Lead researcher Zhen-Yu Chen and colleagues report that consuming antioxidants in apples extended the average lifespan of fruit flies by up to 10 per cent. The findings confirm similar results from testing apple anti-oxidants in other animal tests, wrote the researchers.
The researchers from the School of Life Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, discovered that apple antioxidants or polyphenols reversed the levels of various biochemical substances found in older fruit flies. These biochemical markers are used to gauge age-related deterioration and approaching death.
“It was unlikely that the lifespan-prolonging activity of AP (apple polyphenols) in the fruit flies was associated with any changes in food intake as the gustatory assay found no difference in average body weight and stomach redness index between the control and AP fruit flies,” wrote the researchers.
They also found that polyphenols not only prolonged the average lifespan of fruit flies but also helped to preserve their ability to walk and climb.
Chen and colleagues note that the results support those from other studies. They highlighted one study, by Sesso et al published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which women who often ate apples had a 13-22 per cent decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Free radicals or damaging substances generated in the body can cause adverse changes believed to be involved in the aging process and some diseases, wrote the researchers. But antioxidants are known to combat this damage.
No similar studies on apple polyphenols’ ability to extend lifespan have been conducted in either animals or humans, they wrote. But they did highlight a study where apple juice concentrate, administered ad lib in drinking water, compensated for the increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decline in cognitive performance in mice deprived of folate and vitamin E. The study was conducted by Rogers et al and published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.
Rich sources of antioxidants include fruits and vegetables; particularly brightly-colored foods such as apples, tomatoes, broccoli and blueberries.
Fruit flies are routinely used as stand-ins for humans in hundreds of research projects each year.
Source: ACS's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Title: Apple Polyphenols Extend the Mean Lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster
Author: Zhen-Yu Chen et al.