Anti-aging Scientists Seek To Create A Longevity Pill – 4 Studies To Track and 2 Supplements To Take Now
A longevity pill may be on the near horizon. Check out these four promising studies and two supplements you can take now that might extend your lifespan.
A PARTICULAR metabolite is thought to repair damaged DNA and repair damaged mitochondria. A peptide has reversed aging in mice. Bacteria from a remote island may soon become an anti-aging drug.
These are among the newest discoveries and pursuits by anti-aging scientists as they seek to create the longevity pill that will extend your healthy lifespan.
Worth knowing about, yes?
In this article, you’ll discover:
- NAD+ Repairs Damaged DNA (and more)
- A Bacterium From A Remote Island May Become An Anti-aging Drug
- A Peptide That Can Bring Life Back to New Cells
- An Astaxanthin Compound May Activate A Longevity Gene
Let’s dig in…
To set the stage, I’d like to review what’s already been covered on this website regarding the topic of anti-aging interventions in the form of a longevity pill, or supplements:
The mitochondrial-enhancing NAD+ supplement offered by Prohealth at double the dosage as Basis by Elysium was described in Prohealth’s NAD+Ignite Is The Better Deal.
In 3 Ways To Stay Young, I told readers about how Rapamycin was being tested on dogs, featuring “Bella”, who her owner said, “… has turned back into a puppy”; and why the diabetes drug Metformin is being tested with the aim of being repurposed as a longevity drug.
Then there’s that one supplement, Phospatidylcholine, that longevity expert, futurists, computer scientist and author Ray Kurzweil touts as adfasfd that I wrote about in One Supplement to Boost Your Brain Power and Reduce Wrinkles.
(For more on supplements go here.)
All that just touches the tip of the iceberg. Anti-aging is the rage these days and many scientists and companies like Craig Venter’s Human Longevity, Inc and Google’s Calico Labs are spending millions of dollars investigating life extension protocols and drugs with the aim of making a longevity pill.
This past week, there was a spate of articles on the Interwebs speaking to new anti-aging discoveries that could soon yield a novel and effective longevity pill to extend the years of our youthful exuberance.
I want to review four such articles, so you can be informed about — not only what’s coming down the pike in the form of a longevity pill– but what supplements you can take now that might have anti-aging properties.
1. NAD+ Repairs Damaged DNA (and more)
Scientists at the University of New South Wales pinpointed a protein complex in the human body that protects cells from DNA damage. This could not only be useful to those of us rooted to the earth, but to astronauts as well.
As WorldHealth reports, space travel heightens the risk of DNA damage due to exposure to cosmic radiation, but it so happens that the metabolite NAD+ — found in each cell in the human body — plays an important role as a regulator in the proteins that are responsible for DNA repair.
Could NAD+ help space-bound astronauts keep their DNA intact, and ours as well?
Renowned anti-aging scientist Dr. David Sinclair teamed up with Dr. Lindsay Wu to lead the research team to find out. As is common with such studies, the subjects were mice.
What’s known at the outset of the experiment is that our cells are programmed to repair DNA damage, but that this capability – like so many others — wanes as we age. Dr. Sinclair and his team wanted to see if the metabolite NAD+ might have an important role as a regulator in the proteins that are responsible for DNA repair.
(A “metabolite” is a substance formed in or necessary for metabolism.)
The research team treated mice with the NAD+ precursor referred to as NMN, or “Nicotinamide Mononucleotide” and discovered that it boosted cells’ ability to repair damaged DNA after extensive aging and exposure to radiation.
It took merely one week of treatment for this cell improvement to occur, after which Dr. Sinclair said that the cells of the treated mice proved identical to those of younger mice.
If the human trials show NMN therapy to be effective and safe, you just might be able to trout over to your local Vitamin Shoppe store and get some longevity pill containing this metabolite.
Or you can just do it now.
Yep, now – but before I tell you just how you can jump on the bandwagon today, you should know some of the background story about this NAD+ stuff.
NR was first described in 1944 and was shown to exist in three forms: NAD+, NMN and NR. (3)
NAD+ = Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
NR = Nicotinamide Riboside, a precursor to NAD+
NMN = Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, also a precursor to NAD+
A precursor is a chemical that is transformed into another compound via a chemical reaction, and therefore precedes that compound in the synthetic pathway. For instance, cholesterol is a precursor of testosterone.
Thus, if the current and planned research to determine if NMN helps to repair DNA damage and reverse aging in humans via its activation of NAD+ — why not just take NAD+ supplementation right now?
