are very toxic to our bodies and accumulate as we get older,” Laura Niedernhofer, director of the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota and senior author on the paper, told Newsweek. “It turns out that fisetin is a natural product that actually we were able to show very selectively and effectively kills these senescent cells, or at least dials back their bad secretions or inflammatory proteins.”
Cells go through cellular senescence when they reach a certain level of damage as a person ages. When a person is young, their immune system is able to clear those senescent cells, but the older a person is, the harder it is for their body to clear those cells effectively. As the cells accumulate, they can cause inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade tissue. Fisetin is a senolytic, which is a type of drug that could eliminate the senescent cells. To test if fisetin would get rid of those damaged cells, the researchers gave fisetin to aging mice.