Hydrogen sulfide — a naturally occurring substance produced by the body — appears to play a wide-ranging role in staving off aging and may offer potential for use in a range of health-boosting therapies, according to new research out of China.
In a research paper published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, scientists from the University of South China said a growing body of evidence has shown that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) acts as an anti-aging agent by blocking inflammation and the action of disease-causing free radicals in the body — substances targeted by antioxidants and other nutrients.
The new research has determined H2S acts on various genetic processes tied to longevity, including an enzyme, known as SIRT1, that has been tied to life span.
"H2S has been gaining increasing attention as an important endogenous signaling molecule because of its significant effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems," the researchers said.
H2S, produced by the kidneys, plays a variety of important roles in body functions. For instance, it helps maintain clean arteries as a person ages, alleviates inflammation, moderates high blood pressure, and functions as an antioxidant — all of which "imply an important role in aging and age-associated diseases," said lead researcher Zhi-Sheng Jiang.
Researchers have also tied low levels of H2S to age-related cardiovascular disease and neurological problems.
"Data available so far strongly suggest that H2S may become the next potent agent for preventing and ameliorating the symptoms of aging and age-associated diseases," concluded Jiang, suggesting it may one day be taken as a food or dietary supplement.
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