Mitochondrial Theory of Aging Yields Startling Results

Breakthrough research has even shown a combination of these amazing nutrients has the potential of not only preventing aging, but of even reversing some signs of aging.

  • Enjoy more vitality
  • Prevent and arrest degenerative diseases
  • Recharge your energy levels
  • Pump up brain power
  • Outsmart Father Time
  • Safeguard your vision and hearing

Would you like to live to a ripe old age and maintain a sharp mind…good eyesight and hearing…and overall health?

If your answer is “Yes” (and of course it is!), then continue reading to find out how!

It sounds like science fiction, but recently a team of scientists discovered one of the keys to what happens to the human body as it gets older—and how to delay and even reverse the aging process. We now know how and why cells deteriorate. And thanks to this discovery, we now have the power to age more slowly, live longer with better health, and even reverse some of the signs of aging!

Read our breakthrough report on how you can control how you age with a powerful, cutting-edge longevity supplement…that allows you to improve your odds of living longer and healthier.

How long do you want to live?

Over the centuries, there have been plenty of myths about the fountain of youth. Finally, we’ve got the groundbreaking research to take you where everyone has dreamed of…and few have been.

You’ve read about products that restore memory, skin elasticity, and agility. And, for the most part, they deliver at least some of their promises. But there’s never been a special combination of ingredients that actually has been tested and proven in a lab to slow down aging and reverse damage that’s already been done.

Now it really is possible to extend your life by decades…and live them in good health.

Based on published research of internationally renowned scientists, Dr. Bruce Ames and his team at the University of California, Berkeley, we now know that the combination of two unique antioxidant dietary supplements supercharges your cells’ energy production in order to maximize memory, health, and longevity. This breakthrough research has even shown that the combination of these amazing nutrients has the potential of not only preventing aging, but of even reversing some signs of aging.

Cellular health and aging

One of the last unanswered questions in biology is how we age. And with Baby Boomers reaching their 50s, there are millions of people searching for the key to ward off wrinkles, aches and pains, and improve their odds of living longer.

Every once and while we read about centenarians like Elizabeth Pampo Israel, reported to be living in the Dominican Republic at the ripe old age of 127. Or Maud Farris-Luse, who recently died at age 115, and was recognized last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living person.

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While the average human life span over the past 2,000 years has risen from about 30 years to almost 80 years, the maximum potential life span of humans has remained near 120 years.

Although most of our peers probably won’t make it to 120, recent exciting discoveries have brought us closer than ever to understanding the aging process and re-igniting the possibility that it really is possible to extend our life span and the life span of our children and grandchildren.

The Free Radical Theory of Aging – a new perspective

In the mid-1950s, Denham Harman, MD, PhD, developed the Free Radical Theory of Aging, which explains that cells eventually break down due to free radical attack resulting from oxidative stress. If you can imagine the body as a battlefield in which the cells are attacked by free radicals and damaged by the enemy, oxidation, then you have a pretty good idea of the scenario.

And if you could take a closer look at those besieged cells under a microscope, you’d see the molecules or atoms losing electrons. The molecules or atoms that accept these electrons are called oxidizing agents, and they have the potential to damage the cell’s DNA, proteins and lipids. By-products of lipid peroxidation can result in cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and numerous other diseases associated with aging. Over time, the cells die, and inevitably we age and die too.

Aging begins in the mitochondria

The good news is that as science has advanced in its examination of the mechanisms and causes of aging, we’ve gained information about this mysterious but inevitable process. We now know that research into the causes of aging has pinpointed the mitochondria as the major source of free radicals.12

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are the energy producing structures inside cells that enable them to function and repair and maintain themselves. In many ways, mitochondria are like car engines. A cell cannot function without mitochondria and a car cannot function without an engine. A car may look great on the outside and have a lousy engine. Inevitably, though, the car will end up in the shop more often than it is on the road.

Likewise, a human body with aging mitochondria will lose its ability to stay young and healthy…because those mitochondria will negatively affect the cells that make up tissues and organs, resulting in a slowing down of the entire system.

But just as you can give new life to the car by rebuilding its engine, it’s possible to rejuvenate mitochondria and cellular health.

Recent scientific discoveries have revealed the role that deteriorating mitochondria play in the life and death of cells and organisms in the process of aging. Even more exciting is the discovery of the first effective nutritional supplements that can revitalize the mitochondria, thus strengthening our cells’ ability to produce the energy necessary for slowing or even reversing the effects of aging.

