Older adults who take an antioxidant supplement that targets mitochondria can experience changes in their blood vessels that make them resemble those of younger people, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. The study “suggests that therapies like this may hold real promise for reducing the risk of age-related cardiovascular disease,” Matthew Rossman, the study’s lead author, said in a press statement.
He and fellow researchers from the University of Colorado recruited 20 healthy men and women who ranged in age from 60 to 79. For six weeks half of the subjects took a 20-milligram daily dose of a commercially available supplement, MitoQ, which is made by chemically altering a natural antioxidant to make it cling to cell mitochondria. The others took a placebo. After a two-week break, the two groups switched roles.
When the subjects took the supplement, their arteries’ ability to dilate — an indicator of vascular health — increased by 42 percent. Rossman said the change led to a 13 percent reduction in heart disease.
He plans to launch a longer-term study that will include a larger number of subjects.
The research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, with financial support from the supplement’s manufacturer.