Cycloastragenol is one of the more interesting nutrients to hit the market in the last 10 years or so, and is used within the coveted, but controversial supplement TA-65. Its use is similar to that of astragaloside, which is mostly for the effect it’s shown to have on telomerase and aging. Studies have linked low telomerase levels as well as shortened telomeres to all sorts of health conditions and diseases, as well as quickened aging. Telomeres are sometimes referred to as shoelace caps of the DNA ends, protecting the integrity and functioning of the strands. The research on cycloastragenol is interesting, but slightly controversial.
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for discovering how the telomerase enzyme helps rebuild our telomeres. This piece of research was a big breakthrough for the field of aging and its role in health. Experiments showed that mice which are genetically engineered to lack telomerase age very quickly and become weak, frail, and diseased. When the enzyme was replaced, mice quickly bounced back, almost miraculously so. (1)
Dr. Michael Fossel, a clinical medicine professor at the Michigan State University, said that the telomerase enzyme aids in the maintaining the length of our important telomeres, and helps stabilize chromosomes during cellular division and replication. Fossel states that doing these things can help reset the genetic clock in healthy cells, while having a positive influence on aging and the human life span. More research certainly needs to be done though to see to what extent it can influence those factors in the human body. (2) A study done at UCLA by Rita Effros and her colleagues showed that cycloastragenol activates telomerase in human cells, and was published in The Journal of Immunology. Rodent studies have failed to show increased longevity with cycloastragenol though.
Cycloastragenol may help improve immune functioning, and may have a potent effect on depression. Mice showed a strong decrease in depression when taking cycloastragenol for only a short amount of time. (3) The dangerous free radical known as ROS (reactive oxygen species (although essential in small amounts) decreased when supplementing with cycloastragenol. Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol helped improve endothelial tissue and functioning when taken together, while enhancing the master exercise molecule, AMPK! (4) AMPK is a master switch that governs many processes in the body and has anti-aging properties. Some people say this supplement can help skin look better and wrinkles to decrease.
Suggested use: 7.5-10mgs twice per day with water. Results may be enhanced if taken with astragaloside IV, and taken with piperine and ginger.