From Laboratory to Life: The Promise of CaAKG (Calcium Salt) in Human Longevity

Supplementation with alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is promoted as a strategy that may be a key to longevity. However, most evidence suggesting that supplementation would be helpful comes from scientific experiments using animals or limited studies in humans. What is AKG, and what evidence is there that promising findings might translate to human benefits?

What is CaAKG?

CaAKG, or alpha-ketoglutarate calcium salt, is a form of AKG often used in supplements. Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is a naturally occurring molecule crucial for our cells' various metabolic and signaling processes and pathways. For instance, AKG is a key participant in tricarboxylic acid (TCA), also known as the Krebs cycle, which connects most cellular processes, such as energy production, synthesis, and degradation of various molecules. This cycle is the core of the functioning of all cells in our body.

How is CaAKG typically taken?

An AKG supplement is typically formulated as a salt with calcium, but other formulations are available, such as pure AKG or AKG combined with arginine, ornithine, or citrulline. Supplement manufacturers suggest taking CaAKG with plenty of water and with or without food.

Do we know if CaAKG is beneficial?

AKG is one of the molecules included in the database of aging-related drugs, a repository of scientific studies on compounds with anti-aging properties. So far, most studies on AKG and its longevity-related effects are based on animal models, suggesting that AKG supplementation might increase lifespan, reduce inflammation, and exert a protective effect on the gut. Regarding the impact of AKG supplementation on humans, few studies have been done to this today. The majority of these human studies explored the effects of AKG supplementation in the clinical setting, limiting their applicability to the general public.

Supplementation with alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is promoted as a strategy that may be a key to longevity. However, most evidence suggesting that supplementation would be helpful comes from scientific experiments using animals or limited studies in humans. What is AKG, and what evidence is there that promising findings might translate to human benefits?

Key insights from animal studies

Embarking on a journey through scientific insights, this section unveils the intriguing findings from studies exploring the impact of CaAKG. From potential enhancements in life expectancy to its role in inflammation reduction and contributions to bone health and gut protection, we dissect the nuanced outcomes that research has uncovered.

CaAKG may increase life expectancy

In a 6-month animal study by Shahmirzadi et al., mice were divided by sex and assigned to the experimental or control group. The experimental group received feed supplemented with CaAKG, while the control group received regular mice feed. It was concluded that female mice receiving the CaAKG-fortified feed had increased lifespan and overall survival. Contrastingly, the male mice did not experience a survival benefit, but their median lifespan increased.

CaAKG may reduce inflammation

In the same study, inflammation biomarkers called inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in mice's blood. The analysis of these biomarkers revealed that female mice that received feed supplemented by CaAKG had lower inflammatory cytokine levels than the control group. Contrastingly, these findings were not observed in male mice.

CaAKG may increase bone mineralization and protect the gut

A recent study randomly assigned 32 piglets to two groups, one receiving a diet containing AKG. The results suggest that AKG supplementation promotes bone mineral density and length of the piglets. The AKG supplement also seems to have affected the piglets’ microbiome by increasing diversity and the number of beneficial bacteria.

A promising observation from human study

A 6-month human study on oral CaAKG supplementation included 76 postmenopausal women who were diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition where bone density is lower than average. The authors concluded that the daily supplementation of CaAKG increased bone density by 1.6% from baseline and significantly reduced the marker of bone resorption in blood.

Shifting from animal studies to human trials

The field of geroscience is shifting into high gear as more compounds found to be beneficial in animal studies are being considered for clinical trials with humans. One such compound is CaAKG, which has been demonstrated to have a handful of positive effects in animal studies.

Even though some of the findings translated into similar results in small-scale human trials, the beneficial effects of CaAKG supplementation on human health still need to be understood. The supplement industry is not regulated as strictly as drugs by the FDA making products of different quality, purity, and safety available on the market.

Key takeaways:


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