What do astronauts and mountain climbers have to do with your wrinkles or heart disease? A lot, thanks to recent studies that have researchers looking up for anti-aging solutions for ailments like skin damage to heart, lung and brain diseases.
The high altitudes found at Mount Everest and the unique conditions of living in space have proven to be ripe for research. In late May, a team of researchers from Mayo Clinic accompanied 10 climbers to Mount Everest to see what effect high altitudes have on the brain, heart and lungs, The Wall Street Journal reported.
By studying the climbers, six of whom reached the summit, the researchers hope to gain insight into heart failure, lung disease and sleep apnea -- all conditions related to a low-oxygen, or hypoxic, state. The longer people spend at extreme high altitude, the longer their bodies lack the needed amount of oxygen and the lower their energy—stresses similar to those caused by the diseases.
Researchers compared their bodies to the climbers -- who were already acclimatized to the extreme altitude -- and used biosensors to track just how bodies respond to low-oxygen conditions, Wired reported. The study's results could have a big impact on a number of health issues, including fluid building in lungs and "[limiting] growth of certain solid-tumor cancers, which need oxygen and blood vessels to grow," The Wall Street Journal wrote.
And far higher than the world's tallest mountain, researchers at Utah University discovered that a "space drink" astronauts drink can stave off the damaging effects of radiation, the main culprit behind wrinkles and other age-related blemishes. Just what exactly is in the fruity miracle drink astronauts know as AS10? According to Redorbit.com, AS10 contains a blend of fruits, including cupuacu, acai, acerola, prickly pear and yumberry. All of the fruits provide vitamins and phytochemicals, which are known to block the harmful effects of radiation. The drink also contains grape, green tea, pomegranate and vegetables.
After a group of 180 everyday people took two shots of the fruity punch for four months, researchers found UV damage had decreased by 30 percent and the appearance of wrinkles were down by 17 percent, The Daily Mail reported.
While it remains to be seen whether or not we'll be taking swigs of AS10 in the future, or how the discoveries found on Mount Everest or other mountain ranges around the world will benefit us in the doctors office, but you might want to whisper a little "Thank you" the next time you look up.