What Is the "Longevity Pill," and How Does It Affect Aging? - Longevity and Supplements (Live healthy naturally)


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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

What Is the "Longevity Pill," and How Does It Affect Aging?

What Is the "Longevity Pill," and How Does It Affect Aging?

 Having a medication that can extend your life has long been a myth, or a hypothetical that is played out in television and movies. However, new research indicates that this may no longer be a work of fiction, and Dr. Nir Barzilai is striving to solidify the answer.

Barzilai is an Israeli anti-aging researcher who works primarily at the Center for Biology of Human Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, among other places. Barzilai has spent the last three decades studying a medicine known as metformin. In the 1980s, he contributed to the development of the medication as a therapy for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.(According to the University of California-San Francisco, it is "the most commonly prescribed medicine for type 2 diabetes worldwide.")

But what Barzilai discovered later was momentous.

Metformin's History and Future Prospects

Metformin helps diabetics return to normal blood sugar levels. It basically reduces the amount of sugar your body absorbs from eating. However, the root of metformin is found in a plant known as French lilac. This plant, also known as goat's rue, has been used for centuries for medical purposes other than diabetes—a disease that was not well understood in the 1600s.

Patients who have been taken metformin to treat diabetes instead of other leading medications have enjoyed an overall healthier life, living longer and having a lower risk of suffering from illnesses such as:

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer's disease (AD)
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease

"Metformin may have already saved more people from cancer deaths than any other drug in history," said Lewis Cantley, a specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine's Cancer Center. And that's not even what it was attempting.

However, it has not been established that metformin is an anticancer medicine. As a 2017 WIRED profile on Barzilai pointed out, the argument that metformin can heal cancer has numerous flaws. The medicine may provide some benefits in battling cancer, but it is not the be-all and end-all of cancer treatment. (According to the WIRED piece, metformin had no effect on advanced pancreatic cancer in two studies.)
For years, there have been a flood of advised anti-aging procedures that have yet to be concretely proven to make you live longer. These behaviors and recommendations have included proposals such as:

  • Dietary (eating better)
  • Cosmetic (surgery to change)
  • Physical exercise (working out more)
  • Transfusions of blood (replacing older blood with blood from younger, healthier humans)
There is hope that metformin will provide consistent, reliable evidence that there are scientific techniques to counteract aging. The issue is that the Food and Drug Administration does not consider "aging" to be a medical condition. But here comes Barzilai's new trial, Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME).

Metformin and the Prospect of Hope

According to TAME's website, if the study reveals the medicine truly has anti-aging properties, it might pave the way for a new industry of anti-aging research and drug development. "We MUST conduct the experiment first, which will pave the way for FDA approval of aging as an indicator, as well as the creation of new pharmaceuticals that will address aging," according to the website.

Anti-aging medications can thus be recognized as treating an illness and hence eventually reimbursed by insurance. According to S. Jay Olshansky, one of Barzilai's colleagues, "within five minutes" of a discussion with the FDA, "we were all in perfect agreement that this is conceivable" and that exploring the effects of metformin is "a fantastic idea."

Over the course of five years, the TAME study will include "about 3,000 men and women between the ages of 65 and 79 at 14 facilities around the country." The study will cost about $70 million and will be funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. "What we truly want is metformin's capacity to prevent age-related diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease," Barzilai explained in an NBC Today profile. He stated that if metformin can be shown to delay the onset of certain age-related diseases by two to three years, it might save Americans up to $7 trillion in healthcare expenses by 2050.

Barzilai's art has gained such acclaim that he has been invited to the Vatican twice. Barzilai visited the papal location in 2016 for a symposium on cellular medicines, which was attended by the Pope and former Vice President Joe Biden. According to WIRED, he took his research—and his ideas for future development—to the conference in quest of financing, but he didn't get the chance to ask for it. However, the aging research business has.

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, as well as Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have made investments in the industry. Money pouring into the business is a positive indication for Barzalai and his study (he must be doing something right), as well as for Americans in general.

Many of these drugs may also be relatively inexpensive. Metformin costs only 5 cents each pill, which is less than the cost of practically any prescription drug. This is extremely beneficial to Americans' health issues, as they may be able to optimize their healthy years in the future.

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