Researchers have demonstrated for the first time ever that decreased oxygen intake, also referred to as “oxygen restriction,” is related to a longer lifespan in laboratory mice, showcasing an unexpected anti-aging potential.
These results are presented in a study by Robert Rogers and associates that was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
The drug metformin or dietary restrictions are just two examples of the chemical compounds and other initiatives that have been identified through research to extend lifespan as having promising effects in lab animals.
Yeast, nematodes, as well as fruit flies have all been shown to live longer when exposed to oxygen restriction. Its effects on mammals, however, are still uncertain.
Rogers and the rest of the team performed laboratory tests with mice that had been bred to age faster than others while exhibiting the typical signs of aging as to investigate the anti aging potential of oxygen limits in mammals.
Their lifespines while living at normal atmospheric oxygen levels (around 21 percent) were compared to the ones of mice transferred to a lower oxygen environment at the age of four weeks (11 percent, which is comparable to that found at an altitude of over 5000 meters).
They discovered that the mice living in the oxygen-restricted environment had an average lifespan of 23.6 weeks as opposed to 15.7 weeks, which was approximately 50 percent longer than the mice in the regular oxygen environment.
The oxygen-restricted mice also had delayed onset of aging-associated neurological deficits.
The same sort of quick aging mice shown in this new study has previously also been shown to live longer when their diet is restricted.
Consequently, the researchers questioned whether oxygen restriction lengthened the mice’s lifespan just by making them consume more food. However, they discovered that oxygen restriction had no effect on appetite, pointing to the possibility of additional mechanisms at work.
These results confirm that oxygen restriction in mammals, possibly even humans, has an anti aging effect.
All that being said, to highlight all the potential advantages and to shed light on the underlying molecular mechanisms, scientists will need to do more in-depth research in the future.
“We find that chronic continuous hypoxia (11% oxygen, equivalent to what would be experienced at Everest Base Camp) extends lifespan by 50% and delays the onset of neurologic debility in a mouse aging model. While caloric restriction is the most widely effective and well-studied intervention to increase lifespan and healthspan, this is the first time that ‘oxygen restriction’ has been demonstrated as beneficial in a mammalian aging model,” Rogers explains.