Alpha-ketoglutarate, or AKG for short, is a promising active ingredient in age and longevity research. It is an endogenous molecule that is not found in food. The positive effects of AKG have long been known among competitive athletes, as AKG can promote energy and endurance, among other things. However, the potential effect of AKG on extending healthy lifespan is also becoming better researched and understood.
In this article, we analyze 5 benefits of AKG:
1. building muscle & better energy
2. Improved epigenetic processes
3. AKG increases longevity and prolongs healthy life
4. Delays age-related fertility decline
5. Gray hair regains its original color
How can AKG positively influence health?
The positive effect of AKG intervenes in various biological processes. The body's own molecule therefore has extensive potential to preserve our health. The level of AKG decreases with age. To counteract this, it can be useful to take supplements with AKG.
1. building muscle & better energy
AKG is significantly involved in the conversion of our food into energy energy. Thus, AKG is essential for the metabolism and energy supply of our cells. It also promotes protein synthesis in the body while inhibiting protein breakdown in the muscles.
2. improved epigenetic processes
As we age, the epigenome - the structure around DNA that controls the activation and "silencing" of genes - becomes increasingly dysregulated. This is one of the so-called Hallmarks of Aging.
AKG is an important mediator of epigenetic processes; the enzyme TET (ten-eleven translocation) is largely responsible for the integrity of the epigenome. TET requires AKG to fulfill its function optimally.
What further potential of AKG is currently being explored?
Promising results have already been observed in model organisms, and researchers hope that such findings will be transferable to humans.
3. AKG increases life expectancy and prolongs healthy lifespan
Clinical studies and model trials have demonstrated the potential of AKG to increase life expectancy on several occasions. One such study showed that taking AKG reduced the biological age of subjects by an impressive 8 years(Study). In animal experiments, primarily in mice, it was found that lifespan increased by an average of 12% with AKG supplementation. It is also noteworthy that AKG positively affected the quality of aging by extending the phase of healthy life by over 40%(study).
4. delays the age-related decline in fertility.
A study on mice has shown that long-term AKG supplementation can reduce age-related fertility decline. This is evidenced by increased litter size and pregnancy rate. In addition, AKG preserves telomere length and oocyte quantity and quality.
5. gray hair regains its original color
Graying hair, although harmless, is symbolic of aging. Therefore, there is a great desire to get rid of gray hair. A study showed that mice given AKG in their drinking water had better coat condition, less gray hair and fewer bald spots.
About the results of the Mouse study in the prestigious Cell Journal, lead researcher Dr. Gordon Lithgow, Buck Institute for Research on Aging professor, said:
"The standard for efficacy in aging research is whether interventions actually improve healthspan. We've hit that mark here with a substance [AKG] that is naturally produced by the body and has been shown to be generally safe."
With that, the hope is that these results will translate to human biology.
Age-matched AKG-fed and control mice (AKG: left mouse, control: right mouse). The animals in the picture are 28 months old, and the AKG mouse received AKG for 10 months.