6 plant extracts pair up to slow down aging in yeast — and maybe humans, according to new study

Concordia researcher finds longevity could be promoted with certain combinations of natural chemicals.
March 5, 2019
Vladimir Titorenko: “These plant extracts and their combinations could delay the onset and progression of diseases with human aging.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all lived to a ripe old age without common maladies like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s?

On a mission to slow down the onset of age-related disorders, a Concordia researcher recently discovered 21 plant extracts that delay aging in yeast more efficiently than any known chemical molecule. Yeast has a similar cellular aging process to humans, so it’s the best cellular model to understand how the anti-aging process takes place.

Now, building on his previous research, Vladimir Titorenko, a biology professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, discovered that when six of these age-delaying plant extracts are combined in certain pairs, they significantly amplify their efficiency in each other.

His findings were recently published in Oncotarget in an article co-authored by Titorenko and the Quebec-based biotech company Idunn Technologies. TransBIOTech at the CEGEP de Lévis-Lauzon also participated in the studies.

“We have reason to expect that some of these plant extracts and their combinations — all of which are classified by Health Canada as safe for human consumption — can delay the onset and progression of diseases with human aging,” says Titorenko, whose work is devoted to investigating molecular mechanisms by which mutations, diets and natural chemicals delay aging of cells.

“If our expectation is correct, this could have a profound impact.”

Vladimir Titorenko, biology professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Vladimir Titorenko, biology professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

The yeast study: willow bark, gingko biloba and more

Titorenko’s team works with plant extracts (PE) used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The six PEs chosen for the study were PE 4 (Cimicifuga racemosa), PE 5 (Valeriana officinalis L.), PE 6 (Passiflora incarnata L.), PE 8 (Ginkgo biloba), PE 12 (Apium graveolens L.) and PE 21 (the bark of Salix alba, or willow bark). The 15 other pairs will be tested in a later study.

The new proof-of-concept study tested 27 possible pairwise combinations of these six PE, as well as one PE mixed with spermidine and resveratrol. Researchers noted their effect on the lifespan of budding yeast.

“We observed a synergistic effect on the extent of aging delay only when each of the two components of the combination targets a different component of the signalling network of longevity regulation in budding yeast,” explains Titorenko.

Having proven his hypothesis, he hopes to continue building on the research, testing the remaining 15 PE not examined in this most recent study.

“Also, in collaboration with others, we’re currently testing whether any of these plant extracts and their combinations can have aging-delaying and heal-improving effects in cultured human cells and in mice models of obesity and premature aging,” says Titorenko. “This is the first step toward assessing if any of these plant extracts and their combinations can delay the onset and progression of diseases associated with human aging.”

Recently, Concordia signed an intellectual property agreement with the study’s collaborators, Idunn Technologies and TransBIOTech. Éric Simard, a co-author of the article who is Idunn Technologies CEO and author of a new book on healthy longevity, explains that these aging-delaying PE act as caloric restriction mimetics that weaken the primary aging pathway.

Idunn Technologies has more than 1,200 points of sale including Jean Coutu, Uniprix, Brunet, Proxim and Familiprix for their Vitoli healthy aging products, which contain several aging-delaying plant extracts discovered in collaboration with Concordia. 

This study was supported by the Applied Research and Development-Collaborative Research and Development joint grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Concordia University Research Chair Fund, a Concordia University graduate fellowship award and the Concordia University Merit Scholarship.

Read the full study, “Pairwise combinations of chemical compounds that delay yeast chronological aging through different signaling pathways display synergistic effects on the extent of aging delay.”



Patrick Lejtenyi
Public Affairs
514-848-2424, ext. 5068

Back to top

© Concordia University