As you age, your heart function naturally diminishes. Emerging research suggests that this could be due to changes in mitochondrial function. Therefore, improving mitochondrial function may help to keep your heart stronger, even as you age.
The mitochondria, or the “powerhouses of the cell,” as you may have learned in school, are specialized organelles found in every cell of your body. Their role is to transform the energy from the food you eat into a form that your body can use.
Mitochondrial health is a key player in overall health, and it’s thought that nearly every condition may be rooted in some kind of mitochondrial dysfunction—including the natural weakening of the heart as you age.
- In this article, you will learn:
- How the heart changes as you age,
- The role of cellular and mitochondrial health in heart function,
- How the mitochondria-boosting ingredients l-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and biotin may help your heart beat stronger,
- And how Juvenon’s Cellular Health supplement may support a strong heart.
Heart health as you age
Like all organs in the body, the heart tends to weaken as you age—even if you’re otherwise healthy.
This happens because the cardiomyocytes, the heart muscle cells, aren’t able to function as efficiently as they once could. This weakens the heart. (1)
If you have other cardiovascular risk factors—like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or a high BMI—then aging may magnify these risk factors or cause an even more rapid decline.
The aging process that wears down the heart muscle cells also does the same to the endothelial cells. These are the cells that compose the lining of your blood vessels. They play a vital role in the regulation of blood pressure and in promoting healthy circulation.
Healthy endothelial cells keep your blood vessels wide and flexible, while the aging process may contribute to making them stiffer and more closed off. This can lead to or worsen high blood pressure, which is a cardiovascular risk factor. (2)
But what causes heart and vascular aging to begin with? Researchers believe that the answer lies with the mitochondria.
The role of mitochondrial health
The mitochondria provide the power for every single cell in the body in the form of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the end result of several biological processes that transform energy from the food you eat into energy that your body can use, and properly functioning mitochondria are a vital part of this transformation.
As you can imagine, the heart needs massive quantities of ATP to fuel its life-sustaining roles of pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. For this reason, heart cells are loaded with mitochondria.
There’s a large and growing body of evidence to support the notion that aging begins with mitochondrial dysfunction, especially in the heart.
Some ways that mitochondrial dysfunction may affect the heart muscle include: (1, 3, 4)
- Reduced ATP production
- Damage to structural proteins and DNA
- Increased susceptibility to stress-related damage
- Increased production of reactive oxygen species, which can harm heart cells
- Apoptosis (death) of heart cells
- Reduced number of mitochondria in the cells
Combined, these actions serve to age the heart.
However, there are some nutrients and other compounds that may help to boost mitochondrial function, potentially reducing some of this damage and promoting a stronger heart.
Some compounds may exert powerful effects to support mitochondrial health, a strong heart, and a healthy blood pressure level. These include l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid, along with the vital nutrient biotin—all ingredients in Juvenon’s Cellular Health supplement.
Carnitine is a compound that’s derived from an amino acid, or a building block of protein. The body is able to produce enough carnitine on its own, so it’s only considered an essential nutrient in rare cases—such as in preterm infants. (5)
However, while it’s not essential, it plays several important roles in supporting the heart, the arteries, and the circulatory system as a whole.
L-carnitine’s role in mitochondrial health and energy production is massive. This compound helps fats (that are broken down from the food you eat) to enter the mitochondria, so that they can be transformed into usable ATP. Animal studies show that l-carnitine supplementation may also help to preserve the integrity and structure of the heart muscle under stress. (6)
Because of its role in fat metabolism, l-carnitine supplementation may also help to improve blood fat levels such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides are cardiovascular risk factors, so in this way l-carnitine may help to strengthen the heart. (7)
L-carnitine and heart failure
L-carnitine may also be beneficial for people with heart failure, a condition in which the heart doesn’t pump enough blood to supply all of your tissues.
A properly functioning heart requires large amounts of carnitine to help convert fatty acids into ATP, and researchers have found that some people with heart failure have low levels of carnitine in their blood. These low levels of carnitine may only serve to exacerbate their condition, making it even harder for the heart to get the energy it needs to pump blood throughout the body. (8)
One large review of 17 different high-quality studies with a total of 1,625 participants with heart failure found that l-carnitine was well-tolerated by most, and extremely beneficial. Participants who supplemented with l-carnitine had significantly reduced symptoms and improved clinical measures than the placebo group, with no increased risk of death or complications from supplementing. (9)
For these reasons, mitochondria-boosting l-carnitine may help to support not only the aging heart, but also the failing heart.
Alpha-lipoic acid may also help to promote mitochondrial health and a strong heart. Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant compound that is produced naturally by the body to use during the metabolic process of transforming food into usable energy. Therefore, it’s vital for proper mitochondrial functioning. As an antioxidant, it can also help to reduce the cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species, which may build up in the cells when mitochondria are dysfunctional. (10, 11)
Alpha-lipoic acid may also provide some cardiovascular benefits by helping to reduce blood pressure and promoting vascular health and proper epithelial cell functioning. This increased arterial flexibility is key in supporting the heart and cardiovascular system.
