Ashwagandha has ‘tremendous potential’ for promoting healthy aging: Review

Preclinical studies indicate that compounds in the plant can modulate which genes are turned into proteins in the cell and could be effective in tackling conditions related to immunity and aging including long Covid and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Management of aging is difficult due to its progressive and irreversible nature, as well as the comorbidities associated with aging,” wrote Sujit Nair (PhytoVeda Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, India) and colleagues.

They suggest that the aging process can be slowed by “recent advancements including intervention with nutraceuticals that can modulate the transcriptional activity of different genes implicated in aging and age-related complications.”

Tackling the hallmarks of aging

As the world’s population gets older, age-related conditions are expected to increase over the next decades, making preventative strategies crucial, according to the study authors.

“Aging is a complex process that affects various bodily organs and has effects at the cellular and molecular level,” Nair told NutraIngredients, adding that the aging process involves a set of biological ‘hallmarks’ including the shortening of telomeres and epigenetic changes that impair the function of cells.

The winter cherry, aka ashwagandha or Withania somnifera,​ is an evergreen shrub that grows in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with active ingredients including withanolides such as withaferin A, withanolide and withanone. The plant is a common ingredient in traditional medicine with antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties and could have a role in “modulating RNA-level changes associated with aging,” Nair said.