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How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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April 1, 2012: by Bill Sardi
In the past decade or so red-wine resveratrol has been the most intensively studied anti-aging molecule. Resveratrol’s calling is that of a molecular mimic of a calorie-restricted diet that has been found to double the lifespan of all life forms tested.
Despite all the research, the confirmation of the first anti-aging pill has been elusive if for no other reason than the impracticality of conducting a long-term study to validate such an idea. The only conclusive evidence would be a long-term (many decades long) study. Many thousands of people would have to be followed for 8-10 decades to produce convincing data.
But a recent 5-year study of 10,889 middle-age human subjects may be as close as researchers will get, and a long-known vitamin may have slid in front of resveratrol as the front-runner in the race to confirm a bona fide anti-aging pill.
There has been concern that a costly anti-aging pill would become an elitist product but the cost of this vitamin ranges from free to a few pennies a day, certainly making it affordable for the masses.
The said vitamin is really a sun-derived hormone — cholecalciferol, made in human skin via exposure to solar ultraviolet-B radiation. It is commonly called vitamin D3.
The recent study referred to above, published in The American Journal of Cardiology, reveals all-cause mortality was 164% higher among those with vitamin D deficiency while use of vitamin D supplements were associated with a 61% increase in survival.
Alarmingly, the cut-off for deficiency was a blood level of 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood and 70.3% of the study population fell below this mark, meaning the lives of most Americans are being cut short by a shortage of a single vitamin-like hormone.
The best diet will not significantly raise blood levels of this vitamin and a person would have to over-eat to reach vitamin D sufficiency. Advice to avoid strong exposure to the sun to prevent skin cancer combined with humans spending more time indoors operating computers, as well as lack of solar radiation in northern climates during winter, suggests dietary supplementation is the simple route to remedy this problem.
Experts like John Cannell MD, founder of The Vitamin D Council, thinks current science points to an optimal healthy blood level of vitamin D in the range of 50-60 nanograms, so we simply don’t know what the top end of the survival curve would look like if adults consistently achieved blood levels in that range. In other words, humans may live even longer than this study reveals if they can maintain optimal blood concentrations that are only achieved by outdoor workers such as lifeguards, roofers and agriculture workers.
Furthermore, vitamin D appears to overcome concerns that an anti-aging pill will only prolong years of misery in old age. Contrarily, vitamin D promises to promote independent living in the latter years of life.
Longevity seekers can read an abstract of the most recent vitamin D study here:
© 2012 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc. Not for posting on other websites.
Volume 109, Issue 3, 1 February 2012, Pages 359–363
Recent evidence supports an association between vitamin D deficiency and hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. The effect of vitamin D supplementation, however, has not been well studied. We examined the associations between vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation, and patient outcomes in a large cohort. Serum vitamin D measurements for 5 years and 8 months from a large academic institution were matched to patient demographic, physiologic, and disease variables. The vitamin D levels were analyzed as a continuous variable and as normal (≥30 ng/ml) or deficient (<30 ng/ml). Descriptive statistics, univariate analysis, multivariate analysis, survival analysis, and Cox proportional hazard modeling were performed. Of 10,899 patients, the mean age was 58 ± 15 years, 71% were women (n = 7,758), and the average body mass index was 30 ± 8 kg/m2. The mean serum vitamin D level was 24.1 ± 13.6 ng/ml. Of the 10,899 patients, 3,294 (29.7%) were in the normal vitamin D range and 7,665 (70.3%) were deficient. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with several cardiovascular-related diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes (all p <0.05). Vitamin D deficiency was a strong independent predictor of all-cause death (odds ratios 2.64, 95% confidence interval 1.901 to 3.662, p <0.0001) after adjusting for multiple clinical variables. Vitamin D supplementation conferred substantial survival benefit (odds ratio for death 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.277 to 0.534, p <0.0001). In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a significant risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced survival. Vitamin D supplementation was significantly associated with better survival, specifically in patients with documented deficiency.