The Mitochondrial Theory of Aging

Mitochondria contain their own DNA, or genetic material, which is more susceptible to damage than our cells’ DNA. Additionally, mitochondria play a major role in programmed cell death (apoptosis), which helps to destroy damaged cells before they become either cancerous and/or less able to deal with their own production of damaging free radicals.3

One of the biggest surprises about the fundamental role mitochondria play in aging was a result of early cloning experiments. One study done at Lund University, Sweden, showed that cloned sheep aged prematurely because they inherited cells with aged, damaged mitochondria.4

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We now know that research into the causes of aging has pinpointed the mitochondria as the major source of free radicals.

The Free Radical Theory of Aging has evolved into the Mitochondrial Theory of Aging

This theory states that over time mitochondria accumulate damage to their own genetic material. This results in a progressive loss of the amount of mitochondria capable of providing sufficient energy for the optimal functioning of the cells. Ultimately, this leads to cell death and aging.56

Not surprisingly, with the knowledge gained into mitochondrial aging and its consequences, scientists have sought the means to protect and rejuvenate mitochondrial functions as a potential anti-aging treatment. Luckily, some major findings have shown that it is possible to restore and maintain youthful energy production of mitochondria, even in old animals, opening up a new chapter in humankind’s endless quest for an attainable “fountain of youth”.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supercharges Cellular Energy Production

Based on dozens of studies, we now know that Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) supercharges cellular energy production in order to maximize memory, health, and longevity.

What is Acetyl-L-Carnitine?

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in the body. It transports fats to the mitochondria and is also available as a dietary supplement.

What does it do?

Over the course of 30 years of biochemical and clinical research, we’ve learned that ALC is a natural metabolite in our physiology and an effective treatment for age-related mental impairment. And just recently, breakthrough research has indicated that ALC is an important anti-aging nutrient!

Here’s an overview of the important discoveries relating to ALC in the past 30 years:


  • ALC was found to increase acetycholine production in the brain, which plays an important role in memory and brain function.


  • Research definitively showed that ALC improved memory in animals and people.
  • After development of ALC as a pharmaceutical in Europe, numerous studies confirmed the clinical effects of ALC on memory, while other research was discovering that most of ALCs’ effect was due to its ability to improve mitochondrial function.
  • By the late 1980’s, it became apparent that the positive effects of ALC in so many animal and human studies were far reaching. Many of these studies showed that ALC could prevent or even reverse numerous age-related deficiencies and changes in neurological function and brain cell structure, including the prevention of nerve deterioration and restoration of nerve function in areas of the brain critical to memory.


  • Human clinical research dramatically increased during this period.
  • By the late 1990’s, it became apparent that the vast amount of different effects of ALC on neurotransmitters and brain cell health likely had a common basis—the beneficial actions of ALC on the cells’ ability to maintain and restore mitochondrial function in spite of aging.

Coincidentally, at the same time these discoveries were taking place all over the world, we were learning more and more about mitochondria and their vital importance in health and aging.

The benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine supplementation

ALC has been shown to:

  • Protect the brain from the effects of aging
  • Improve performance in normal healthy humans7
  • Improve cognition by enhancing the production of acetylcholine
  • Delay the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease and enhance overall performance in some individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease89
  • Improve cerebral blood flow to the brain1011
  • Counteract depression in the elderly12

We’ve examined how it’s possible to increase mitochondria function with supplementation of Acetyl-L-Carnitine. But since we know that mitochondria are also the source of free radical production, the question remaining is this:

How is it possible to re-energize the mitochondria without increasing free radical production?

Many of the damaging free radicals generated within cells are formed in the mitochondria during energy production. As you restore their energy producing capacity with ALC, a dramatic increase in free radical activity follows.

This increases the amount of damage occurring within the cells and reduces any long-term benefit. Thus, while the amazing properties of ALC are truly a revolution in dietary supplements, the most desired anti-aging strategy would be to restore mitochondria function AND lower the level of free radical production coming from the mitochondria.

Reaping the full benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Recently, it was discovered that there are some antioxidants that could partially restore mitochondrial function in old animals and decrease free radical production at the same time, even when taken together with ALC. Unfortunately, most of them are synthetic chemicals that aren’t safe for human consumption. All of them except one! Luckily this natural antioxidant is very well researched and safe and approved for human consumption.

