UH study: Compound found in seafood, algae 'activates' longevity gene

Updated: Mar. 28, 2017 at 5:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii researchers are touting a potential breakthrough in the study of aging.

UH researchers and a local business teamed up to find out if a natural compound could affect the so-called "longevity gene" in mice.

And their results showed promise.

At the John A. Burns School of Medicine on Tuesday, entrepreneur David Watumull joined UH researcher Dr. Bradley Willcox and Dr. Rich Allsopp to discuss the findings.

"This is an important day about how we can work together in Hawaii here to make scientific breakthroughs," said Watumull, CEO of Honolulu-based life sciences company, Cardax.

Allsopp tested the compound Astaxanthin CDX-085 (developed by Cardax) on mice to see what it would do to their so-called longevity gene.

He said a preliminary, two-week study appears to show that the compound activates the gene in mammals.

"To our surprise we found quite a significant effect on the heart tissue, almost a two fold increase," he said.

Wilcox said everyone has the so-called longevity, but only about 1 in 3 people carry a version that's actually associated with longevity.

The compound the researchers investigated appears to activate the gene, making it act like the "longevity version."

Astaxanthin naturally occurs in seafood, and is typically sourced from algae or krill.

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