~ 120707 Rhodiola Extends Fruit Fly Life Span

A report published online ahead of print in the journal Rejuvenation Research revealed the finding of researchers the University of California, Irvine that supplementing the diet of fruit flies with the herb Rhodiola rosea extended life span by 10 percent.

Professor of pharmaceutical sciences Mahtab Jafari and associates gave adult fruit flies varying doses one of three Chinese herbs (Lu Duo Wei, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang and San Zhi Pian) or rhodiola mixed in yeast paste. The flies received the herbs every other day for the duration of their lives. A control group received an unsupplemented diet.

While the other three herbs did not affect the flies' life span, rhodiola increased it by an average of 10 percent, equivalent to 3.5 days in males and 3.2 days in females. The authors noted that "correcting for a possible dietary restriction effect still did not eliminate the difference between supplemented and control flies, nor does the effect of Rhodiola depend on dietary manipulation, strongly suggesting that Rhodiola is not a mere dietary restriction mimetic."

Rhodiola, an herb that grows in high altitude Arctic regions of Europe and Asia, is believed to have antioxidant properties, and has been used by many individuals to relieve depression, and improve energy levels and stress response. Dr Jafari is currently evaluating Rhodiola's molecular mechanism by measuring its effect on fruit flies' energy metabolism, oxidative stress and antioxidant defenses, and is initiating studies with Rhodiola in mice.

"Although this study does not present clinical evidence that Rhodiola can extend human life, the finding that it does extend the lifespan of a model organism, combined with its known health benefits in humans, make this herb a promising candidate for further antiaging research," Dr Jafari commented. "Our results reveal that Rhodiola is worthy of continued study, and we are now investigating why this herb works to increase lifespan."

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