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Vitamin B2 supplementation associated with increased lifespan in experimental research

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

April 03 2017. The March 2017 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging reports the finding of China’s Naval Medical Research Institute of a life-extending effect for supplementation with riboflavin (vitamin B2) in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Four hundred fruit flies were divided to receive a life-long diet supplemented with riboflavin or an unenhanced control diet. The number of dead flies from each group were documented every three days until there were no surviving flies.  Reproductive capacity, resistance to oxidative stress, endogenous antioxidant enzyme production and lipofuscin accumulation were also assessed.

Average lifespan was prolonged by 14.1% in the supplemented group compared to the controls. While maximum lifespan of control flies (calculated by determining the average lifespan of the longest surviving 10%) was 75.2 days, those that received riboflavin throughout their lives lived a maximum of 86.6 days. Reproductive capacity increased in supplemented flies at either of two time points.

When the flies were exposed to hydrogen peroxide to induce oxidative stress, those that received riboflavin lived longer than the controls. Activity of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1, an antioxidant enzyme made in the body that declines during aging) was enhanced by riboflavin at 25 and 45 days. Catalase (another antioxidant enzyme) activity was significantly greater in supplemented flies than the control group on day 45. The accumulation of the aging-related pigment lipofuscin was lower in supplemented flies at both days 25 and 45.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the effect of riboflavin supplement on physiological aging was observed,” Y. Zou and colleagues announce.  “If the relationship between riboflavin and anti-aging could be confirmed and the detailed mechanism could be clarified in more future studies, it will provide a novel release strategy for slowing human aging.”

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