Can oranges extend your life?
It could very well be that oranges have a life-extending effect. Chinese nutrition scientists at South China University of Technology write this in Molecules. The Chinese did experiments with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a popular model organism in anti-aging research.
The researchers bought orange from the supermarket and used them as raw materials for their extracts. The researchers then put those extracts at different concentrations in the culture medium of their nematodes, and then determined how long the animals could live.
The figure below shows which substances were contained in the extracts according to HPLC. Most subtances will probably be familiar to the readers of this free web magazine. Click on the figure for a larger version.
At a concentration of 100, 200 and 400 mg of orange extract per ml of nutrient medium, the worms lived 10.5, 18.0 and 26.2 percent longer, respectively, than worms that were not exposed to extracts.
The extracts not only extended the life span of the nematodes, but also their health span. The animals remained vital longer.
The researchers determinded that oranges extend lifespan in two different ways. On the one hand, they inhibit the 'aging gene' age-1, stimulating the production of detoxifying and protective enzymes such as SOD and catalase. These enzymes clean up aggressive molecules and prevent them from damaging cells. At the same time, oranges also activate the MAPK pathway, stimulating cells to develop, grow and divide. [Figure]
"These findings revealed that orange extracts have potential anti-aging effects through extending the lifespan, enhancing stress resistance, and promoting the healthspan," the researchers write. They make no secret of thinking about commercial applications of their discovery. They call orange extract "a potential anti-aging candidate in the food industry".
The researchers were funded by the Chinese government.
Molecules. 2020 Jan 15;25(2):351.
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