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  • An Immortality Pill… Would You Take It?

    June 9, 2021: by Bill Sardi

    As if there is such a pill… The answer to that theoretical question is YES, 33% of survey respondents said they would take an immortality pill.  Of interest, 42% did not respond to that question, possibly because they haven’t sufficient information to provide an answer or simply believe it is an impossibility.

    So, only 25% says NO, they wouldn’t want to take the “live forever” pill.

    The survey was conducted among 911 Americans and published in the Journal of Aging Studies (June 2021).

    Older adults (average age 72) said if there was an age they would “freeze” their biological age it would be around age 42.  Younger adults (age 18-28) said age 23, but of course they have no other reference than what they have already experienced.

    As one woman once asked:
    “Why wouldn’t you want to take such a pill?”

    Need for conclusive evidence

    As for evidence that such a pill would actually deliver exceptional longevity, conclusive proof can only be provided over time.  Researchers only have markers of longevity to measure biological age versus chronological (calendar) age.  Otherwise, a human clinical study of maybe 100,000 people over many decades would be required to provide conclusive proof, which is impractical and would cost many millions of dollars.  Results of that study would be decades away, not relevant or timely for today’s longevity seekers to come to any conclusions.

    Humanity is left to make a “best available evidence” decision about anti-aging pills.

    If such a pill is in existence and people are taking it, we should be able to see a dramatic rise over time in the number of people living 100 years or more.

    But there is sufficient evidence for an anti-aging pill

    While there is sufficient scientific evidence an anti-aging pill is at hand, that idea has been shelved due to political and economic factors.  Life insurance companies and pension plans need people to die on time in order from them to remain solvent.  Don’t expect our overlords to approve anti-aging pills anytime soon.

    Given that the Social Security Trust Fund is depleted prematurely (early exhaustion of pension funds have been hastened by 40 million unemployed Americans not making FICA payroll deductions during the COVID-19 lockdown), expect further resistance to the idea of an anti-aging pill.

    Fear of living long

    Past surveys reveal there is real fear of living long because of the image seen today in nursing homes….. people living frail, over-medicated, drooling at the mouth, diapered, half-blind, feeble minded.  Without an ability to drive or maintain independent living, they become a burden to their families, with many having to live in an assisted care home.  From there, everything is downhill.  Who wants to live the last decade or so of their lives they can’t even remember?

    Any promise of living longer (lifespan) must come with parallel increase in healthy (healthspan).

    Where are the centenarians?

    Resveratrol, the red wine pill, as a molecular mimic of a calorie-restricted diet, would be an example.  Limited calorie diets (equivalent to one meal a day) were first shown to double lifespan and healthspan in lab animals by Clive McCay of Cornell University in the 1930s.

    What is possible?

    This author’s take on this subject is that it is now possible to live an indefinitely long and healthy life, maybe not an eternal life pill as posed by surveyors, but certainly unprecedented longevity.

    Early example

    An early case in point was Luigi Cornaro who lived in Padua, Italy from 1465 to 1566 by adhering to a limited calorie diet + wine.  At age 35, deemed by doctors to be an inebriate and glutton, Cornaro began to limit his diet to 12 ounces of food (bread, egg yolks, meat, soup) and 14 ounces of wine a day.  Only an Italian would think drinking 2/3rds of a bottle of wine (three 5-ounce glasses) per day would be restrictive.

    Cornaro’s chronic maladies vanished and he lived in robust health to his last day, and wrote about it all in his text: Discourses on the Sober Life.

    The wine of old was an anti-aging pill

    It must be noted that Mr. Cornaro’s wine was not the wine consumed today.  That wine was aged and unfiltered and had solids in the bottom of the bottle.  Those solids were concentrates of fermented grapes extracted by alcohol to provide 30 times more anti-aging molecules than today’s wine.  Those molecules would have likely thwarted inebriation and protected Mr. Cornaro’s liver as well.

    What did the discoverer of the 1st anti-aging pill say?

    Harvard professor David Sinclair, a pioneer in anti-aging research, was the first to demonstrate how a limited calorie diet could be molecularly mimicked by the red wine molecule resveratrol.

    Sinclair recently said 80% of what we do determines our rate of aging.  The other 20% is inherited (genetics).

    Epigenetics actually overrides genetics.  For example, the red wine molecule resveratrol has been shown to obviate the need for blood transfusions in 52% of patients who have an inherited hemoglobin disorder (beta thalassemia) of their blood.

    According to Dr. Sinclair, humans can add ~14 years of healthy living by adherence to healthy habits including diet, avoidance of smoking, etc.  That’s easy, he claims. But humans can live much longer, he added.

