Where Science Meets Ageing

In our research we looked specifically at the stress hormone cortisol, photoageing/collagen decline, amyloid-beta accumulation in the brain and the age-related decline of immune function and in particular at an anti-ageing process called ‘autophagy’. Ageing is the gradual failure over time of cellular repair mechanisms that leads to the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage and loss of function.

Taking Out the Rubbish!

1. Autophagy. Autophagy is the housekeeper in every cell that fights ageing and promotes longevity. It’s the way your cells “clean house” and “recycle the trash” but declines with ageing causing a build-up of cellular debris. This slows down bodily functions and promotes disease. Evidence suggests that the declining efficiency of autophagy with age may be a driver of many of the phenomena of ageing. Autophagy promotes life rather than death.

There is now stronger evidence of a link between autophagy activation and longevity than there is with any other longevity interventions such as anti-oxidant supplementation, micronutrient replacement, hormone replacement, anti-inflammatory therapy, telomerase activation, or stem cell therapy. [1]

  • In a study by Marino, G et al (2014) into the effects of calorie restriction mimics, EGCG (among other compounds) was found to be a highly efficient inducer of autophagy [2]. In another study by Hae-Suk Kim et al (2013) EGCG also stimulated autophagy in the clearance of lipids (fat) from the vascular system [3]. While Hong-Feng Gu et al (2014) concluded “that EGCG attenuation of chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced cognitive and memory impairment may be through rescuing autophagic (efficiency).” [4] Yucun Niu, et al (2013) further found that “EGCG extends lifespan in healthy (animals) by reducing liver and kidney damage and improving age-associated inflammation and oxidative stress” [5]
  • Reishi, on the other hand, in a study by Raysa Rosario-Acevedo et al (2013), was found to induce autophagy and promote cell death in unhealthy cells.[6] Whereas Ling-Yen Chiu et al (2015) found that Reishi induced pro-death autophagy in Multi-Drug Resistant cell lines.[7] And Thyagarajan A. et al (2010) additionally found that Reishi extract induced autophagy and pro-death proteins in unhealthy cell lines. [8]
  • Caffeine. Sinha RA et al (2014), showed that caffeine surprisingly is a potent stimulator of (liver) autophagic activity. [9] While Mathew TS et al (2014), found that caffeine increases autophagy in skeletal muscle cells. [10] And Wen-Xing Ding (2014) in a study showed that caffeine can not only induce lipophagy (fat cell removal) but also increase (fatty acid breakdown) and suggests that drinking a couple cups of coffee per day may help to burn the fat out of your liver! [11]


2. Cortisol, a steroid hormone, is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress, which is a good thing. It is best known for its involvement in the “fight-or-flight” response. Cortisol levels are naturally high in the morning and naturally low in the evening to promote sleep. So what’s the problem? It’s that with our ever-stressed, fast-paced lifestyle, our bodies are pumping out cortisol almost constantly, which can wreak havoc on our health.

  • In a study by Akhoon BA et al (2016) an extract of Ashwagandha was found to mediate lifespan extension and promote stress resistance in vivo. [12] In another study by Chandrasekhar K, et al (2012) found that, in humans, a full spectrum Ashwagandha extract safely and effectively improved an individual’s resistance towards stress. [13]
  • Chen WQ, et al (2010) found that EGCG ‘supplementation’ could improve cognitive impairments induced by psychological stress. [14] While Adachi N, et al (2006) found that EGCG has sedative and hypnotic effects in the brain and consequently moderates an acute stress response. [15] And Vignes M, et al (2006) discovered that EGCG can induce anti-anxiety activity in the brain. [16]
  • Matsuzaki H, et al, (2013) found that Reishi has antidepressant properties and possesses anti-anxiety-like effects in stress-induced subjects. [17]

Bad Selfies!

3. Skin Protection. Photo-ageing refers to the damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure over a person’s lifetime to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Many of the same changes in the skin that occur as we get older are greatly accelerated by sun exposure. Collagen is one of the main building blocks of human skin, providing much of the skin’s strength and is highly susceptible to breakdown by (UV) radiation.

  • In a study by Kim JE et al (2013) they found that EGCG prevented the heat-induced break down of collagen and suggest that it could be used as an agent for the treatment and prevention of skin ageing. [18] While Bae JY et al (2008) concluded that EGCG hampers the destruction of collagen from UV-B and could be used to prevent and treat skin photoageing. [19] And in a double blind trial, Lu PH, et al (2016) found that EGCG resulted in significant reductions of facial acne in post-adolescent women. [20]
  • Lee KE et al (2016) found that veratric acid in Cauliflower mushroom improves wrinkle formation and could be used in UV-induced premature skin ageing. [21] While Kimura, T et al (2013) in a human study found that oral intake of Cauliflower mushroom dramatically reduced facial water loss. [22]
  • Imokawa, G et al (2014) found that Ashwagandhais a potent anti-pigmention agent. [23]
  • Snow Fungus has excellent skin moisture retention, skin protection, flexibility and flattening effects, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Its ability to prevent senile break down of micro-vessels also helps maintain blood flow to the skin. [24]

Release the Brain!

4. Beta-Amyloid. Plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together. Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and gradually builds up into plaques in the brain. In this situation, Alzheimer’s signs appear and people experience marked cognitional disabilities. In general, intellect, social skills, personality, and memory are influenced by this condition and, in the long run, it leads to a reduction in quality of life and life expectancy.

