test your knowledge
How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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August 12, 2010: by Bill Sardi
In his new free online e-book, How The World Got Lost On The Road To An Anti-Aging Pill, health investigator Bill Sardi says three things have side-tracked humanity from finding that long sought-after fountain of youth or anti-aging pill that was the pursuit of explorers like Ponce de Leon and modern researchers like Linus Pauling.
Since the prospect of an anti-aging pill was first announced in late 2003, when a Harvard scientist first reported a red-wine molecule caused yeast cells to live far longer in a lab dish, the adoption of such red-wine pills has been puzzlingly slow.
Six years after that announcement, red-wine resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trawl) pills have been adopted by fewer than 1 million Americans, generating sales of around $30 million (2008 estimate). “Compare that to over $1 billion of sales of Viagra pills in their first year of availability,” says Sardi.
“This wasn’t another nostrum being promoted on late-night TV infomercials or by some self-proclaimed guru, it was being touted on the front pages of Scientific American and Science Magazine. While the public was curious, they weren’t ready to make guinea pigs out of themselves just yet,” says Sardi.
In his newly released e-book, Sardi says, in the 1960s and 1970s, midway on the timeline of a tremendous upsurge in life expectancy, American adults were still mentally ready to adopt such a development should science provide it.
Americans naively bought millions of bottles of Geritol, a liquid elixir that was widely advertised on TV game shows like Twenty-One and The-Sixty-Four-Thousand-Dollar Question, thinking it was good for their health, when it provided an array of B vitamins combined with an over-dosage of iron and a swig of 12% alcohol (six times more than a glass of wine!). It actually led to their early demise, says Sardi. Geritol was essentially an anti-anti-aging pill, he adds.
Inexplicably, Americans bought far more bottles of Geritol in the 1960s and 1970s than they bought red wine resveratrol pills in the first decade of the 21st century, he says.
The primary hang-up Americans have about super-longevity is that they are now more fearful of longevity than death. Americans have witnessed a generation of their own relatives who have lived the last 10-15 years of their lives in chronic disease and debilitation. They want nothing of this.
Sardi says if Americans are shown a photograph of a man blowing out 100 candles on his 100th-birthday cake, the vast majority will respond by saying “I don’t want to ever live that long.” “One would think our grandparents and parents are saying they are ready to line up for processing at the Soylent Green factory,” says Sardi. (He alludes to a 1973 movie that took viewing audiences to a time in the future when food shortages caused humans, upon their death, to be processed into a food called Soylent Green.)
Asked if they would take such an anti-aging pill if it ever became a reality, Sardi cites an online poll taken a few years ago which showed about 9 of 10 retirees would pass it up for three primary reasons: (1) they wouldn’t accept more quantity of life without more quality of life; (2) they are fearful they would run out of retirement money; (3) and they are concerned about contributing to the overpopulation of the planet.
The next longevity side-tracker Bill Sardi reveals in his book was unexpected, he says. His investigation uncovered clear evidence that genetic engineering technology, developed and published in the scientific literature in the early 1970s, was hidden from public view till recently because it would demolish industries such as life and health insurance and medical and pharmaceutical research, as well as topple most retirement funds.
Out of their own selfish interests, elitists made a decision that humanity was not ready for the introduction of technology that could make a 250-year life expectancy common, says Sardi. The news media was also complicit in concealing these discoveries, which could have resulted in the availability of an anti-aging pill 35 years sooner, he adds.
That decision produced the current drugs and circuses that threaten to topple modern society today, says Sardi. Had an anti-aging pill been introduced in the 1970s, and served to delay the onset of age-related disease by just 7 years, it would have averted the impending bankruptcy of Medicare, now facing a $60 trillion shortfall.
And finally, Sardi says, while there may be, for the first time, a bona fide anti-aging pill in the works, most American adults would not be ready to adopt it because of mental hang-ups and faulty thinking.
For example, Sardi says most Americans errantly believe the set of genes they inherited from their parents dictate the length of their lifespan. “There is no such thing as a longevity gene,” Sardi emphasizes. Everybody has the same set of ~25,000 genes, with a small number of structurally-defective (mutated) genes responsible for just 2% of all disease. The remaining genes are environmentally controlled. Aging involves the switching of many genes.
Etched in the public’s mind is the proud idea that longevity genes have been passed down to them when in fact a large body of scientific evidence points to the unequivocal fact that people with long-lived relatives who move to another country – such as the Japanese who have moved to Hawaii – will live a shortened life due to a change in their diet and environment.
