The powerhouse of our cells is mitochondria. Without it, our cells wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t exist. A couple of years ago, I predicted that mitochondria would be a new frontier for anti-aging beauty. I was a little ahead of my time, although we did track down MitoQ’s serum and supplements over in New Zealand and they became one of our bestsellers. Now for the first time, scientists at Newcastle University in the UK have identified that mitochondria decline with age, especially in the skin.

The University of Newcastle study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. It found that the activity of mitochondrial complex II significantly decreases in older skin. The scientists believe that this discovery brings experts “a step closer to developing powerful anti-aging treatments and cosmetic products which may be tailored to counteract the decline in the enzyme’s activity levels.”

Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University, led the study with Dr. Amy Bowman from his research group. Professor Birch-Machin said: “As our bodies age we see that the batteries in our cells run down, known as decreased bio-energy, and harmful free radicals increase. This process is easily seen in our skin as increased fine lines, wrinkles and sagging appears. You know the story, or at least your mirror does first thing in the morning!”

“Our study shows, for the first time, in human skin that with increasing age there is a specific decrease in the activity of a key metabolic enzyme found in the batteries of the skin cells. This enzyme is the hinge between the two important ways of making energy in our cells and a decrease in its activity contributes to decreased bio-energy in aging skin.”

“Our research means that we now have a specific biomarker, or a target, for developing and screening anti-aging treatments and cosmetic creams that may counter this decline in bio-energy. “There is now a possibility of finding anti-aging treatments which can be tailored to differently aged and differently pigmented skin, and with the additional possibility to address the aging process elsewhere in our bodies.” added Birch-Machin

Complex II activity was measured in 27 donors, from aged six to 72 years. Samples were taken from a sun-protected area of skin to determine if there was a difference in activity with increasing age.

It was found that complex II activity significantly declined with age, per unit of mitochondria, in the cells derived from the lower rather than the upper levels, an observation not previously reported for human skin. The scientists found that the reason for this is the amount of enzyme protein was decreased and furthermore this decrease was only observed in those cells that had stopped proliferating.

Another recent study carried out in mice showed that complex II activity is lower in the skin of naturally aged older mice compared to younger mice.

I am feeling smugly a little head of the game here with my regular use of MitoQ Serum ($119 in the shop) and popping two MitoQ Supplements ($59.95 in the shop) daily. For those of you who are not already converts, MitoQ is based on a specific form of the antioxidant CoQ10 that can actually penetrate through the cell to the mitochondria, where (hopefully), it is helping to prevent its decline.