  • In a laboratory study conducted by Rezai-Zadeh K, et al (2008) they found that EGCG reduces beta-amyloid mediated cognitive impairment. [25] While Cheng-Chung Wei J, et al (2016) concluded that EGCG is a possible therapeutic agent for preventing (beta-Amyloid)-induced inflammatory neurodegeneration. [26]
  • Zhou Y, et al (2012) found that Reishi, in a laboratory study, had neuroprotective effects on the brain. [27] While a study by Lai CS, et al (2008) proved that Reishi can prevent the harmful effects of Beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s. [28]
  • Jin Y, et al (2016) found in a laboratory experiment that an extract of Snow Fungus hada neuroprotective effect against nerve cell damage in the brain[29] And in an animal study, Park HJ, et al (2012) concluded that Snow Fungus may be useful for improving cognitive function in the hippocampus of the brain. [30] While Ji Hyun KIM, et al (2007) deduced that Snow Fungus is a useful agent for improving the function of impaired cognitive processes. [31]
  • Shuang Hu, et al (2106) in a laboratory study found that Cauliflower mushroom could be a potential therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative damage. [32]
  • Carelli-Alinovi C, et al (2016) in a laboratory study, found that Caffeine had a protective effect against Alzheimer’s. [33] While Arendash GWet al (2010), in an animal study, found that oral caffeine treatment quickly reduced both brain and blood Amyloid-beta levels. [34] And Kun Han, et al (2013) found that up to 1.5 mg/day of caffeine for eight weeks was capable of reversing memory impairment in a mouse model. [35]

Defend Yourself!

5. Immune System. Immunosenescence refers to the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement. It involves both the body’s capacity to respond to infections and the development of long-term immune memory. It is considered a major contributory factor to the increased frequency of disease and mortality among the elderly.

  • Solana R, et al (2000) found that “low NK (natural killer) cell number…in elderly individuals is associated with increased mortality risk and increased incidence of severe infections” [36]
  • Kim YH, et al (2016), found that metabolites within EGCG have been shown to effectively enhance immune activity and not only increased the activity of CD4 T cells but also enhanced the (cell death) activity of NK cells. [37] While Pae M et al (2013) stated that, in the immune system specifically, accumulating evidence has revealed an immune balancing effect of green tea/EGCG with a dramatic effect on T cell functions that has been repeatedly demonstrated. [38]
  • In a study by Mikolai J et al (2009) they found that an oral extract of Ashwagandha induced a major change in immune cell activation. [39] While Khan S et al (2009) in their study demonstrated, for the first time, the potential role of a standardized extract of Ashwagandha in activating the immune  system. [40]
  • Guo L et al (2009) found in their study that Reishi is an effective immune balancer with other therapeutic properties. [41] Chang CJet al (2014) found that an extract of Reishi stimulated NK cell cytotoxicity (cell death) in human cells. [42]
  • Hida TH et al (2013) found that an oral beta glucan solution from Cauliflower mushroom modulated the immune system in vivo. [43] Kim HH et al (2012) found that an extract from Cauliflower mushroom inhibited the allergic inflammatory immune response in vivo. [44]
  • Lee J et al (2016) confirmed the anti-inflammatory effects of an oral extract of (Snow Fungus) via modulation of the immune response. [45] La Yan et al (2005) found that Snow Fungus improved immune function by increasing white blood cell count in vivo. [46]

Dosage – Mix 2 teaspoons (4 grams) thoroughly with juice, coconut or almond milk first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, when the ingredients are highly absorbable. An additional 1 teaspoon can be taken later in the afternoon but always on an empty stomach. Use a hand-held whisk or milk frother for a smooth mix.

To read The Effects of Factor 5 on Pro-Ageing Bio-Markers click here.


  1. From http://www.anti-agingfirewalls.com/2013/04/19/autophagy-the-housekeeper-in-every-cell-that-fights-aging-2/ James P Watson, MD
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  4. Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate Attenuates Impairment of Learning and Memory in Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Treated Rats by Restoring Hippocampal Autophagic Flux. Gu HF, Nie YX, Tong QZ, Tang YL, Zeng Y, Jing KQ, Zheng XL, Liao DF. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 13;9(11):e112683.
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  23. Inhibitors of Intracellular Signaling Pathways that Lead to Stimulated Epidermal Pigmentation: Perspective of Anti-Pigmenting Agents. Genji Imokawa and Koichi Ishida. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 8293-8315.
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  35. Chronic caffeine treatment reverses memory impairment and the expression of brain BNDF and TrkB in the PS1/APP double transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. KUN HAN, NING JIA, JI LI, LI YANG and LIAN-QIU MIN. MOLECULAR MEDICINE REPORTS 8: 737-740, 2013.
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  40. Molecular insight into the immune up-regulatory properties of the leaf extract of Ashwagandha and identification of Th1 immunostimulatory chemical entity. Khan S, Malik F, Suri KA, Singh J. Vaccine. 2009 Oct 9;27(43):6080-7.
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  42. Ganoderma lucidum stimulates NK cell cytotoxicity by inducing NKG2D/NCR activation and secretion of perforin and granulysin. Chang CJ et al, Innate Immun. 2014 Apr;20(3):301-11.
  43. Oral administration of soluble β-glucan preparation from the cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis crispa (Higher Basidiomycetes) modulated cytokine production in mice. Hida TH et al, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):525-38.
  44. Sparassis crispa suppresses mast cell-mediated allergic inflammation: Role of calcium, mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-κB. Kim HH et al, Int J Mol Med. 2012 Aug;30(2):344-50
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