Aging and age-related diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, continue to be a major public health concern worldwide. Recent research has shown that the accumulation of methylglyoxal and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) can cause cellular damage and accelerate the progression of these diseases. Despite their importance, methylglyoxal and AGEs remain understudied due to the lack of drugs or supplements that target them directly. However, a combination of nutrients called GLYLO has shown promising results in reducing methylglyoxal and AGEs in animal studies, leading to the formation of Juvify, a company supporting research on diabetes and aging.
Ten years ago, Professor Pankaj Kapahi became interested in methylglyoxal, a highly reactive molecule produced as a byproduct of glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that methylglyoxal can negatively affect almost all hallmarks of aging, including proteostasis, inflammation, senescence, DNA damage, and mitochondrial function. Furthermore, our ability to detoxify methylglyoxal declines with age and hyperglycemia, making it a major cause of sugar-induced damage in all cells.
In his early studies, Kapahi discovered that TRPA1, a receptor that senses many stimuli like cold and wasabi, also enhances the production of glyoxalases that detoxify methylglyoxal. He also found that alpha-lipoic acid could activate the TRPA1 channel to activate NRF2, a master regulator of detoxification genes, to increase glutathione and glyoxalases to detoxify methylglyoxal.
Kapahi's lab then embarked on a screen to enhance the neuronal protection due to lipoic acid, resulting in the discovery of GLYLO, a combination of lipoic acid, nicotinamide, piperine, pyridoxine, and thiamine that acted in synergy to reduce methylglyoxal and AGEs. GLYLO extended the lifespan of elderly mice, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced sugar intake.
Juvify was formed to support research on diabetes and aging at the Buck Institute and promote awareness of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Although the supplement has shown promising results, Kapahi believes that it is not a magic bullet to slow aging and age-related diseases. The company is currently trying to raise funds to conduct clinical trials with GLYLO to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce aging biomarkers in humans.
The story behind GLYLO highlights the importance of methylglyoxal and AGEs in aging and age-related diseases and the potential of combining nutrients to reduce their accumulation. Although GLYLO has shown promising results in animal studies, further research is needed to determine its effectiveness in humans. Nonetheless, the formation of Juvify demonstrates the importance of supporting research on aging and age-related diseases and promoting healthy lifestyles to slow their progression.