Animal studies have shown promise from alpha-lipoic acid supplementation to support aging hearts. In one study, a supplement containing a complex made with lipoic acid helped to improve mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative damage in the hearts of aged mice. Another study found that alpha-lipoic supplementation may help to slow down the development of cardiac dysfunction in mice with type 2 diabetes. (12, 13)
Biotin is a key nutrient that helps the body to better harness energy from the foods we eat. Although most people associate it with hair, skin, and nail health because it’s commonly found in beauty supplements, it also has an important role in heart and mitochondrial health. (14)
In test-tube studies, biotin has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, promote improved mitochondrial function, and reduce cell death. (15)
Biotin deficiency, on the other hand, is linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, the accumulation of damage-causing reactive oxygen species, and an increased risk of metabolic disorders. (16)
Biotin is also closely linked to alpha-lipoic acid, as they function similarly. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that alpha-lipoic acid can compete with biotin for receptors and increase your risk of becoming biotin deficient. For this reason, biotin should be supplemented while you are taking alpha-lipoic acid to ensure that your biotin needs are being met. (17)
Biotin is mostly found in animal foods, although some nuts, seeds, and vegetables are fair sources of the vitamin. Adults need at least 30 micrograms of biotin daily to promote overall health and proper cellular functioning. (14)
How Juvenon Cellular Health can support a strong heart
Juvenon’s Cellular Health supplement is a unique, mitochondria-supportive formulation that contains all three of the ingredients listed above.
In addition to powerful alpha-lipoic acid and l-carnitine, this supplement may help to fill nutrient gaps in your diet to ensure that your biotin needs are met and to prevent the biotin deficiency that may sometimes occur with alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.
Additionally, one 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension found some positive effects of Juvenon’s Cellular Health supplement on both blood pressure and vascular health, which could help support your aging heart. (18)
This study, done in 36 patients who were over the age of 55, found that supplementing with Juvenon Cellular Health for 8 weeks was associated with improvements in blood pressure and brachial artery diameter, a measure of vascular health. These findings suggest that promoting mitochondrial function may help support your heart. (18)
Aging—including the aging process of the heart and blood vessels—is a natural and inevitable process, but mitochondrial dysfunction may speed it up.
The mitochondria are the “power plants” of each cell that transform the raw materials from food into ATP, a form of energy that the body can use. With poorly functioning mitochondria, heart function may suffer.
Biotin is a key nutrient that plays roles in energy metabolism and mitochondrial health. Additionally, l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid are non-nutrient compounds that power the mitochondria and can help strengthen aging hearts.
Juvenon Cellular Health contains all three of these powerful ingredients and has been clinically studied for its potential to help reduce blood pressure and widen the arteries—promoting a strong heart and improved arterial health.
Hoppel CL, Lesnefsky EJ, Chen Q, Tandler B. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cardiovascular Aging. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;982:451-464. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-55330-6_24
Jia G, Aroor AR, Jia C, Sowers JR. Endothelial cell senescence in aging-related vascular dysfunction. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2019;1865(7):1802-1809. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2018.08.008
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National Institutes of Health. (2017). Carnitine—Health Professionals Fact Sheet [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/
Mustafa HN, Hegazy GA, Awdan SAE, AbdelBaset M. Protective role of CoQ10 or L-carnitine on the integrity of the myocardium in doxorubicin induced toxicity. Tissue Cell. 2017;49(3):410-426. doi:10.1016/j.tice.2017.03.007
Askarpour M, Hadi A, Symonds ME, et al. Efficacy of l-carnitine supplementation for management of blood lipids: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [published correction appears in Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Jan 6;:]. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2019;29(11):1151-1167. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2019.07.012
Moreira da Silva Guimarães S, de Souza Cruz WM, de Souza Weigert G, et al. Decompensated Chronic Heart Failure Reduces Plasma L-carnitine. Arch Med Res. 2018;49(4):278-281. doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2018.09.004
Song X, Qu H, Yang Z, Rong J, Cai W, Zhou H. Efficacy and Safety of L-Carnitine Treatment for Chronic Heart Failure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:6274854. doi:10.1155/2017/6274854
Solmonson A, DeBerardinis RJ. Lipoic acid metabolism and mitochondrial redox regulation. J Biol Chem. 2018;293(20):7522-7530. doi:10.1074/jbc.TM117.000259
Hiller S, DeKroon R, Hamlett ED, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation protects enzymes from damage by nitrosative and oxidative stress. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016;1860(1 Pt A):36-45. doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2015.09.001
Sridharan V, Seawright JW, Antonawich FJ, et al. Late Administration of a Palladium Lipoic Acid Complex (POLY-MVA) Modifies Cardiac Mitochondria but Not Functional or Structural Manifestations of Radiation-Induced Heart Disease in a Rat Model. Radiat Res. 2017;187(3):361-366. doi:10.1667/RR14643.1
Li CJ, Zhang QM, Li MZ, Zhang JY, Yu P, Yu DM. Attenuation of myocardial apoptosis by alpha-lipoic acid through suppression of mitochondrial oxidative stress to reduce diabetic cardiomyopathy. Chin Med J (Engl). 2009;122(21):2580-2586.
National Institutes of Health. (2020). Biotin—Health Professionals Fact Sheet [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
Sghaier R, Zarrouk A, Nury T, et al. Biotin attenuation of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, lipid metabolism alteration and 7β-hydroxycholesterol-induced cell death in 158N murine oligodendrocytes [published correction appears in Free Radic Res. 2019;53(sup1):I]. Free Radic Res. 2019;53(5):535-561. doi:10.1080/10715762.2019.1612891
Madsen CT, Sylvestersen KB, Young C, et al. Biotin starvation causes mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation and partial rescue by the SIRT3-like deacetylase Hst4p. Nat Commun. 2015;6:7726. Published 2015 Jul 9. doi:10.1038/ncomms8726
Cronan JE. Biotin and Lipoic Acid: Synthesis, Attachment, and Regulation. EcoSal Plus. 2014;6(1):10.1128/ecosalplus.ESP-0001-2012. doi:10.1128/ecosalplus.ESP-0001-2012
McMackin CJ, Widlansky ME, Hamburg NM, et al. Effect of combined treatment with alpha-Lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine on vascular function and blood pressure in patients with coronary artery disease. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2007;9(4):249-255. doi:10.1111/j.1524-6175.2007.06052.x