Elysium Health has bet its company (and many millions of dollars) on the effectiveness of NAD+. In my article, Can Elysium’s “Basis” Pill Really Make You Younger?, I presented this quote from their website:
Basis works at the cellular level, targeting critical metabolic components that support systems such as energy production, DNA repair, cellular detoxification, and protein folding.
Basis contains two novel compounds. The first, nicotinamide riboside, is a precursor of the critical coenzyme NAD+, which is involved in metabolic processes such as energy production, DNA repair, cellular detoxification, the inflammatory response, and protein folding.
In December of 2016, Elysium announced the results of their first human clinical trial. 120 healthy participants ages 60-80 over an eight-week period consumed 250 mg per day of Nicotinamide Riboside (NR).
- NAD+ levels increased from baseline in whole blood by an average of 40% at four weeks and maintained that increase for the duration of the trial.
- Participants taking double the recommended daily dose (500 mg) saw their NAD+ levels increase approximately 90% at four weeks, and a significantly higher level of NAD+ (compared to the recommended dose of BASIS™) was maintained for the duration of the trial.
This first-in-humans study demonstrates clearly that BASIS™ can increase NAD+ levels in the blood safely and sustainably. Confirming that BASIS™ is an effective NAD+ precursor in humans is a vital first step to elucidating how BASIS™ supports human health. (4)
I took the recommended dosage of 250 mg per day of Basis for one year and didn’t notice anything. To be fair to Elysium, I take many supplements and usually can not isolate their specific effects.
Then Prohealth came out with their NAD+Ignite product, which I’ve been consuming for three months now. Because it’s much less expensive (see my article on the subject), I’ve been taking 666 mg per day. Again, I can’t be sure of the effect, but I have noticed more bounce in my step, and my HIIT (high intensity interval training) consisting of sprinting ups stairs seems to be a bit easier.I’m telling you all this because you can try NAD+ supplementation now. I recommend Prohealth’s NAD+Ignite. It’s sourced from the same manufacturer as Elysium’s Basis and you get more for the money. You may buy it on Amazon.com here.
For an interesting review about NAD et al, read David Stipp’s article published in Scientific American: Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD Fad.
Finally, watch Dr. Sinclair describe his NAD longevity and DNA repair experiments, and you’ll learn why NAD is as close as we’ve got right now to a bonafide longevity pill:
2. A Bacterium From A Remote Island May Become An Anti-aging Drug
In a recent edition of MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regalado writes “Is this the anti-aging pill we’ve all been waiting for?”.
Strangely, Mr. Regalado is referring to a bacterium discovered on a remote island 2,075 km (1,289 miles) west of Chile, called Easter Island, or Rapa Nui. This island of about 100 inhabitants is famous for its archaeological sites, including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai created by inhabitants during the 13th–16th centuries. Those big-headed stone monoliths in the picture above aptly show you what they look like.
As the moai are big, the bacteria in question are microscopically small. They’re called “Rapamycin” and the little buggers are causing quite a large stir among scientists and pharmaceutical companies. One such company, resTORbio, is testing derivatives of rapamycin to reverse what it calls “immunosenescence,” or detrimental changes to the immune system that occur with age. In part, that might include trying to restore certain types of T cells, which become exhausted and don’t remain vigilant against cancer and infections. (5)
Rapamycin acts on what is called the mTOR complex, a set of genes that play a basic role in regulating the metabolism of cells. When mTOR is blocked, it can push cells into a life-extending survival mode. This can also be done by feeding animals a very low-calorie diet, but with rapamycin, the potential is to extend life via a mechanism that is actionable with a drug, as opposed to eating six peas a day. (5)
If you’re interested in learning more about rapamycin, read my two articles:
Other than that, If you haven’t already I suggest you subscribe to my weekly Newsletter so you can stay apprised of the latest developments in the quest for a longevity pill.
3. A Peptide That Can Bring Life Back to New Cells
Rich Haridy tells us in his article, Anti-aging protein reverses hair loss, improves stamina in mice that one day soon we may be able to extend our lifespan by repairing or preventing cellular senescence.
Regular readers of this site are familiar with my fascination about cellular senescence. (Read How Intermittent Fasting Ignites Cellular Autophagy and A Longer, Healthier Life.) This is simply because this is one area of anti-aging science that has come up with interventions that look like they could improve health and increase lifespan, such as fasting and/or intermittent fasting, which I regularly practice.
Mr. Haridy delves into some of the newest research in this area. Senescent cells are damaged cells that accumulate in various tissues and organs as we get older and are known to damage adjacent cells and cause chronic inflammation associated with (or perhaps an amplifier of) age-related diseases. The reasoning goes that if we can heal or prevent senescence, good things will happen.
