Gnosis by Lesaffre spotlights role SAMe in mitigating Alzheimer’s disease

Anti-Aging Medicine
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Anti-Aging Medicine
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19 Sep 2023 — Researchers found that Adonat Premium S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) – developed by Gnosis by Lesaffre – may repress the PSEN1 gene, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests that supplementation with SAMe during the perinatal period may protect offspring against Alzheimer’s disease-related symptoms later in life due to genetic coding delivered from mother to baby. 

“We hope to educate the public on the elemental importance of SAMe in the human body and its relationships to healthy aging and longevity,” Beatrice Minin, mood and cognitive health market manager at Gnosis by Lesaffre, tells Nutrition Insight

“SAMe supplementation can help mitigate the adverse effects of aging, reduce the risk of age-related diseases and promote overall well-being, potentially extending lifespan.” 

The researchers underscore that the study helps build fundamental knowledge of the epigenetic modulation associated with Alzheimer’s disease and the effect of epigenetic treatments – using drugs to influence the genome to treat medical conditions. 

In addition, the study reinforces the concept that early-life epigenetic modifiers affect aging and that acquiring these modifiers indirectly – offspring through their mother – in early life is maintained in adults, even without continued supplementation of SAMe. 

Environmental epigenetic modifiers  
The study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, suggests that short-term perinatal supplementation with SAMe – during pregnancy until weaning – was as effective as longer post-weaning supplementation in repressing the expression of PSEN1 and reducing amyloid plaque burden – a key indicator of Alzheimer’s disease – in adult mice. 

DNA molecule with one part that is highlighted.Early-life epigenetic modifiers affect aging, even when acquired indirectly.The researchers used transgenic pregnant mice and collected brain tissue of mothers and offspring. 

They conclude: “The data presented here strongly support the concept that environmental epigenetic modifiers, such as diet, can effectively drive the aging phenotype when manipulated in early life. Maintaining the proper DNA methylation could be a useful intervention in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

They note that the data analyzed contributes to the “big picture” of the role of methylation in Alzheimer’s disease. 

“The maintenance of DNA methylation patterns, with functional effects on gene expression and through cell generations in the absence of the modifier, is a cellular epigenetic memory that may have a significant impact on physiology and pathology beyond neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders.” 

Minin adds that Gnosis by Lesaffre will continue investing in research with its branded solutions to better cater to consumer needs with safe and proven ingredients while exploring new health benefits.

“We aim to engage in new and open collaborations with research institutes to explore and confirm how SAMe is intimately linked with human health.” 

SAMe in DNA methylation patterns 
Lorena Carboni, product manager and scientific communication specialist at Gnosis by Lesaffre, tells Nutrition Insight that DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that involves adding a methyl group (-CH3) to the DNA molecule. When DNA methylation patterns are disrupted, it can lead to various health problems, including cancer and developmental disorders. 

“SAMe is intimately involved in this process through its role as a methyl donor. SAMe is often referred to as the body’s ‘universal methyl donor.’ The sulfur atom in SAMe contains a methyl group that can be transferred to other molecules, including DNA.” 

She explains that DNA methylation patterns are essential for regulating gene expression, cellular differentiation and genome stability. By providing methyl groups, SAMe helps maintain these patterns. 

“SAMe is converted into S-Adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) by donating its methyl group. This reaction is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases, enzymes responsible for DNA methylation. After donating its methyl group, SAH is converted back into SAMe through a series of enzymatic reactions.” 

Older woman looking on a tablet. Maintaining the proper DNA methylation could be useful in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease.“Supplementation of SAMe can be crucial to support proper methylation since the levels of SAMe can decrease with aging due to various factors, including changes in metabolism, diet and overall health. Changes in nutrient absorption in aging can specifically affect the availability of essential nutrients required for SAMe synthesis, such as vitamin B12 and folate.”

Slowing age-related declines 
The researchers note that the study’s outcomes may open new avenues to research, for example, whether SAMe supplementation also modulates other gene expressions. Additional research would help build a better understanding of the effects of methyl donor supplementation in Alzheimer’s disease and the potential of such ingredients as therapeutic agents. 

It would also be essential to determine if SAMe supplementation in early life can have higher or adverse effects by modulating other genes. 

“Slowing or averting age-related declines in physical and cognitive health to promote anti-aging effects and longevity can be possible by taking advantage of the state-of-the-art scientific approach,” says Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, research and application director at Gnosis by Lesaffre. 

“By going deep inside the mechanisms and the roles of naturally and multi-potent occurring substances like SAMe, we believe we can improve the chances of maintaining optimal health later in life.”

Earlier this year, researchers determined that SAMe plays a more critical role in infant development than previously thought. Moreover, SAMe has been linked to supporting patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injury with depression, pain, fatigue and cognition. 

By Jolanda van Hal

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