Paul Robbins, PhD, associate director of the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and co-senior author of “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan” published in EBioMedicine.
Bottom Line: It’s called fisetin, a flavonoid flying under the radar
Move over, vitamin C. Step aside, collagen. There’s a new micronutrient stealing center stage. It’s the flavonoid fisetin, and it’s starting to get its share of attention as a promising way to slow down aging.
Yes, that’s what we said. Previously, lab studies on animals and on human cells had found that fisetin can reduce diabetes complications, protect against stroke and enhance memory. Fisetin also has been shown to relieve allergic reactions by inhibiting cytokine production.
But now we can add one more benefit: Slowing down the aging process and increasing the prime-of-life years. When researchers from University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic gave fisetin to older mice, the animals experienced a rejuvenation and longer-than-average span of time during which they were healthy (before any chronic diseases set in)—what researchers call their healthspan. The study looked at 10 flavonoids in all, each with the potential to stop the aging process, but it was fisetin that stood out as the most potent.
In our bodies, cells go through an aging process known as cellular senescence, in which the cell stops dividing. These types of cells have been linked to many age-related diseases. Certain flavonoids have been shown to help the body remove these cells, with fisetin being the most effective.
So where can you get it and how much do you need? Clinical trials are under way to help find the best human dosages for fisetin’s different benefits—it’s likely that a higher amount is needed for antiaging than for enhancing memory, for instance. It’s found naturally in (in order of richness) strawberries, apples, persimmons, lotus root, onions, grapes, kiwis, peaches and cucumbers, but current thinking is that it will take more food than you can comfortably eat every day to get enough fisetin to fully reap its antiaging benefits. You can already buy concentrated fisetin supplements, generally in 100 mg tablets, but there are no guidelines stating whether that’s the ideal amount. To give an idea of what that amount translates to in food, you’d need to eat a pound of strawberries to get 100 mg of fisetin—but at just 150 calories, that could be a wise choice.
In fact, despite the open questions on dosing, there’s no reason not to choose fisetin-rich foods to get your recommended five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day…you’ll also get the benefits of the many other nutrients in these foods.