And a specific peptide just might do it.
A team of scientists has discovered a peptide that targets senescent cells to reverse symptoms of aging in mice. The treatment restored missing fur, improved kidney function and fitness in mice genetically engineered to rapidly age. (6)
In 2015, The Scripps Research Institute scientists discovered two compounds that selectively targeted specific groups of senescent cells, and in 2016, researchers at the Mayo Clinic trialed a compound that eliminated senescent cells in mice, resulting in an extension of median lifespan by 17 to 35%.
Not to be left behind in the dust, researchers at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands have identified a peptide that causes senescent cells to go through apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
By the way, a “peptide” is like a protein, but smaller, having molecules that consist of between 2 and 50 amino acids; whereas proteins have more than 50 amino acids and are more structured. (7)
The fine Erasmus scientist tell us that it was a peptide that blocked the communication of a protein coding gene called FOXO4 with another protein, p53. It’s believed that the interaction of these two proteins causes senescence in cells. When that communication is blocked the senescent cells self-destruct.
Nicer yet is the Netherlands team is preparing to start a human trial soon. I’ll monitor news about this and alert you should they identified the peptide and find that it reverses some of the biomarkers in the humans studied associated with aging.
4. An Astaxanthin Compound May Activate A Longevity Gene
You just read about how a peptide can disrupt the communication channel between two proteins, one called FOXO4, resulting in lifespan increases in mice. Well, there’s another FOXO I want to tell you about, and this one we want to be expressed loud and clear, not silenced.
The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and Cardax, Inc., a Honolulu based life sciences company, announced the results of an animal study evaluating the effectiveness of a compound that holds promise in anti-aging therapy by significantly increasing the expression of the FOXO3 gene, which plays a proven role in longevity. (8)
Yes, one FOXO we want, and one we don’t.
The compound CDX-085 in the Hawaii study come from a common supplement, Astaxanthin, and it showed the ability to significantly increase the expression of the FOXO3 gene, which all of us have, and which protects us from aging; however, only one-in-three of us carry a version of the FOXO3 gene that is associated with longevity.
Astaxanthin “activates” the FOXO3 gene in all us. (8)
Despite that assertion, the study was done on mice, not humans. Dr. Richard Allsopp said that,
… We found a nearly 90% increase in the activation of the FOXO3 “Longevity Gene” in the mice fed the higher dose of the Astaxanthin compound CCDX-085.
That “higher dose” was not identified.
At this point I was wondering if the Astaxanthin supplement I take would do the job. Did it contain the compound CDX-085?
From what I can glean from Examine.com’s review of the supplement, it does not, at least not in sufficient amounts.
Astaxanthin is derived from marine sources, such as shrimp or krill, but Examine says this about CDX-085:
Cardax Pharmaceuticals now has a new compound which is claimed to be more water-soluble and bioavailable relative to natural astaxanthin… this compound is known as CDX-085. (9)
So, I wouldn’t suggest you leap from you seat and rush to buy the natural form of astaxanthin widely available as a supplement because it will keep or make you young (though sometime soon, an astaxanthin derived compound just might help do that); instead consider adding astaxanthin to your supplement arsenal.
In its current manifestation, astaxanthin may not help you live longer, but it will help you live healthier. Here are some of its benefits, according to Examine.com:
- Astaxanthin can improve many blood parameters that could be beneficial to heart disease. At doses of 6-8mg daily, it can decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevent it from becoming artherogenic (artery clogging).
- Astaxanthin can increase general blood flow and reduce blood sugar in diabetics and blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (humans not studied yet) with no effect on these measures in normal healthy persons.
- Astaxanthin is also a potent anti-inflammatory and has more anti-oxidant capabilities than vitamin A itself.
A lot is happening in the anti-aging field. The most relevant question for us isn’t if there’ll come a day pretty soon when some intervention is proven to help extend our healthy years, but will it be available to us?
Will it be affordable?
Could be that such an elixir will only be drunk by the very rich, as Paul Tullis reports in his article, Are You Rich Enough To Live Forever?
I think it’s reasonable to assume that some longevity pill will only be available to the rich for quite some time before economies of scale or some other invisible hand let’s it trickle down to the masses. But for us intrepid investigators, there will either be a workaround or some other way to jump on the longevity bandwagon once it pulls into town.
That’s my aim and that’s what I’ll alert you to, so stick around.
In the meantime:
- Check out Prohealth’s NAD+Ignite and see if it’s something you’d like to try; and
- Do the same with Astaxanthin.
Ciao for now.