Nutritional supplements are a boon in many ways: past mice studies have shown that a combination of vitamin and mineral supplements may potentially slow down progression of genetic hearing loss in children.
Now, new research has found that a dietary supplement that contains a blend of 30 vitamins and minerals may possibly reduce the development of debilitating neurological diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Being dubbed as the "Fountain of Youth" pill, the supplement may dramatically reverse the effects of aging and prevent the loss of brain cells, researchers said.
Scientists from McMaster University in Canada developed the formula for the supplement back in 2000 with the intention of making it an over-the-counter pill that would combat neurological degeneration and aging.
In order for an ingredient to be added to the supplement, it has to have a history of fighting against any one of the five components involved in the process of neurological aging: inflammation, oxidative stress, membrane dysfunction, mitochondrial deterioration and weakened glucose metabolism.
The ultimate combination for the supplement included 30 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B, C and D, cod liver oil, folic acid, green tea extract and other types of nutraceuticals.
McMaster researchers chronicled the anti-aging potential of the supplement in mice in a series of studies conducted for more than 15 years.
The blend was administered on a piece of bagel to two groups of mice: the first group aged normally while the second group aged rapidly. They received the supplement over the course of their life spans.
It's important to note that the second mice group had widespread loss of more than half of their brain cells. This severely impacted parts of their brain, mimicking cases of high-grade Alzheimer's disease.
All of the lab mice were tested for balance, motor activity, coordination and balance, as well as other types of sensory functions and cognitive tests.
In the end, researchers found that when the second group of mice were given the supplement, severe aging deterioration was completely prevented. In fact, both groups of mice got smarter as they grew older, they said.
Additionally, scientists determined that older mice on the supplement became stronger and more active, and had improved vision, better balance and a boosted sense of smell compared with mice of the same age that were not treated.
Although the supplement will not hit stores immediately, study researcher Jennifer Lemon says human studies will likely begin within two years.
"The findings are dramatic," says Lemon.
Still, knowing the potential effects of the pill raises hope. Lemon adds that their ultimate goal is for the supplement to offset severe illnesses and improve life quality.
Details of the study are published in the journal Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis.
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