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Niacin Molecule Might Help Slow Aging

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Niacin Molecule Might Help Slow Aging

FRIDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A component of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) may help scientists develop anti-aging drugs, new research suggests.

A team at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia found that this component, nicotinamide, is able to bind to a specific site on enzymes called sirtuins and inhibit their activity.

When activated, sirtuins can significantly extend the lives of many kinds of organisms, such as yeast, worms and flies. Sirtuins may also be able to control aging-related metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The research suggests that drugs that prevent nicotinamide from binding to this specific site on sirtuins could have the effect of activating the enzymes.

The study is published in the Feb. 9 issue of Molecular Cell.

"Our findings suggest a new avenue for designing sirtuin-activating drugs," senior author Ronen Marmorstein, a professor in the gene expression and regulation program at Wistar, said in a prepared statement.

"The jury is still out as to whether a drug of this kind might result in longer life in humans, but I'm equally excited by the possibility that such interventions might help counteract age-related health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes," Marmorstein said.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offers advice about healthy aging for older adults.

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