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Biological Chemistry

Dietary Supplements Could Keep Biological Clocks On Time

Human health: Polyamines could help keep circadian rhythms from slowing down as we age

by Sarah Everts
October 12, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 40

As we age, our circadian rhythms tend to fall out of sync with the normal 24-hour day. This dysregulation is associated with a variety of digestion and metabolism problems as well as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Although researchers suspect the slowing down of an aging person’s biological clock has many causes, there might be a simple solution: dietary supplements. A team of scientists led by Gad Asher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel, discovered that polyamines such as spermidine found in foods including soybeans, green peas, and blue cheese can help restore normal circadian rhythms in aging mice (Cell Metab. 2015, DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.09.011). The team determined that polyamine levels in elderly mice drop at the same time their circadian clocks start slowing down. Feeding animals the supplement restored their circadian clocks to the timing of younger mice. If the work extends to humans—and the researchers caution that this has not yet been established—supplementing with polyamines could help keep biological clocks running on time.

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