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  • Anti-Aging Dietary Supplements Finally Gain Respectability But Only Because They Are Now Endorsed By Scientific & Financial Elites

    February 15, 2015: by Bill Sardi

    In the wake of the Attorney General of the State of New York maligning herbal supplements, to claim herbal remedies sold in major store chains are mislabeled and often contain nothing more than powdered rice and houseplants as fillers, an MIT-based nutraceutical (aka dietary supplement) company has been spawned to introduce a scientifically valid anti-aging pill.

    Dietary supplements, widely dismissed by physicians for not being “FDA approved” and unfairly maligned by the research community and the news media, may finally be getting some respect.  But only in the context that an anti-aging pill is beyond the  charter of the FDA which is to approve molecules, both natural and synthetic, that are safe and effective in the prevention, treatment or cure of disease.  Aging is not considered a disease per se and conclusive evidence an anti-aging agent works might take decades to validate.  So the more economical, more practical route of introducing an anti-aging pill as a dietary supplement has been taken by one of the most esteemed scientific centers in the world – Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Therefore Elysium Health has been founded by Leonard Guarente PhD, an MIT biologist who has made considerable contributions to the field of aging research in the past decade which includes discovery of the Sirtuin1 survival gene as a primary gene target of lifespan- doubling calorie restricted diets in the animal lab.

    Elysium’s first product is a combination of resveratrol (pterostilbene) and nicotinamide riboside as a precursor for NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) called BASIS which will be “manufactured under strict pharmaceutical-quality production standards” says the company.  It sells for $60/30-day supply exclusively via direct online sales.   [MIT Technology Review Feb 3, 2015]

    An MIT publication describes existing nutraceuticals as “a pig in a poke – you don’t know the quality you are getting.”  Therefore the presumed need for Elysium’s BASIS.

    The two announcements, the one emanating from the New York AG’s office that herbal products are watered down with cheap inactive ingredients and the other the introduction of a “pharmaceutical grade” nutraceutical were so uncannily timed to coincide with each other I actually thought of investigating whether the New York attorney general was on the advisory board of Elysium.

    The combination molecule nutraceutical is scientifically established.  I’m sure BASIS’ formulators will eventually get around to removal of its synthetic colorants (F.D.&C Blue 1, F.D.&C Red 4) listed on the supplement facts box of Elysium’s BASIS product in order to meet the sophisticated requirements of many dietary supplement buyers who are wary of these excipients. [] The potential adverse health effects of these food dyes have been described in the medical literature. []

    Let’s not be overly critical.  Elysium Health is just getting its sea legs.  There is certainly room enough for one more marketer of these pills if humanity finally wakes up and begins to take resveratrol pills en mass if for no other reason than the credibility MIT brings to the field of anti-aging pills

    However Elysium will face a big challenge.  Sales of anti-aging pills, led by the red wine molecule resveratrol, haven’t taken off in the past decade since they were first posed as an anti-aging elixir.  [MIT Technology Review Feb 3, 2015]  Many entrepreneurs rushed to make resveratrol pills.

    Whether anticipated scientific experiments in the animal lab and human clinical studies will produce a claim of superiority (e.g. “in human equivalent terms BASIS resulted in lab rats living 5 more years than plain resveratrol alone”) are yet to be demonstrated.  And there already is a nutraceutical that has been demonstrated by National Institutes of Health researchers to work in a superior manner to resveratrol, at least in the animal lab [PloS One Dec 23, 2010], formulated by yours truly.

    Whether doctors will begin to prescribe Elysium’s high-brow anti-aging pill is yet to be seen.  So far physicians have largely shunned resveratrol pills.  Maybe the MIT imprimatur will overcome their condescension of dietary supplements.

    Elysium Health already has competition.  There 500 brands of resveratrol pills in North America as well as a broad number of branded nicotinamide riboside pills under the raw material maker’s trade name Niagen.  [ and]

    The positive portrayal of this “ivory tower pedigree” anti-aging pill ought to say to those who have been taking resveratrol pills for the past decade they haven’t been wasting their money.

    Elysium Health boasts as advisors the former director of the FDA’s division of dietary supplements and CEO of the Natural Products Association along with five Nobel Prize winners and a noted venture capitalist or two.

    That certainly trumps Dr. Oz, whose promotion of resveratrol and other dietary supplements on TV has been roundly criticized.  [Washington Post Feb 4, 2015]

    But then again, few people would recognize the name of any Nobel laureates.  Lady Gaga might do a better job from the standpoint of public recognition.  And despite Elysium’s prestigious lineup of 30 elite advisors who inexplicably waited a decade to begin to take resveratrol, the company concedes only anecdotal evidence for their product is available at the present time (gee, we heard that complaint for decades about dietary supplements). []

    It’s MIT’s turn.  Harvard-based Sirtris Pharmaceuticals introduced its resveratrol-based SRT-501 Sirtuin1 survival gene activator a few years ago and sold out to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for $720 million.  But it appears GSK bought the company to put it on the shelf.  Sirtris’ SRT501 resveratrol pill is no more.

    And remember when Sirtris executives tried to market SRT-501 as a dietary supplement and were disciplined by GSK for doing so (another tacit admission pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals are equivalent.) [ Aug 13, 2010]

    At least one of the major retailers of herbal products fingered by the New York AGs office has already re-tested their products and claims their products do in fact contain what the label indicates.  [ Feb 10, 2015]  So maybe major retail store chains aren’t peddling mislabeled low-brow herbal products after all.  #### © 2015 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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