test your knowledge
How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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February 23, 2011: by Bill Sardi
There is a very simple measure for any new potential therapy for enhanced longevity: is it either (a) doing at least as well as calorie restriction in mice when it comes to health and longevity, or (b) achieving important results that calorie restriction cannot show in mice – such as outright rejuvenation. The popular supplement resveratrol fails miserably to achieve significant results in either of these goals after more than five years of experimentation and hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding. This means that it is a dead end, or so close to one as makes no real difference. The only value gained lies in incremental improvements in the understanding of metabolism – which could have been achieved while studying more effective paths to the same end goal.
Whenever a new supplement, drug, or something else you can put in your mouth is announced to possibly affect longevity, there follows a breathless wave of hype and money-making. Go search for “resveratrol” to see the present pointless wasteland of thoughtless buyers and manipulative sellers. You’d think that no-one has a memory of longer than a year: every time this happens exactly the same way, and in the end it all comes to nothing.
Silver bullets don’t exist, and the future of longevity science will not be found in paths that fail to show immediate, exciting benefit in mouse studies. When there are multiple ways to extend mouse life span by 50%, why would anyone be worked up about about something that fails to move the needle at all? It’s way past time to move on from the resveratrols of the world and focus on research and development effects that can have a positive effect on the future of human longevity.
Mr. Reason keeps pushing high-tech answers that society simply cannot afford. Resveratrol research continues and one wonders where all the human research is? Human clinical research is wanting. Resveratrol is being dismissed by Big Pharma because this single small molecule threatens modern pharmacology. Resveratrol would replace most prescription drugs. Rapamycin is posed as the next anti-aging pill, but it could not possibly be employed among the healthy because of its many side effects.
There certainly is truth to the hucksters who sell res pills, and there is truth to the issue of magic bullets. But modern medicine has few of those as well and cancer, hypertension, heart disease and most other age-related disorders are treated with multiple drugs. Single molecules rarely work.
The same goes for resveratrol, its real power is when it is combined with other small molecules and this has been demonstrated in numerous studies. The magic of red wine is that it concentrates by fermentation a number of small molecules that work synergistically.
It is important to first develop a theory of aging rather than be left with the nebulous library of 300 posed theories of aging. Why do humans age? So much research is conducted without addressing that.
Humans age at three different speeds, as evidence by the accumulation of lipofuscin — cellular debris that is not digested away by enzymes produced by lysosomal bodies within living cells. There is, in general, little or no accumulation of lipofuscin during the growth years, then progressive accumulation during the following middle years, and then a slowing of the rate of aging in late life. The only explanation for this is overmineralization. The demand for minerals is high during childhood growth. Minerals, primarily iron, copper and calcium, begin to accumulate in excess after childhood growth of completed. The lysosomal bodies and mitochondria within calls begin to rust and calcify.
Males age faster than females. By age 40 a male has twice as much iron and four-times as much calcium as an equally-aged female, and incurs double the rate of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Females live, on average, 5-8 years longer than males. Women avoid overmineralization by donating minerals to their offspring and dumping iron and copper via monthly menstrual flow. If a woman has an early hysterectomy, she has the same rate of disease as males.
Resveratrol is a copper-chelating molecule that also controls iron via production of heme oxygenase. Resveratrol inhibits calcification of tissues and loss of bone by stimulation of osteocalcin, the hormone that holds calcium in bone instead of its typical loss with advancing age and subsequent calcification of arteries and soft tissues.
There currently is evidence that resveratrol, and more so resveratrol when combined with other small molecules, turns mortal heart attacks into non-mortal events. This has been demonstrated in excised animal hearts and cannot be repeated in humans for obvious ethical reasons. There is strong evidence that resveratrol combats cancer at all three stages of development — initiation, growth and spread (metastasis), something no other anti-cancer drug can claim. I have evidence in hand that a resveratrol-based nutriceutical completely reverses a rapidly-progressive form of blindness in aged adults and rescues stem cells in the process so that tissue regeneration is experienced.
There — you have been presented with the fact that resveratrol potentially erases mortal heart attacks, prevents cancer and reverses an age-related form of blindness, three scourges of mankind. Is this good enough for you?
In an ignored study conducted over 15-years ago it was shown that CR dramatically reduces accumulation of lipofuscin in the retina. But it was also shown that bran added to the diet of animals produces almost the same effect. Bran contains a mineral-controlling molecule. [Investigative Ophthalmology Vision Science November 1993 vol. 34 no. 12 3297-3302] This study provided early evidence that there are ways to mimic CR molecularly without the need for food deprivation. – Bill Sardi, Feb. 22, 2011