    This is seen today in America where lower income groups have much shorter lifespans than higher income groups living in the same city.

    One single thing…

    He went on to say: “If there is one thing I would recommend it would be to eat less often.”

    While he does take resveratrol, he soft-pedals that idea these days.  Why?  It is one of the greatest discoveries of all time – that genes can be switched living cells to a youthful state without having to deprive oneself of food.

    Why DO we age?

    How and why do we age?” asks Automated Intelligence expert Lex Fridman of Sinclair.  It is here that Sinclair becomes mushy and almost dismissive of his own discoveries.

    Sinclair does point to the more powerful epigenome (active part of our genes) over the genome (physical arrangement of DNA strands) that we are born with.

    Sinclair recently said, in a report published in Nature Magazine in December of 2020, that the control of just three genes can turn back biological time.  De-aging of retinal cells was demonstrated.  Blind mice regained sight!  That groundbreaking discovery was over-shadowed by COVID-19.

    A marker of aging vanishes

    Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, says during eye exams he has directly observed dissolution of a marker of aging in the back of the eyes called lipofuscin with use of resveratrol pills (Longevinex®).

    Lipofuscin is cellular debris that accumulates in cells over time, usually beginning after full-childhood growth is achieved.

    Healthy cells normally expel “garbage” enzymatically by inner-cell bodies called lysosomes.  The ability of lysosomes to clean up living cells wanes over time, largely due to the release of iron.

    In food deprivation, living cells “eat themselves”

    When semi-starvation is practiced, living cells begin a self-eating process called autophagy where they cannibalize intracellular nutrients as a kind of spare gas tank.  Calorie restricted diets activate autophagy. (Pronunciation of autophagy)

    In the blood circulation are macrophages (mack-row-fay-jes), a type of white blood cell that circulates in the blood.  Macrophages literally digest (engulf) loose iron.  In a circuitous process, the accumulation of iron impairs macrophages from mopping up loose iron and also impairs lysosomes from cleaning up cellular debris.  This cell-cleaning failure is part of aging.

    The chelation of iron and copper by natural molecules such as resveratrol, quercetin, fisetin, rice bran IP6, then activates genes to produce proteins, a process called epigenetics.  There is no change in the sequence of genes (letters in the DNA ladder, called nucleotides), but there is activation of the dynamic aspect of genes – protein making, called gene expression.  These molecules induce autophagy and metallic metal chelation (key-lay-shun), thus molecularly mimicking a calorie-restricted diet.

    Re-charging internal batteries

    Energy (batteries) inside living cells called mitochondria produce adeno-triphosphate, the energy currency.   The mitochondria have their own set of genes apart from those in the nucleus of the cell.

    Iron deprivation activates longevity genes in the mitochondria.  These “batteries” are then re-charged.

    It is not calories per se that control the rate of aging, but the accumulation of metals from food (iron, copper, calcium) that controls genes and therefore the rate of aging.

    Essentially humans rust and calcify.  An example is Japan, where there is limited grassland for cattle to produce calcium-rich dairy and iron-rich beef.  Low iron and calcium diets are attributed to the exceptionally long life of the Japanese, especially females who do not smoke or drink much sake (alcohol).  Japan has 4.8 centenarians per 10,000 population versus 2.2 per 10,000 for the U.S.  Even more striking, the latest data shows 1 in every 1,500 people in Japan is at least 100 years old.

    The dream of an anti-aging pill comes true

    While Harvard Professor David Sinclair is talking about an animal lab study where the epigenetic correction of three genes resulted in gain-of-visual-function, researchers at the Veterans Hospital in North Chicago, using a uniquely formulated resveratrol pill (Longevinex®) that combines natural molecules for maximal mineral chelation, restored functional vision to the oldest-old patients who were legally blind (20/200 vision or worse).  Epigenetic changes were documented.

    Another marker of aging is the accumulation of cholesterol-like particles (oxysterols) in the retina of the eyes.  These are known as drusen and are a component of the loss of central vision with advancing age (macular degeneration).  This is sometimes an inherited condition that occurs early in life.

    In a case where a statin cholesterol-lowering drug was ineffective in a middle-aged man with inherited familial retinal drusen, the use of a resveratrol-based nutraceutical (Longevinex®) entirely erased the drusen in the visual center of his only functional eye.

    Comparison: Retinal Image

    There is a strong relationship between retinal drusen and beta amyloid plaque in the brain that is then associated with memory loss.

    That you never heard of any of these genetic advances that serve to provide evidence for an anti-aging pill should put shame on modern medicine.  If the eyes are becoming “younger,” so is the whole body.

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