Reversing Aging: Not as Crazy as You Think

Harvard researchers find a new compound that can make old cells young again

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What makes cells age? Wear and tear, yes. But biologically, says, Dr. David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, it’s lack of oxygen that signals cells that it’s their time to go. Without oxygen, the energy engines known as the mitochondria become less efficient at turning physiological fuel like glucose into the energy that the cells need to function. Eventually, they shut down.

But in a paper published in the journal Cell, Sinclair and his colleagues describe for the first time a compound naturally made by young cells that was able to revive older cells and make them energetic and youthful again. In an experiment in mice, the team found that giving older mice a chemical called NAD for just one week made 2-year-old-mice tissue resemble that of 6-month-old mice (in human years, that would be akin to a 60-year-old’s cells becoming more like those belonging to a 20-year-old).

As mammals age, says Sinclair, levels of NAD drop by 50%; with less of the compound, the communication between the cell and its mitochondrial energy source also falters, and the cell becomes vulnerable to common aging assaults — inflammation, muscle wasting and slower metabolism. By tricking the cell into thinking it’s young again, with adequate amounts of NAD, aging can theoretically be reversed. “When we give the molecule, the cells think oxygen levels are normal and everything revs back up again,” Sinclair says.

While NAD may be a key to the fountain of youth, Sinclair, who also investigated the anti-aging effects of the red-wine compound resveratrol, isn’t ready to say that the chemical could lead to immortal cells. “I wouldn’t take it that far,” he says. “What makes reversing aging interesting is that it could buy more time than we are currently looking at.”

His next step is to put NAD in the drinking water of his mice, and see if they take longer to develop the typical chronic diseases linked to aging, such as inflammation, muscle wasting, cancer and diabetes. The pathway may become an important target for cancer researchers as well, since tumors typically grow in low-oxygen conditions and are more common in older patients.

Because NAD is a naturally occurring compound that simply declines with age, Sinclair is optimistic that boosting its levels in people won’t have as many significant adverse effects as introducing an entirely new compound might. “If a body is slowly falling apart and losing the ability to regulate itself effectively, we can get it back on track to what it was in its 20s and 30s,” he says.

At least that’s the hope.

36 comments
zealoshill
zealoshill

Although aging is an age old phenomenon but the research and Development human beings have made in the past few years including the one mentioned in the post have been able to bring up products and treatments that can make a person feel and look young. Have been using revitol anti aging cream since a long time and seen great effects of it on my skin. 

SheliaFord
SheliaFord

I will volunteer for the testing on People.

Call me


frankpeters898
frankpeters898

If you are still reading this, don't get suckered by the snake oil salesmen/women below. It's just amazing how the predators flock to the vulnerable, geesh...

jgk381
jgk381

I have go-"nad's". Does that mean my penis is the fountain of youth?

MelissaWillow
MelissaWillow

I found a company selling a supplement containing NAD (www.zaoreset.com) and am thinking of trying it. Has anyone any else tried this product yet?

ConfiDintial
ConfiDintial

Biotivia has just announced Biotrans, a supplement which contains the same compound, NAD+, which was shown to reverse muscle aging in the Dr. Sinclair Harvard/National Institutes of Health study. To avoid the destruction of the molecule by stomach enzymes the tablet uses a time release technology. This is the same company that makes Transmax, the resveratrol supplement which is used in most of the human clinical trials.

BabuG.Ranganathan
BabuG.Ranganathan

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AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

Food also plays a vital role in controlling chronic diseases linked to aging such as, inflammation, muscle wasting, cancer and diabetes. I have selected at random a few examples. It is also wrong to give importance to vegetarian diet. Veggies cannot be assured of longevity. The typical example is the lifespan of Tamil Brahmins of India who are 100% vegetarians. The average age of this community is 51. Conversely, the Icelanders and Japanese are non-vegetarians who cannot relish their food without meat and fish. The lifespan of the Japanese and Icelanders is the longest in the world. Churchill who ate meat, drank heavily and smoked cigars lived up to the ripe age of 91. On the other hand, Indian swami and Yoga guru Vivekananda was a strict vegetarian and he died at the age of 40. What we know from this practical study is non-vegetarian food and exercise are good for longevity and good health instead of vegetarian food and Yoga.If yoga can arrest aging, why the lifespan of Indians is shorter than Americans?  Non-vegetarian food  may have  chemicals with anti-aging effects similar to NAD or red wine..

regenam
regenam

First the compound that reversed aging in this study is nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which gets converted into NAD in the body.  It is the amount of NAD in the cell that is key to the anti-aging effects. 

Note that they injected the NMN, it was not taken orally.  So is there anything one can take to see if there's benefit?  Sinclair suggested using oral NAD, but another study by Kimura et al (2006) suggests that oral NADH (a form of NAD) is degraded before reaching the bloodstream.   Another possibility is that NMN itself is a derivative of Vitamin B3, but as mice age there is less of the enzyme that converts vitamin B3 into NMN. Since NAD is the key metabolite that "reverses" aging  in skeletal muscle in mice, it is unclear whether Vitamin B3 would be of much benefit.  

