Two new compounds are showing promise not just in slowing physical aging but actually reversing it.
The first is rapamycin, a substance discovered on Easter Island (a volcanic island in Polynesia) in a strain of strep bacteria. Rapamycin suppresses immune response and so is commonly given to people who receive organ transplants to quell rejection; and it prevents cells from replicating, making it a go-to drug for cancer patients.
As those patients began to show signs of “aging in reverse,” scientists began to study rapamycin’s unexpected side effects. So far, more than 80 studies on animals and a small number of human volunteers show a surprising catalog of benefits:
- it extends the lifespan of life forms ranging from yeast to mice;
- it seems to slow or even prevent common age-related deterioration of the eyes, heart, and even individual cells;
- it shows signs that it can reverse obesity and prevent cancer.
Rapamycin reportedly shows no side effects, even in pregnant women, and a small human trial testing its’ anti-aging properties is now under way.
Another study reports reversing biological age in older men by giving them a combination of human growth hormone, a hormone called DHEA, and metformin, a drug used to control high blood sugar.
Over the two-year trial, researchers concluded that the men shaved 1.5 years off their biological age. The determination was based on images of the thymus gland, which accumulates fat and deteriorates with age. In the study, the men’s thymus glands reportedly lost fat and regenerated healthy tissue.
Long-term side effects of these drug cocktails can’t yet be measured.
TRENDPOST: Various attempts to reverse biological aging are showing success, including calorie restriction as well as a variety of cocktails mixing drugs, hormones, and other ingredients.
Creating a genuinely immortal human may be possible in some future century. But by 2050, humans will be able to use cocktails like these to extend their healthy lives beyond 100 years.