Lipoic Acid’s unique antioxidant and cellular protective properties have been proven to slow down and reverse the aging process.

What is Lipoic Acid?

Lipoic Acid is produced by the body in trace amounts. It’s a vitamin-like compound, which is often called the “universal antioxidant”. This is because, unlike most other antioxidants that offer protection only for specific water-soluble or fat-soluble environments, Lipoic Acid offers protection in both cellular environments, providing antioxidant protection to all parts of our cells and body.13

What’s special about Lipoic Acid?

In the body, Lipoic Acid is converted to its reduced form, DihydroLipoic Acid. DihydroLipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant which makes Lipoic Acid invaluable in recycling or restoring other oxidized forms of antioxidants—including vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, and CoQ10—back to their active states. Lipoic Acid also crosses cell membranes and works as an antioxidant in both water and lipid parts of the body, including the brain.14

Lipoic Acid’s antioxidant benefits

Because of Lipoic Acid’s unique abilities as a natural, broad-spectrum antioxidant, research into its effects quickly branched out after its development in Germany in the 1970s as a treatment for diabetic complications. For this use Lipoic Acid has been found to be highly effective and is routinely given to diabetics in Europe.
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Some of the findings from this extensive research concluded that Lipoic Acid has the potential to:

  • Lower body levels of toxic metals, especially mercury.15
  • Help prevent heart disease by protecting LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidation by copper.16
  • Promote brain and nerve cell health by stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).17

But the most intriguing discovery was Lipoic Acid’s anti-aging effects in old animals. Lipoic Acid was also found to:

  • Improve memory in aged animals by reversing age-related brain cell receptor defects.18{19}
  • Protect brain cells from damage caused by toxins and chemicals.20
  • Recycle CoQ10 back to its antioxidant form in the body. This enhances its antioxidant protection.21
  • Normalize elevated lipid peroxide levels in aged animals, reducing the risk of oxidation damage, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.22
  • Restore antioxidant protection in old animals to normal, young animal levels.22

Breakthrough research proves Lipoic Acid has the potential to reverse some of the fundamental signs of aging and arrest degenerative conditions.

As you recall from our earlier discussion, an important factor in the aging process is the deterioration of mitochondrial function. The mitochondria are the powerhouses inside all cells. They produce the energy that enables cells to function, repair, and maintain themselves. As we age, mitochondria start to lose their ability to efficiently generate energy, and since our energy comes from this source within our cells, we begin to lose our energy. Therefore, our remaining mitochondrial function becomes less efficient, and our health begins to suffer.

The most exciting results from recent experiments done on aging animals have shown that Lipoic Acid:

  • Improves age-related hearing loss.23
  • Increases tissue levels of nucleic acids and proteins, both of which decrease with aging.24
  • Restores mitochondrial and cellular antioxidant protection—which are greatly diminished as a result of aging.25
  • Prevents the toxicity of beta-amyloid peptide, a prime culprit in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.26

While decades of research have shown Lipoic Acid to be a “universal antioxidant” with expected beneficial effects, the discoveries that Lipoic Acid can restore numerous biological functions that are diminished with aging are truly unexpected.

If Lipoic Acid is indeed able to help preserve hearing, slow Alzheimer’s Disease, restore mitochondrial function, and exert its powerful and unique antioxidant protection throughout the body, just imagine the range of possibilities that this amazing nutrient can offer all of us concerned with maintaining and preserving our health as we age.

The breakthrough discovery of combining two power-packed nutrients…

Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine:
Mitochondria Superchargers

Inevitably, with independent researchers working on the effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Lipoic Acid, it was only a matter of time before someone would discover that the complementary actions of the two nutrients go hand in hand, making them an ideal supplement to take together.

Just recently, in February 2002, Dr. Bruce Ames and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, published a series of groundbreaking studies that show how:

Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine work together to supercharge our cells’ mitochondria…so that we now have the capability to live a long, productive life with energy to spare!

How do Lipoic Acid (LA) and Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) work together?

The first studies to examine this relationship didn’t even use the two supplements together. Instead, it looked at the effects of taking them individually. Both ALC and LA seem to work by improving mitochondria function, but they differ in how they do it:

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) is more potent at restoring mitochondria energy production. The problem is, it doesn’t prevent the increase in free radicals that accompanies the energy production. In the long run, this increased free-radical production limits ALC’s potential benefits and will cause more damage to the cell and mitochondria.

