Mitochondrial nutrition for healthy aging


By Kelly C. Heim, Ph.D.

Efficient conversion of food into energy comprises a vital underpinning of health and the scientific cornerstone of human nutrition. This energy translation is the specialty of cellular organelles known as mitochondria. During the aging process, mitochondria in the heart, muscles and brain naturally decline in number and function, with commensurate shifts in cellular energy production.1 These changes have well-documented applicability to cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological health. Accordingly, maintaining the presence and function of the cell’s energy powerhouses is a well-recognized objective in longevity medicine.

The role of nutrition in living a healthier and longer life has been the focus of the award winning biochemist, Dr. Bruce Ames, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Over the last 20 years, Ames and his research team have discovered nutritional approaches to mitochondrial renewal and the associated health benefits.2,3 In a series of studies, Ames and his group discovered that a combination of α-lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant coenzyme in mitochondria, and acetyl L-carnitine (ALC), a cofactor in fatty acid transport, enhance mitochondrial function.2 The fixed ratio of ALA and ALC, on cellular energetics has been examined by nearly 20 studies.2-4 The combination was found to restore the function of mitochondria in aged rats to levels characteristic of young animals.2,5

The contributions of Ames’ work to the understanding of mitochondria and healthy aging intersect two decades of research from other laboratories on polyphenols, cardioprotective and neuroprotective compounds that are abundant in fruits and vegetables. By enlisting longevity pathways, these phytonutrients support youthful gene expression, mitochondrial renewal and antioxidant defenses.6 Examples of polyphenols in the longevity repertoire include flavonoids and resveratrol, which are found in berries and red wine, respectively.

Atrium Innovations Inc, parent company of Pure Encapsulations, has initiated a multi-year research and educational collaboration with Dr. Ames, who founded Juvenon, Inc. This partnership extends patent rights for the development of science-based longevity products with the expertise of Ames and his group. RevitalAge™ Ultra delivers the patented ratio of ALA and ALC, used under license with Juvenon, Inc., in tandem with PhytoLongevity, a researched blend of polyphenols from berries and spinach.This product also includes ResVida®, a pure form of resveratrol and its highly bioavailable analog, pterostilbene.

The addition of sustained-release coenzyme Q10 provides the benefit of 24-hour mitochondrial support. RevitalAge™ Ultra extends the fundamental principle of Juvenon—mitochondrial function,” explained Dr. Ames. “Polyphenols, resveratrol, pterostilbene and coenzyme Q10 complement the biochemical mechanisms of Juvenon through renewal and protection of mitochondria.”

According to human studies, ALA and ALC also provide significant support for peripheral nerve comfort and sensory function.7,8 RevitalAge™ Nerve provides specific support for neuronal health, delivering the same ratio of ALA and ALC in combination with methylcobalamin, other B-vitamins and sustained release CoQ10. Together, these cofactors support nerve conduction velocity, signaling, and healthy nerve regeneration in healthy individuals.

Dedicated to nutritional solutions for healthy aging, Atrium Innovations and Pure Encapsulations are committed to supporting the ongoing research efforts of Dr. Ames. This collaboration will allow for continued development of innovative, research-driven nutrient combinations, bringing the very best in dietary supplements to health care professionals.



  1. Lee HC, Wei YH.  Mitochondria and aging.  Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;942:311-27.
  2. Long J, Gao F, Tong L, et al. Mitochondrial decay in the brains of old rats: ameliorating effect of alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine. Neurochem Res. 2009;34(4):755-63.
  3. Liu J, Killilea DW, Ames BN. Age-associated mitochondrial oxidative decay: improvement of carnitine acetyltransferase substrate-binding affinity and activity in brain by feeding old rats acetyl-L- carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002;99(4):1876-81.
  4. Liu J, Atamna H, Kuratsune H, Ames BN. Delaying brain mitochondrial decay and aging with mitochondrial antioxidants and metabolites. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;959:133-66.
  5. Aliev G, Liu J, Shenk JC, et al. Neuronal mitochondrial amelioration by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to aged rats. J Cell Mol Med. 2009;13(2):320-33.
  6. Queen BL, Tollefsbol TO. Polyphenols and aging. Curr Aging Sci. 2010;3(1):34-42.
  7. Ziegler D, Ametov A, Barinov A, et al. Oral treatment with alpha-lipoic acid improves symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy: the SYDNEY 2 trial. Diabetes Care 2006;29(11):2365-70.
  8. Sima AA, Calvani M, Mehra M, Amato A. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(1):89-94.