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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can the Japanese 'Anti-Aging' Plant Ashitaba Really Slow Aging?

In the recent years, a japanese plant, commonly known as ashitaba has become popular as an anti-aging plant! This was exacerbated by a recent study published in Nature Communications, where the researchers looked at certain anti-aging compounds in the plant which could potentially halt the effect of aging on the body.

    What did the researchers finds?

    The researchers studied the plant angelica keiskei koidzumi, known colloquially as ashitaba, which for centuries has been prescribed in traditional practices for various conditions ranging from heartburn to hay fever.

    Ashitaba contains plenty of nutrients, including the nutrient of interest, a flavonoid called 4,4-dimethoxychalcone (DMC).

    DMC, according to the researchers of the study, is a natural compound with anti-aging properties which could slow down the cell degeneration or cell aging process. This degeneration process can lead to chronic diseases such as heart diseases or cancer.

    In the study, DMC increased the lifespan on worms and fruit flies by 20 percent. In mice, DMC is attributed to protecting the heart during a blood flow blockage.

    In human cells, DMC is attributed to slowing down senescence. Senescence is a process that causes cells to stop replicating and start growing permanently. It is a turning point in a person's aging process. Once it starts, the body enter the permanent aging phase.

    According to the researchers, DMC slows aging by inducing autophagy. Autophagy is a process by which the body recycles damaged cells and replaces them with healthy new cells. According to the researchers if DMC can slow aging by inducing autophagy in people then it could also help people to live longer with fewer non-communicable chronic diseases.

    Can Ashitaba Really Slow Aging in Humans?

    Unfortunately we do not have a clear answer yet! The researches conducted so far are still in the very initial stages and there is very little evidence to support the anti-aging claims in humans. Most of the results are based on mice or animal studies.

    However, some other studies suggest ashitaba may have many other potential benefits! One study found that animals consuming ashitaba produce less stomach acid. This could be a potential treatment for heartburn. Another study found that ashitaba in rats may help to lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as total cholesterol and triglycerides. The studies face the same limitation as in the previous study in that these have not been conducted on human beings. At best, these studies have used human cells. As such, it is difficult to predict whether ashitaba will have the safe effect in real life scenarios instead of controlled laboratory conditions.

    Another important point that we have to remember is that most plants, including ashitaba contain many other nutrients and antioxidants other than DMC. The combined effect of all these nutrients and antioxidants may be the key to the plant's powerful regeneration effects.


    So should you take ashitaba? Well, it certainly is a popular food in Japan! So perhaps you could add it as a healthy plant to your existing diet. You could also buy ashitaba extracts in the form of ashitaba tea or extract powders on Amazon! It is also eat according to the need of the body as our nutritional needs change with aging!

    That's all for today!
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