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NMU 312 – Astragalus Herb Shown to Have Impressive Anti-Aging and Disease Prevention Properties

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 312 (March 6, 2022)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: Astragalus Herb Shown to Have Impressive Anti-Aging and Disease Prevention Properties

Source: Aging and Disease Journal (2017)


An important review paper highlighting the anti-aging, disease prevention and therapeutic properties of the herb Astragalus was published in the journal Aging and Disease in 2017.Experimental and animal studies have consistently shown that astragalus membranaceus, a well-known Chinese tonic, increases the body’s synthesis of key antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase by acting as an epigenetic switch on the Nrf-2 transcription factor. This is very important because as we age our body tends to decrease synthesis of these key antioxidants, leaving us more prone to genetic and other types of damage caused by free radicals. In fact, studies show that Astragalus administration reduces free radical levels (measured by malondialdehyde). This combination of increasing antioxidant protection and reducing free radical levels is a significant factor in slowing aging and preventing many types of age-related health conditions. In fact, research suggests that Astragalus is especially protective against heart, brain, kidney, intestine, liver, and lung injury in various models of free radical (oxidative stress) – related disease.

Astragalus is also shown to support and enhance immune function in many ways, supporting function on many different types of immune cells, including macrophages, monocytes, and lymphocytes – all of which help to prevent virulent infections and cancer. Moreover, Astragalus is shown to have some direct anti-cancer properties and has been used by cancer patients to quickly re-constitute their immune system and blood cell counts after chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Astragalus has also been shown to enhance the cancer killing properties of certain chemotherapy drugs, when used as an adjunctive treatment. A key anti-aging feature of Astragalus is that it re-lengthens telomeres in our immune cells, which makes them more youthful and better able to kill viruses, bacteria, and emerging cancer cells. Astragalus also crosses the blood-brain-barrier and shows impressive properties linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and has restored memory in animal studies where dementia had already been induced. It’s not just a matter of animal studies. A large human study involving 7000 person-years in over a 5-year period, found that an Astragalus supplement improved markers of metabolic, bone, and cardiovascular health, with no adverse events, which suggests that it improves a person’s overall health status and may reduce risk of morbidity and mortality. Another study was undertaken involving patients infected with the cytomegalovirus, which is related to the viruses that cause chickenpox, herpes simplex and mononucleosis. This virus stays in your system life-long once you contract it, and when your immune system is weakened, the virus is easily activated causing a host of symptoms, some of which can be severe and life-threatening. In this study of 117 healthy patients who were cytomegalovirus-positive, the administration of Astragalus supplementation re-lengthened the telomeres of their immune cells, improving their overall immune defence. Astragalus supplementation has also been shown to enhance the efficacy of certain vaccines. In addition, Astragalus shows promise as a supplement that may also help to lower cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar (glucose) levels, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure (via it diuretic effects).

Certain people should avoid taking Astragalus, including individuals with autoimmune disease and/or those taking immune suppressant drugs (such as organ transplant patients).But for most of us Astragalus supplementation, in my view, represents a very important anti-aging/disease preventing supplement to consider once you are over the age of 40-45, when your immune system becomes weak and your antioxidant status is known to become compromised.

I personal take Astragalus in a combination supplement that also includes:

Reishi mushroom extract

Milk thistle (standardized to 90% silymarin content)


Together, these four natural agents help to keep your immune system and antioxidant defences strong, and they support the body’s ability to detoxify harmful substances that can cause genetic and other damage associated with various degenerative diseases and advanced aging. I think Astragalus is a key anti-aging/ disease prevention natural agent, and it can also be used therapeutically to help strengthen the immune system, as shown in patients who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

I have included the reference for this information in the text below.


Liu P et al. Anti-aging implications of Astragalus Membranaceus: A well-known Chinese Tonic. Aging and Disease. 2017;8(6): 868-886.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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