Age is the predominant risk factor for most, if not all, chronic diseases, which affect quality of life and can be incredibly challenging and costly to treat. Because of this, much emphasis in the personal health and wellness space is devoted to prolonging healthspan, the period of disease-free time during the lifetime. Rather than trying to impact one chronic disease at a time, would it not be more prudent to treat the root cause of all diseases?
Cellular senescence: A hallmark of ageing
The field of geroscience (the study of ageing) has adopted the stance that if we can target ageing, then we may be able to delay or alleviate the severity of age-related diseases. Ageing consists of multiple pillars, or hallmarks, one of which is known as cellular senescence. When cells become stressed, they can activate specific cellular fates, such as cellular senescence, whereby a cell completely loses the ability to divide. At least initially, this can be viewed as a positive from the context that a senescent cell has been prevented from possibly becoming a cancer cell. The only issue is that the senescent cells are active and produce large amounts of inflammation that can disrupt the ability of the organs to repair and regenerate. And they do not want to die, that is why scientists have nicknamed them “zombie cells.”
Fisetin fights ‘zombie cells’
Just like the zombies who multiply in the movies, these senescent cells can “infect” or spread senescence to other cells both near and far away by releasing inflammatory molecules. However, recently, a class of compounds called senolytics have been discovered. These compounds can selectively eliminate senescent cells. One of these is a polyphenol flavonoid called fisetin. Found in certain foods such as apples and strawberries, fisetin has been shown to reduce the senescent cell burden that can accumulate with age or disease. Preclinical studies showed that a diet supplemented with fisetin reduced many measurements of cellular senescence including decreased inflammation, age-related pathologies and tissue dysfunction. It even extended lifespan in animals. Fisetin can also function as an antioxidant to lower oxidative stress in tissues. Currently, fisetin is being tested in clinical trials for COVID-19, frailty, and osteoarthritis.
Supplementing is a Priority
While fisetin and other flavonoids can be found in foods, the amounts needed for possible health benefits are not practical from diet alone. Therefore, supplementation is the only practical way to consume useful amounts of this natural senolytic. I recently began advising SRW Laboratories to help develop a dietary supplement called Cel3 Renewal, which contains fisetin and other compounds that aid in clearing out senescent cells. Educating consumers on the biological benefit of nutraceuticals that are backed by strong, empirical science is paramount when it comes to combating the potential of disease that often comes with ageing. Nutraceuticals like fisetin in combination with healthy lifestyle choices can create a potent combination that could reduce the pathological processes of ageing, potentially yielding positive effects on both healthspan and lifespan. Fisetin is a nutraceutical still in its infancy stage, but one that should be prioritized in the battle against ageing.