Story at a glance…
Grape seed extract kills senescent cells, a major driver of aging and its diseases.
Mice given grape seed extract lived longer, and mice of all ages performed better physically.
Grape seed extract is sold commercially, and doses up to 2,500 mg have been shown to be well-tolerated and generally safe.
Scientists studying natural compounds to neutralize senescent cells, zombie-like cells that drive inflammation, have demonstrated grape seed extract causes them to self-destruct while leaving normal cells unharmed.
This selective targeting is both rare and deeply sought after by scientists looking for pharmaceutical options to combat age-related morbidity. Driving home their previous observations in isolated cell cultures, applying 20 milligrams per kg of body weight of a flavonoid inside grape seed extract called PCC1 to aged mice, the scientists were able to restore youthful muscle function in a variety of strength and endurance tests, as well as extend overall lifespan.
The mice were equivalent to the ages of 75-90 in humans, and the dose of PCC1 from grape seed extract increased their remaining lifespan by over 60% or increased their total lifespan by approximately 9%.
Senescent cells, which grape seed extract was thought to potentially diminish, are one of the nine hallmarks of aging. They are neither living nor dead, neither function normally, nor directly attack our bodies, but are rather stuck in a kind of cellular purgatory following mechanisms within the cell deactivating its ability to divide; normally following exposure to chemicals or ionizing radiation.
“Transplanting relatively small numbers of senescent cells into young mice is sufficient to cause persistent physical dysfunction, as well as to spread cellular senescence to host tissues,” write the authors of a July 2018 paper on the topic. “Transplanting even fewer senescent cells had the same effect in older recipients and was accompanied by reduced survival, indicating the potency of senescent cells in shortening health- and lifespan”.
In this recent study, Yu Sun and colleagues treated mice which, had just received transplants of senescent cells, with PCC1 and found increased maximal walking speed, grip strength, and hanging endurance. Dramatically, the effect of one week of treatment was detectable two weeks after exposure to the senescent cells, and remained detectable for months after.