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Isoflavone extends life of fruit fly

February 8 2016. A study reported in the February 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal found an association between supplementation of the diet with the isoflavone prunetin and longer life in males of the fly species Drosophila melanogaster. Prunetin is a phytoestrogenic metabolite derived from soy or lima beans that had previously been found to affect cell signaling in experiments with cultured cells, yet little had been known of its effects in living organisms.

"To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to show that prunetin significantly improves both survival and long-term health in male D. melanogaster, the latter of which was indicated by improved climbing activity in aged flies," Anika E. Wagner, PhD, of Christian-Albrechts-University-Kiel in Germany and colleagues announce.

Dr Wagner's team gave adult male flies diets with or without prunetin and monitored them every other day. They found that flies given prunetin had increases in expression of the longevity gene Sirtuin 1, AMPK activation, fitness and average life span compared to the controls. Since female flies live longer than males, the authors suggest prunetin's estrogenicity as a mechanism supporting the effects uncovered by the study.

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