The discovery that genes are controlled by environmental factors such as exposure to solar radiation, hot and cold temperature and provision or shortages of food, points to small natural molecules that can get into the genetic machinery within living cells and mimic these environmental factors. This is called molecular medicine. These mimetic molecules can be taken in the form of a pill – an anti-aging pill, notes Sardi.
The objective of an anti-aging pill is for small molecules like resveratrol to act as a short-cut or mimic of a limited-calorie diet, switching the same genes. A limited-calorie diet has been shown to nearly double the lifespan of all living organisms tested, including yeast cells, fruit flies, roundworms, rodents, and recently, primates.
Sardi says longevity seekers only need to switch about 800 or so genes in a favorable manner to achieve longevity. That is what a life-long, calorie-restricted diet achieves in rodent heart tissue. Mice have about the same number of genes as humans and the position and length of their genes are similar to humans, so they can serve as a laboratory model of human aging.
Sardi points to a laboratory study where mice were given a calorie-restricted diet, plain resveratrol, or resveratrol combined with other small molecules like those found in red wine. A short-term, limited-calorie diet controlled 198 genes, plain resveratrol a similar number of genes (225), while a specially formulated resveratrol pill combined with other molecules, similar to what is provided in red wine, controlled an unprecedented 1711 genes. [Experimental Gerontology 2008]
This means the beneficial effects of a limited-calorie diet can be mimicked in the short-term with a resveratrol-based nutriceutical (Longevinex®) that only many decades of adherence to a limited-calorie diet a daily use of a plain resveratrol pill can accomplish.
“If this laboratory test with mice is reflective of what happens in humans, those consumers who take plain resveratrol pills will have to take them for decades before they achieve a genomic effect similar to a calorie-restricted diet,” notes Sardi. “Many longevity seekers simply don’t have that many remaining years of life to live,” he says.
“This study was an exciting moment in the history of biology, and the research community has ignored it,” says Sardi. “The nutriceutical combination switched 633 genes in the same direction as a calorie-restricted diet,” he noted. “That is as close as modern biology has come to an anti-aging pill so far,” he says.
There is a lot of other faulty thinking about longevity, says Sardi. Among them are: (a) the mistaken belief they are too old to benefit from an anti-aging pill; (b) not wanting to interfere with God’s timing for the end of their life; and, (c) overwhelmed by this science, choosing to delegate their decision to take such a pill to their disease-oriented doctors.
Sardi says there is no category in the public’s mind for an anti-aging pill. “They don’t believe it could ever become a reality, or they fear it actually will. And they have fallen for so many nostrums against aging before.”
Sardi says there will never be an “FDA-approved anti-aging pill.” The problem in evaluating an anti-aging pill is conclusive proof of its effectiveness can only be shown in decades-long human studies, something that is prohibitive in cost and frankly impractical.
Sardi says he facetiously offers people who take anti-aging pills a guarantee: he will send them a cake and the candles if they reach their 100th birthday; but if they don’t reach the age of 100, they can send in receipts of their anti-aging pill purchases and receive a full refund!
He says biological markers of aging can provide sufficient proof these pills can slow and even reverse human aging. Such a proof-of-principle study was already conducted in a human by non-invasive measurement of cellular debris (called lipofuscin – li-poh-fusk-in) in the back of the eyes by digital imaging. Accumulation of cellular debris (lipofuscin) is an established marker of biological aging. After 5 months of taking an anti-aging pill, an 80-year-old man experienced a reduction of lipofuscin in his retinas, evidence for reversal of his biological age.
Sardi says technology is widely available today to assess a person’s biological age, apart from their chronological (calendar) age, by ocular measurement of lipofuscin.
Sardi, who fashioned a patent-applied-for, anti-aging pill in 2004, says he was prompted to do this when he visited the laboratory of a Harvard professor in late 2003. That professor showed him a drawer full of different brands of resveratrol pills that didn’t prolong the life of yeast cells. They were biologically inactive. His company, Resveratrol Partners LLC, was first to formulate a stabilized resveratrol-based pill (Longevinex®) that was equivalent to what researchers use in the laboratory.
As for the slow public adoption of such a pill, Sardi says: “One should have guessed that the pursuit of Ponce de Leon, that long sought-after fountain of youth, would be a poisoned spring before the world would find it.”
A free viewing copy of the newly-released e-book, entitled How The World Got Lost On The Road To An Anti-Aging Pill, is available here © 2010 Bill Sardi