Herbal Supplement Extends Life Span Under Some Environmental Conditions
April 16, 2015
Genetic studies indicate that aging is modulated by a great number of genetic pathways. We have used Drosophila longevity and stress assays to test a multipath intervention strategy. To carry out this strategy, we supplemented the flies with herbal extracts (SC100) that are predicted to modulate the expression of many genes involved in aging and stress resistance, such as mTOR, NOS, NF-KappaB, and VEGF. When flies were housed in large cages with SC100 added, daily mortality rates of both male and female flies were greatly diminished in mid to late life. Surprisingly, SC100 also stabilized midlife mortality rate increases so as to extend the maximum life span substantially beyond the limits previously reported for D. melanogaster. Under these conditions, SC100 also promoted robust resistance to partial starvation stress and to heat stress. Fertility was the same initially in both treated and control flies, but it became significantly higher in treated flies at older ages as the fertility of control flies declined. Mean and maximum life spans of flies in vials at the same test site were also extended by SC100, but the life spans were short in absolute terms. In contrast, at an independent test site where stress was minimized, the flies exhibited much longer mean life spans, but the survival curves became highly rectangular and the effects of SC100 on both mean and maximum life spans declined greatly or were abolished. The data indicate that SC100 is a novel herbal mix with striking effects on enhancing Drosophila stress resistance and life span in some environments, while minimizing mid to late life mortality rates. They also show that the environment and other factors can have transformative effects on both the length and distribution of survivorship, and on the ability of SC100 to extend the life span.
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