Advancing Anti-Aging Research

For a very, very long time, anti-aging drugs have been the bane of scammers, scoundrels and charlatans. Snake oil, if you will. Turns out, there are some anti-aging drugs and you may well be taking one of them? Have type 2 diabetes and on metformin? That’s one of them and FDA approval is being sought for its use as an anti-aging medication.

The world’s population is aging, especially in parts of Asia, Europe and North America. Over the next 30 years it is projected that the number of over 65 year olds will double to 1.5 Billion. Only the continent of Africa is seeing significant growth in a younger population.

Today, over 80% of adults aged 65 or over have at least one chronic illness with 68% having two or more. That’s a lot of illness and a lot of medications. From heart disease to diabetes, hypertension, dementia, arthritis and so on All of which require some form of regular medication, sometimes multiple medications.

The research into how some medications could be used even in the absence of the condition that would be treated with that medication is ramping up. And let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about living forever. This is about avoiding certain diseases that kick in with aging and giving us a chance to live a wee bit longer and spoil our grandchildren a bit more.

One interesting area of research is into mitochondria, which as we age, degrade in our body’s cells, impacting healthy cell functions. Mitochondria are in every cell in our body.  Now, scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas are studying the use of a natural supplement called GlyNAC which a mixture of an amino acid called glycene and the medication known as  N-acetylcysteine (NAC). The research has so far shown a 24% increase in lifespan for mice. More work is ongoing.

Aging is a huge risk, we know, for illnesses from cardiovascular disease to cancer and dementia. The work that’s taking place these days is at a very micro level, looking deep into our body’s cells and in a more holistic way as well. Scientists have defined a range of changes that happen in our bodies as we age and call them “hallmarks” of aging. Work is underway to see how they’re interconnected rather than just focusing on one illness at a time. If these problems can be addressed in groups or as a whole, the theory is that aging can be slowed down and many of these diseases might be deferred as well.

One big challenge for this medical research is that humans age over many decades, thus making trials lengthy and expensive. One workaround some doctors are approaching is working with one of human’s best friends; dogs. They age seven times faster than humans yet experience many of the same age related diseases and conditions. As well, they share our homes and environmental conditions, all of which are important to such studies.

For a long time, scientists approached dealing with age related issues as seeking a cure for each and every one. That’s basically playing whack a mole and would take even longer to see beneficial outcomes. Now, looking at aging in a holistic way and from a preventative perspective, this could lead to faster results and a better understanding of the aging process as a whole. We are learning so much more.

Discover More: Check out this inspiring article on walking our way to better health.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay