A new study has zeroed in on a chemical which, when elevated in mice, rejuvenated muscles, with dramatic results.
According to the BBC, the study — published in the journal Cell — focused on a chemical called NAD, which naturally declines as we age. When the researchers raised NAD levels in older mice, they found that their muscles functioned like that of young mice:
After just one week of receiving the medication, 2-year-old mice experienced a reversal in aging that gave them muscles equivalent to those seen in 6-month-old mice, in terms of mitochondrial function, wastage, inflammation and insulin resistance.
Apparently this is the equivalent of a 60-year-old's muscle transforming back into a 20-year-old's muscle. Magic elixir! Fountain of youth! NAD parties for everyone!
But! These mice weren't frolicking around like teenagers. Muscle strength did not improve. And the mice themselves did not change — just the way their muscles functioned, on a cellular level. As it stands, there's no "cure" for aging — no matter what the face cream ads tell you. Still, the scientists want to start clinical trials in 2015 and feel strongly that they're on to something:
Dr Ana Gomes, from the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said: "We believe this is quite an important finding."
Image via Kristo-Gothard Hunor/Shutterstock.