Astragalus has telomere restoration benefits?

By | August 10, 2010

Mention astragalus and most people probably connect the name with one famous medicinal species – Astragalus membranaceus or astragalus propinquus. Not all astragalus species have medicinal properties, but astragalus membranaceous certainly does. And it is mainly this astragalus that was the subject of some ongoing research into its anti aging properties – More specifically, it’s life extension effect on telomeres. Is it true that astragalus can help extend telomere lifespan?

So astragalus can extend telomere lifespan?

I myself have been taking astragalus for months now. But it wasn’t because I was aware that astragalus is currently the only thing that could have potential to extend telomere lifespan. It was because astragalus does have a useful way of improving how you feel, physically and mentally, minus many of the unpleasant side effects of adaptogen-type herbs (like ginseng for example).

That astragalus may have a telomere extension effect was certainly a pleasant surprise. Astragalus is one of the most prized herbs in China, being in use for thousands of years, and is dubbed the Huang Qi herb. Its main effect is on the adrenal glands, and it has a calming effect on your nerves, which I did notice. I believe it also helps me in my daily exercise sessions, by helping increase my endurance threshold. Astragalus is one of the herbs recommended for adrenal fatigue.

AstragalusOther than that, astragalus is reported to improve immune system function in cancer patients, as well as liver function, and a host of other benefits. In short, it is similar to Siberian ginseng, possessing adaptogenic effects. But it has also very few, if any side effects, unlike many adaptogenic herbs.

NB: To be on the safe side, do not take any herbs (including astragalus) for prolonged periods without any rest breaks in between. Many herbs lose their effectiveness if continuously taken for a long time. Make sure you take a couple of days, like the weekend, off.

But what makes astragalus worthy of being an anti aging supplement is because it possesses substances that may actually prolong and even extend telomere lifespan. According to some research done so far, astragalus contains cycloastragenols and astragalosides, two molecules that are beneficial to the production of telomerase. Telomerase helps prolong telomere lifespan, which is believed to prolong cell lifespan, and therefore, age. One patented form of these substances is now marketed as TA-65.

Telomere research is still in the infancy stage, but in the meantime, companies have begun to work at extracting these active molecular components, and of course, marketing them under different names. I’m not sure how much scope lies in these “extracted” substances (and they are definitely costly), but I’m still taking my astragalus supplement, regardless J (Right now, proper telomerase treatment is much more expensive than even HGH injections!).

Astragalus root extract or plain root powder is easily available at many places – and this is a herb worth taking regularly. As a final note, in order to derive any health benefits from astragalus, be sure to take it in sufficiently large doses on a regular basis, because small dosages frequently do not produce the tangible benefits that most are looking for, especially if you’re taking it in root powder form.