Mitochondria are our cells’ energy dynamos. Descended from bacteria that colonized other cells about 2 billion years, they get flaky as we age. A prominent theory of aging holds that decaying of mitochondria is a key driver of aging. While it’s not clear why our mitochondria fade as we age, evidence suggests that it leads to everything from heart failure to neurodegeneration, as well as the complete absence of zipping around the supper table.
Recent research suggests it may be possible to reverse mitochondrial decay with dietary supplements that increase cellular levels of a molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). But caution is due: While there’s promising test-tube data and animal research regarding NAD boosters, no human clinical results on them have been published.
NAD is a linchpin of energy metabolism, among other roles, and its diminishing level with age has been implicated in mitochondrial deterioration. Supplements containing nicotinamide riboside, or NR, a precursor to NAD that’s found in trace amounts in milk, might be able to boost NAD levels. In support of that idea, half a dozen Nobel laureates and other prominent scientists are working with two small companies offering NR supplements.
Mitochondria: n. 线粒体
dynamos: n. <电>(尤指直流)发电机
flaky: adj. 薄片的；薄而易剥落的
prominent: adj. 著名的
decay: vi. 衰退，衰减
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide): n.烟酰胺腺嘌呤二核苷酸；辅酶
linchpin: n. 轮辖；关键
NR (nicotinamide riboside): n.烟酰胺核糖甙
precursor: n. 前期形式
laureate: n. 桂冠诗人；得奖者