Epicatechin (EC), a flavonoid present in various foods including cocoa, dark chocolate,
berries, and tea, has recently been reported to promote general health and survival of old mice fed a
standard chow diet. This is considered a novel discovery in the field of identifying natural compounds
to extend lifespan, given that presumably popular anti-aging natural agents including resveratrol,
green tea extract, and curcumin had failed in extending the lifespan of standard chow-diet-fed mice.
However, the anti-aging mechanism of EC is not fully understood, thus impeding the potential application
of this natural compound in improving a healthy lifespan in humans. In this review, we first
summarized the main dietary sources that contain a significant amount of EC and recent research
regarding the absorption, metabolism and distribution of EC in humans and rodents. The review is
then focused on the anti-aging effects of EC in cultured cells, animals and humans with the possible
physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying its lifespan-extending effects.