Hydrogen peroxide was found to be effective against aging

Active oxygen forms, known as oxidants, in high concentrations are harmful to the body because they speed up its aging. However, a research study conducted by Swedish scientists at Chalmers University of Technology shows that low levels of hydrogen peroxide oxidant can stimulate an enzyme that, on the contrary, helps slow down the aging of cells. It has been published in the eLife journal.

During metabolism, the human body naturally produces oxidants, which in large quantities can cause serious damage to DNA, cell membranes and proteins. Therefore, our cells have formed powerful protective mechanisms (synthesis of antioxidants) to get rid of them.

Scientists from Sweden conducted an experiment on yeast cells and found that in small amounts, hydrogen peroxide , a substance often used to whiten hair and teeth well known as oxidant can actually slow down the aging process when cells are subjected to caloric restriction. This is done by stimulating the activity of Tsa1, an enzyme that is part of a group of antioxidants called peroxyredoxins.

It is already known that caloric restriction can significantly prolong the life of many different organisms, from yeast to monkeys. Now it is clear that it is the stimulation of peroxyredoxins. The Tsa1 enzyme uses small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to reduce the activity of the central signaling pathway, when cells are fed less calories than usual. As a result, it slows down cell division and the processes involved in forming building blocks of cells. Cellular stress protection is also activated, which helps cells to age more slowly.

In this way, scientists are one step closer to understanding the underlying mechanisms  by which antioxidants help to slow down aging. This may lead to new research, for example, on the development of new drugs that stimulate peroxyredoxins in the body, in order to combat negative age processes.

Photo: MARTINA BUTORAC/CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Nov. 10, 2020, 10:48 a.m.

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