You might recall that researchers have in recent years demonstrated that antioxidants targeted to the mitochondria in your cells can boost life span in mice by around 20-30% or so. Per the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging, it may be supposed that these antioxidants are slowing the rate at which mitochondria damage themselves; that damage is the first step in a chain of consequences that leads to age-related degeneration and the failure of cells and bodily systems.
It is important to note that the use of mitochondrially targeted antioxidants is the only application of antioxidants shown to have any effect on longevity in mammals. For the most part, antioxidants do nothing, or may even harm long-term prospects for healthy longevity by interfering in the signaling processes of hormesis.
Amongst the researchers working on mitochondrial targeting of antioxidants are Rabinovitch, who used gene-engineering to boost mitochondrial levels of a natural antioxidant, and Skulachev, who has engineered an ingested antioxidant compound called SKQ1 that is taken up by the mitochondria - unlike any other form of ingested antioxidant.
A fellow emailed me today to let me know that SKQ1 is moving ahead in animal studies, now using dogs rather than mice. This is a common intermediate step on the way to early human trials:
Please be advised that trials of the mitochondially targeted antioxidant, SKQ1, are now underway in the canine model in both Moscow State Veterinary School and the St George Animal Hospital in Sydney. Early results have proven positive in a number of age related conditions.
I look forward to seeing the resulting papers when they are published.