Scientists are investigating a new “elixir of life” that has been found to increase the lifespan of mice by 12%.
A cocktail of three amino acids was administered to a series of middle-aged male mice, with average lifespans reaching 869 days, compared to 774 days for untreated mice.
Mice who had been given the amino acids also registered improved stamina and heightened muscle co-ordination.
The results have caused researchers to question whether the treatments could have a similar effect on humans, with elderly or sick people being the main beneficiaries.
Longer survival was accompanied by biological changes which boosted the energy supply to cells and reduced oxidative damage caused by destructive molecules called free radicals.
Dr Enzo Nisoli, from the University of Milan, Italy, who led the study, said: “This is the first demonstration that an amino acid mixture can increase survival in mice.”
Last year scientists showed that the same amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine, could extend the lifespan of single-celled yeast.
The new findings, reported in the journal Cell Metabolism, raise the possibility of amino acid supplements benefiting humans
Copyright Press Association 2010