Second, "aging" was only reversed in skeletal muscle, and then not completely. Treatment did NOT result in regained muscle strength.  Here is a direct quote from the actual paper: "we did not observe an improvement in muscle strength (data not shown)."  The authors state that this does NOT work in the brain, liver etc.


If you are interested in hearing about how this fits in with other recent advances take a look at "Medical Implications of Basic Research in Aging," a recent book (2013) that goes into just this kind of research and the implications for personal health and longevity.

James10
James10

Alice Park, you're East Asian.  You guys have the longest pregnancy, are later to walk, later to hit puberty, later to hit your intellectual peak, later to hit menopause, later to die.  86.5 years is the average for East Asian Americans.  By far the highest of any group.  You literally age slower than other humans, and are most resistant to cancer and heart disease.  Haven't you noticed you always look younger than your non East Asian peers at every stage of life?  You guys have the best chance of extending life too.  Please do it fast, and save the rest of us from Father Time.


http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/life-expectancy-by-re/

Rubybellpeppers
Rubybellpeppers

I think .. therefore I am ... old .. if that's how I see myself .. or young when I see myself as so and it has nothing in the world to do with any outside force but your thoughts creating your reality. Then you may choose any way you wish to justify that ... but it is your thinking that creates it nevertheless. http://www.mastermindbyrodalangrana.com. By the way you could also choose a nonsensical method to explain anything and have it come true for you. Try it out and you will have to agree with me. Buy my book .. it'll help you shed light and guide your thinking correctly.  Seasons best .. Roda Langrana

Dr_D_
Dr_D_

If there is no hope, there is no hope. Mankind progresses through hope only. Keep hope alive till the hope comes true.

nikolay
nikolay

I wonder if NADH, which is pretty popular and cheap, has a similar effect. I assume Niacin is a precursor to NAD.

RowlandDelgadoBella
RowlandDelgadoBella

hope it works , man's eternal quest for the fountain of youth.............great..great


PaulHott
PaulHott

 Yes, NAD is "Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide"... See this article from Oct 2012 in the Journal of Cell Biology talking about the possible positive effects: http://jcb.rupress.org/content/199/2/205.full

Of note to other commenters here: NAD+ precursors have been used extensively as dietary supplements: nicotinic acid (NA; also known as niacin)...

Try taking some Niacin supplements? Other than that I couldn't come up with anything via google search to increase NAD+ levels...

JimmerJim
JimmerJim

Don't take the NADS out of my GONADS.

saraphoto777
saraphoto777

Yes, please tell us what NAD is so we can go out and buy some.

MabrookKhan
MabrookKhan

Why is it that the article does not define what this NAD compound is? That's poor journalism. 


Matt2h
Matt2h

It would have been nice if you had defined NAD. 

MichaelB2
MichaelB2

@frankpeters898  The article points out that an equivalent effective dose in humans would $40,000 per day.

najav12
najav12

@AbrahamYeshuratnam Whick D*** says that we live only to 51. Tamil Brahmins have one of the highest life expectensies in India where any death below 70 is considered premature. People living over 80 are fairly common. It's you guys who keep poppin of at 50 off heart attack/ cancer. Don't compare yourself to us

Androidluv
Androidluv

@AbrahamYeshuratnam "Practical study"? This is all hearsay, where is the scientific proof??? You conveniently chose examples that only complement your opinion on the subject matter. Good health has nothing to do with eating meat, it has to do with obtaining significant protein and phyto-micro nutrients which all can be sufficiently obtained from non animal sources. Yes there are unhealthy vegetarians in the world but that does not automatically disqualify all vegetarians from being healthy. Clearly you have an agenda here, as this article isn't even about "vegetarianism" so why even post such commentary? Anyone with half a brain can see the obvious bias here... 

KhalidAli
KhalidAli

@James10 not really, in japan they have the highest rate of stomach cancer


georgeo
georgeo

@PrimalFuturistYes. The guys over at http://hpnformula1.com/products/nr/ are the leaders in research into NAD supplements and how it can be used to reverse aging.

If you have children playing in sports I highly reccomend looking into their N(r) product. Keeping kids safe is priceless and this supplement could very well be a huge factor in preventing head injuires in high school athletics.


People should also note that Niagen can also be used to help prevent concussions and other related head injuries in and outside of sports.

We just had our first baseball player Ryan Freel has chronic traumatic encephalopathy from impact with other players, walls, etc. This unfortunately led him to commiting suicide after struggling with depression.

More research needs to be done, but I think we are on the right path with this one.


AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

@najav12 @AbrahamYeshuratnam Where is the statistical evidence to show that Tamil Brahmins "have one of the highest life expectansies in India?" There may be some cases because they avail themselves of  recent discoveries in Western medicine to handle diabetes, blood pressure and heart condition. The crust of the issue is the life span of vegetarian Indians is shorter than fish and meat eating Japanese and Icelanders. Don't make bizarre statements  about the  life expectancy of Brahmins without documentary evidence.

najav12
najav12

@AbrahamYeshuratnam @najav12 No more proof than your BS about our life expectancy being 51. Given that we diligently practiced family planning and kept small families our average age is higher than 51.


I can confidently tell you I will outlive you by a minimum of 15 years. It's just not the vegetarianism but the entire lifestyle, ethnic differences and general level of affluence which gives us a quality of life you people can only dream about