Malate and fumarate are chemical compounds cells use to create energy from food in a metabolic pathway known as the Krebs cycle.
There is increasing and solid evidence that metabolism is linked to aging. As organisms consume food and burn energy their cells experience growth, this growth is correlated to aging.
Strategies to reduce aging often involve limiting nutrient intake to slow the metabolic growth process. This is generally accepted to be a key mechanism of caloric restriction.
In the current study, researchers sought to determine if exogenous administration of compounds that could influence the intracellular metabolic growth process coudl affect lifespan. They chose to study this on C Elegans nematodes since their lifespans are so short it is easy to measure.
They found adding fumarate and malate to the worms’ diet increased their lifespan.
It was reported administration of these agents were able shift the ratio of an important reducing agent called NAD to from its reduced form NADH. This ratio normally declines with age. It also increased NADPH levels, and reduced ATP (energy) production by the mitochondria.
The net effect of consuming these compounds was to shift the cells’ metabolic state to that of energy conservation as would be seen with limited nutrient intake.
The authors conclude
“Since fumarate,malate, and oxaloacetate extend lifespan in C. elegans through a mechanism similar to dietary restriction, an anaplerotic cocktail of these compounds may be useful for the treatment of human aging associated disorders.”