Lipoic Acid (LA) is better at reducing cellular and mitochondria free radical protection and has been shown to restore antioxidant protection in old animals to the levels found in young animals.

However, scientists were interested in combining ALC and LA to see if this combination would have powerful results. It did—and has now been shown to be a breakthrough anti-aging dietary supplement!

In order to understand how the two supplements work together, it’s important to first understand how Lipoic Acid works.

The different forms of Lipoic Acid

Like many dietary supplements, Lipoic Acid exists in different forms. In the body, Lipoic Acid is found only in its “R” form. Because only tiny quantities of Lipoic Acid are found naturally in animals and plants, the form that has always been manufactured, researched and sold is made synthetically and contains equal amounts of the “R” and “S” forms.

Vitamin E is another example of a vitamin that’s sold both in a natural form and a synthetic form. While the natural and synthetic forms are mirror images of each other and usually have similar functions in the body, they can differ in their biological actions. For example, it is now known that natural vitamin E is utilized by the body more efficiently than synthetic vitamin E, even though they both have the same antioxidant power. Early on in Lipoic research, it became apparent that the natural and synthetic forms of Lipoic Acid did have different effects in the body.

Think of it this way: you can’t fit your right hand into a left-handed glove. If you wore your gloves on the wrong hands, you wouldn’t be able to function normally-simply because the gloves wouldn’t fit.

The same thing happens in the body. Your body will not accept a left-handed compound to do the job a right-handed one is designed to do, and vice versa. A compound that’s the wrong shape cannot work as well in your body as one that’s the right shape. And the right shape is the one that the body recognizes and fully utilizes.

Natural Lipoic Acid vs. Synthetic Lipoic Acid

For years, the manufacturers of nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals have produced a synthetic form of Lipoic Acid. The vast majority of research in the past 30 years has used this synthetic form, and this is the type of Lipoic Acid used as a pharmaceutical in Europe to prevent and treat nerve damage in diabetics.

The synthetic form contains both R and S Lipoic Acid. However it was discovered that in enhancing glucose uptake, all the activity was found only in the natural R form of LA, and the S form could actually INHIBIT glucose uptake.

The synthetic form of LA containing both R and S Lipoic Acid had a beneficial effect, but not as much as the R form alone. Eventually, pure R-Lipoic Acid became available to researchers, and scientists discovered that it is a better form of the nutrient all around, which makes it the logical choice as a dietary supplement. In fact, almost all of the most recent studies on the anti-aging properties of Lipoic Acid and Lipoic Acid/Acetyl-L-Carnitine have used only the R form of Lipoic Acid.

The recent groundbreaking study of combining R-Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine

In the late 1990s, Dr. Bruce Ames and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley began examining the effects of combining R-Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine.

The researchers chose the natural R form of Lipoic Acid for these studies because of previous research showing that it is more effective at promoting energy production, chelating metals, preventing cataract formation, and increasing glucose uptake into cells than synthetic LA. This initial research set the stage for Dr. Ames’ team to continue with their groundbreaking studies which showed that the combination of R-Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine:

  1. Could significantly improve mitochondrial function, but at the same time lower oxidative stress and free radical generation 27
  2. Could restore age-related dysfunction of a key mitochondria enzyme used in energy production, while lowering free radical damage and improving mitochondria function and energy production 28
  3. Improved memory in old rats 29

These studies concluded that the combination of R- Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine is indeed complementary, raising mitochondria function while lowering free radical production. A true breakthrough in our quest for longevity enhancing nutritional supplements!

Thus, it appears that the combination of R-LA and ALC may be the first nutritional supplement proven to significantly reverse signs of aging on a molecular level. While scientists have many years ahead of themto determine the exact mechanisms of how ALC and LA work their magic, the combination of these nutritional supplements is available today for everyone who wants to keep their dietary supplement program at the cutting edge of nutrition and anti-aging research—for everyone who wants to live long and live better!

