Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is a compound that is created naturally in the body but tends to diminish with age. In supplement form, AKG can be attached to a calcium salt (Ca-AKG), which has been studied for its role in supporting metabolic function and longevity (1).
Ca-AKG is involved in stimulating protein synthesis and energy production in the body, as it is a vital component of the Kreb’s cycle - the process that creates ATP (energy) from food. Ca-AKG is also a source of the essential amino acids needed to make collagen, which is a protein that helps to support bone and muscle health.
Additionally, Ca-AKG facilitates our internal recycling process known as autophagy, which removes dysfunctional cells, cell parts, and proteins from the body. Autophagy tends to decrease with age, so Ca-AKG may be able to help support this process.
Research has found that AKG lengthened lifespan in roundworms by up to 50% and delayed signs of aging (2). This may be because Ca-AKG activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) - a pathway that senses and maintains cellular energy balance by supporting the function of our cells’ main energy hubs (the mitochondria) and healthy blood sugar control (3).
Ca-AKG has also been shown to boost cellular antioxidant levels in aged mice, which helped support the mice’s blood vessel elasticity - a measure of good cardiovascular health (4).
Asadi Shahmirzadi A, Edgar D, Liao CY, et al. Alpha-Ketoglutarate, an Endogenous Metabolite, Extends Lifespan and Compresses Morbidity in Aging Mice. Cell Metab. 2020;32(3):447-456.e6. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2020.08.004
Chin R, Fu X, Pai M., et al. The metabolite α-ketoglutarate extends lifespan by inhibiting ATP synthase and TOR. Nature. 2014;510:397–40. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13264
Wu N, Yang M, Gaur U, Xu H, Yao Y, Li D. Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Physiological Functions and Applications. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2016;24(1):1-8. doi:10.4062/biomolther.2015.078
- Niemiec T, Sikorska J, Harrison A, et al. Alpha-ketoglutarate stabilizes redox homeostasis and improves arterial elasticity in aged mice. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011;62(1):37-43.