Why Do We Age? | Loss of Proteostasis


  • Proteins are the building blocks and workhorses or our cells: they build up our cells and carry out most of their functions.
  • Proteins are continuously broken down, recycled and rebuilt, a finely tuned process called protein homeostasis or “proteostasis”.
  • However, this process is not perfect, and during our lifetime more and more proteins start to linger around, starting to accumulate, forming protein heaps or clumps, both inside and outside cells.
  • These protein heaps or clumps eventually grow so big that they hinder the proper functioning of cells. Too much protein accumulation can lead to “proteotoxicity” and even the demise of the cell. 
  • Protein accumulation is one of the reasons why cells become dysfunctional during aging or in fact why they age.
  • Specific natural substances can slow down protein accumulation, such as glycine, pterostilbene, lithium and glucosamine.

Another important reason why we get older is because of the accumulation of proteins inside and outside our cells, impeding their proper functioning, and in some cases causing the cells to die.

How Clumping Protein Contributes to Aging

Proteins are the building blocks and workhorses of our cells.

Each cell contains many millions of proteins. Proteins are continuously broken down and built up.

However, this process is not perfect: some proteins are not broken down and keep lingering around in the cell. They clump together and start to accumulate.

Old cells contain large amounts of accumulated protein waste that prevents the cells from functioning properly. In some cases the cells are so stuffed with proteins that the cells die off. 

Protein accumulation plays a role in all kinds of aging diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, in which mainly proteins such as amyloid beta, tau and TDP-43 accumulate.

Proteins also accumulate in the blood vessels when we get older, which makes the blood vessels brittle and more vulnerable to tearing or clogging up.

Proteins also accumulate in heart muscle cells, which contributes to age-related heart failure.

Proteins that build up in the nerve cells are one of the reasons reflexes and temperature regulation deteriorates in the elderly.

The Aging Process

“Proteostasis” refers to “protein homeostasis”. Homeostasis is the delicate, healthy balance that cells strive for to stay alive and function properly.

With age, proteostasis deteriorates.

There are different ways in which cells protect themselves against harmful protein accumulation:

Producing Chaperone Molecules

These are small molecules that form a shield around proteins, making them less likely to clump together. Examples are glycine, an ingredient in NOVOS. 

Anti-Amyloidogenic Substances

These substances gently attach to the areas of the proteins where they would normally stick together, preventing them from clumping together and accumulating. In other words, anti-amyloidogenic substances wriggle themselves in between the sticky regions of the proteins preventing them from clumping together. 

Increasing Autopaghy

This is the digestion of proteins and other cellular waste. Specialized parts in the cell (lysosomes) gobble up and digest proteins. Some natural substances that can induce autophagy are lithium, pterostilbene and glucosamine, all ingredients in NOVOS Core

The Proteosome – Ubiquitin System

Proteins are labeled with a small protein (ubiquitin), tagging them for destruction in the proteasome, a specialised structure in the cell that breaks down proteins. The proteasome is a shredder-like machine that cuts up the proteins.

Inducing the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR)

The Unfolded Protein Response is a defense mechanism of our cells which is activated when too much proteins start to get damaged or accumulate. An example of a NOVOS ingredient that can activate the UPR is acetyl-glucosamine sulfate, which is found in hyaluronic acid.

As people get older, these protective systems work less and less.

Proteins accumulate in and around the cells, causing the function of the cells to deteriorate, all contributing to the process we call aging. 

NOVOS’ Approach to Loss of Proteostasis

NOVOS Core contains various ingredients that can slow down the process of protein clumping.

For example, the small natural amino acid glycine acts as a chaperone that can protect proteins.

Pterostilbene, glucosamine and lithium induce autophagy, so that more proteins and other cellular waste is broken down more.

Hyaluronic acid contains acetyl-glucosamine, which can induce the Unfolded Protein Response, a process that extends lifespan in animals.

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