Increased telomerase can lead to increased telomere length and improved life span. In this study they looked at the effect on telomerase with astragalus, an Ancient Chinese Medicine herbal remedy for longevity and danazol, a testosterone booster. The Astragalus had a more pronounced effect on telomerase than the danazol.
The Use of Natural Agents to Counteract Telomere Shortening: Effects of a Multi-Component Extract of Astragalus mongholicus Bunge and Danazol
A link between telomere shortening and oxidative stress was found in aging people and patients with cancer or inflammatory diseases. Extracts of Astragalus spp. are known to stimulate telomerase activity, thereby compensating telomere shortening. We characterized a multi-component hydroethanolic root extract (HRE) of Astragalus mongholicus Bunge and assessed its effects on telomeres compared to those of danazol. Astragalosides I to IV, flavonoids, amino acids and sugars were detected in the HRE. Samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes with short telomeres from 18 healthy donors (mean age 63.5 years; range 32–86 years) were exposed to a single dose of 1 µg/mL HRE or danazol for three days. Telomere length and telomerase expression were then measured. Significant elongation of telomeres associated to a less toxicity was observed in lymphocytes from 13/18 donors following HRE treatment (0.54 kb (0.15–2.06 kb)) and in those from 9/18 donors after danazol treatment (0.95 kb (0.06–2.06 kb)). The rate of cells with short telomeres (<3 kb) decreased in lymphocytes from all donors after exposure to either HRE or danazol, telomere elongation being telomerase-dependent. These findings suggest that the HRE could be used for the management of age-related diseases.