Related Articles


  1. Cadenas E, Davies KJ. “Mitochondrial free radical generation, oxidative stress, and aging.” Free Radic Biol Med 2000 Aug;29(3-4):222-30
  2. Ebadi M. “Introduction. Oxidative stress in mitochondria disorders of aging.” Biol Signals Recept 2001 Jan-Apr;10(1-2):5-13
  3. Kowald A. “The mitochondrial theory of aging.” Biol Signals Recept 2001 May-Aug;10(3-4):162-75
  4. Allen JF, Allen CA. “A mitochondrial model for premature aging of somatically cloned mammals.” IUBMB Life 1999 Oct;48(4):369-72
  5. Van Remmen H, Richardson A. “Oxidative damage to mitochondria and aging.” Exp Gerontol 2001 Jul;36(7):957-68
  6. Wei YH, Lu CY, Wei CY, Ma YS, Lee HC. “Oxidative stress in human aging and mitochondrial disease-consequences of defective mitochondrial respiration and impaired antioxidant enzyme system,” Chin J Physiol 2001 Mar 31;44(1):1-11
  7. Lino A, Boccia MM, Rusconi AC, Bellomonte L, Cocuroccia B. “Psycho-functional changes in attention and learning under the action of L-acetylcarnitine in 17 young subjects. A pilot study of its use in mental deterioration.” Clin Ter. 1992 Jun;140(6):569-73
  8. Sano M, Bell K, Cote L, Dooneief G, Lawton A, Legler L, Marder K, Naini A, Stern Y, Mayeux R. “Double-blind parallel design pilot study of acetyl levocarnitine in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” Arch Neurol. 1992 Nov;49(11):1137-41
  9. Bowman BA. “Acetyl-carnitine and Alzheimer’s disease.” Nutr Rev. 1992 May;50(5):142-4.
  10. Postiglione A, Soricelli A, Cicerano U, Mansi L, De Chiara S, Gallotta G, Schettini G, Salvatore M. “Effect of acute administration of L-acetyl carnitine on cerebral blood flow in patients with chronic cerebral infarct.” Pharmacol Res. 1991 Apr;23(3):241-6.
  11. Rosadini G, Marenco S, Nobili F, Novellone G, Rodriguez G. “Acute effects of acetyl-L-carnitine on regional cerebral blood flow in patients with brain ischaemia.” Int J Clin Pharmacol Res.1990;10(1-2):123-8.
  12. Bella R, Biondi R, Raffaele R, Pennisi G. “Effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on geriatric patients suffering from dysthymic disorders.” Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1990;10(6):355-60.
  13. Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. “alpha-Lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant.” Free Radic Biol Med 1995 Aug;19(2):227-50
  14. Kagan VE, Shvedova A, Serbinova E, Khan S, Swanson C, Powell R, Packer L.”Dihydrolipoic acid–a universal antioxidant both in the membrane and in the aqueous phase. Reduction of peroxyl, ascorbyl and chromanoxyl radicals.” Biochem Pharmacol 1992 Oct 20;44(8):1637-49
  15. Gregus Z, Stein AF, Varga F, Klaassen CD. “Effect of lipoic acid on biliary excretion of glutathione and metals.” Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 1992 May;114(1):88-96
  16. Lodge JK, Traber MG, Packer L. “Thiol chelation of Cu2+ by dihydrolipoic acid prevents human low density lipoprotein peroxidation.” Free Radic Biol Med 1998 Aug;25(3):287-97
  17. Murase K, Hattori A, Kohno M, Hayashi K. “Stimulation of nerve growth factor synthesis/secretion in mouse astroglial cells by coenzymes.” Biochem Mol Biol Int 1993 Jul;30(4):615-21
  18. Stoll S, Hartmann H, Cohen SA, Muller WE. “The potent free radical scavenger alpha-lipoic acid improves memory in aged mice: putative relationship to NMDA receptor deficits.”Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1993 Dec;46(4):799-805
  19. Stoll S, Rostock A, Bartsch R, Korn E, Meichelbock A, Muller WE. “The potent free radical scavenger alpha-lipoic acid improves cognition in rodents.” Acad Sci 1994 Jun 30;717:122-8
  20. Muller U, Krieglstein J. “Prolonged pretreatment with alpha-lipoic acid protects cultured neurons against hypoxic, glutamate, or iron-induced injury.” J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 1995 Jul;15(4):624-30
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  27. Hagen TM, Liu J, Lykkesfeldt J, Ames BN, et al. Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):1870-5.
  28. Liu J, Killilea DW, Ames BN. Age-associated mitochondrial oxidative decay: improvement of carnitine acetyltransferase substrate-binding affinity and activity in brain by feeding old rats acetyl-L- carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):1876-81.
  29. Liu J, Head E, Gharib AM, Ames BN, et al. Memory loss in old rats is associated with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: partial reversal by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2356-61.