I recently caught up with an old friend (no pun intended) who asked me what I'd been up to. When I described my biohacking journey and my mission to help women live well longer she exclaimed, 'why would anyone want to extend their geriatric years?'.
It's not an uncommon sentiment. We've been conditioned to expect that when we age we'll physically deteriorate and end up in an aged-care facility having to be spoon-fed and have our nappies changed.
Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not signing up for that!
Can a drug keep you young for longer?
What if anti-ageing drugs can help keep us young for longer?
It really is the hot question on every biohacker's lips right now. With billions of dollars being thrown at trying to discover the ultimate youth pill, longevity researchers now say they understand why, and importantly HOW, the body ages. And with that they can figure out how we can all stay younger and healthier for longer.
As we age, our bodies undergo a variety of changes that contribute to the development of age-related diseases and a decline in overall health. Researchers now believe that diseases like diabetes, cancer, and dementia etc. are symptoms of ageing.
For many years, scientists have been searching for ways to slow down or even reverse the ageing process, with the ultimate goal of improving health and increasing lifespan. One promising avenue of research in this area involves the development of anti-ageing drugs.
There's been a flurry of research activity in this field, with scientists testing a wide-range of compounds in animal models and human clinical trials. While much of this research is still in the early stages, there's several drugs that have shown significant potential for increasing lifespan and improving health in ageing populations.
Anti-ageing drugs and supplements
Rapamycin - originally developed as an immunosuppressant to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients, Rapamycin has since been shown to have a wide-range of anti-ageing effects. Studies in mice have found that it can extend lifespan by up to 25 per cent, and can also improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.
Metformin - is a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that Metformin can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. More recently, researchers have found that metformin may also have anti-ageing effects, with one study finding the drug can extend lifespan in mice by up to 40%.
Berberine - is an effective substitute for Metformin. It's sourced from plants like Goldenseal, Barberry, Oregon Grape, and Turmeric. I personally take Berberine and have found it effective in helping to maintain blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown it to be effective in maintaining weight loss and reducing inflammation.
Resveratrol - a compound found in red wine and grapes, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, and Nicotinamide Riboside, a form of vitamin B3 can also improve mitochondrial function and increase lifespan in mice.
NMN - Nicotinamide mononucleotide is a precursor to NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a coenzyme that is involved in many cellular processes, including energy production and DNA repair. While both NMN and NAD+ have been shown to have health benefits, some studies suggest that NMN may be more effective at increasing NAD+ levels in the body. NMN is thought to be more easily absorbed by the body than NAD+ supplements, which may make it a more practical option for those looking to boost their NAD+ levels. Some of the potential benefits of NMN include improved metabolism, enhanced brain function, and increased longevity.
Then there are the up and coming generation alphas of anti-ageing drugs known as senolytics. These target dysfunctional cells, also called 'zombie' cells, cleaning them up leaving behind only healthy cells. As you age, your body becomes less effective at cleaning up zombie cells which can lead to chronic diseases.
Unity Biotechnology is developing a senolytic, called UBX1325 targeting the healing or reversal of diabetic macular edema (DME) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Renowned Aussie Harvard Professor and Longevity guru, Dr David Sinclair's new company Tally Health has launched its 'Vitality' supplement targeting reducing biological age. Unfortunately, it's not available in Australia yet, but I'm lining up to be one of the first Aussie biohackers to try it.
While the potential benefits of anti-ageing drugs is exciting, there's still many challenges that need to be overcome before these drugs can be widely used to improve human health. One major challenge is that ageing is a complex process, and it's likely that a combination of drugs and interventions will be needed to effectively slow down or reverse the ageing process.
Another challenge is that many of these drugs have side effects that can be problematic for some patients. For example, Rapamycin can suppress the immune system, which can increase the risk of infections and other health problems. Metformin can also cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which can be difficult for some patients to tolerate.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of anti-ageing drugs are too significant to ignore. As the world's population continues to age, finding ways to improve health and increase lifespan will become increasingly important. With continued research and development, it's possible that anti-ageing drugs may one day become a powerful tool for achieving these goals.