If only there were a pill that we could take to slow down aging and boost our longevity. The desire to reverse the aging process and improve our lifespan has led to an influx of research and investments. Now, while scientists and tech billionaires attempt to create a youth drug, it’s possible that they may not need to. In fact, the longevity drugs we’re seeking out may already be available from your local pharmacy.
Anti-Aging Drugs to Boost Longevity
In the last few decades, the science of anti-aging has grown. Researchers do acknowledge that they can’t reverse your chronological age. But, healthy aging is a possibility, and you can feel and be younger than you are.
Through their research, scientists have identified habits that can encourage healthy aging. Additionally, they’ve also identified drugs that may offer the same anti-aging benefits. In fact, a few of these drugs and supplements are already available.
Dasatinib (Sprycel) is a prescription drug used to prevent or shrink cancer cells. It’s used for chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
So, how do they affect aging?
Well, according to researchers, dasatinib has senolytic properties. Senolytics are drugs that clear away senescent cells. These compounds increase the risk of chronic inflammation and age-related disorders.
A study published in Nature Communications found that the combination of dasatinib and quercetin (a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables and available as a supplement) helped mitigate the age-dependent progression of disc degeneration in mice.
A separate study published earlier this year found that the same drug combination helped improve glucose tolerance and fasting blood glucose levels in aged mice.
As promising as these results are, similar benefits have yet to be seen in humans. As such, it’s best to wait for more research before requesting that your pharmacist prescribe the two drugs.
On the other hand, quercetin has health benefits of its own. So, you can increase your intake of it by consuming more cranberries, blueberries, apples, green tea, and asparagus.
If there’s one prescription drug taking over the anti-aging world, it’s definitely this one.
Metformin is the most prescribed anti-diabetes drug. But, according to research, its capabilities go beyond that.
Metformin activates the enzyme AMPK and experts suggest that increasing levels of activated AMPK may help improve longevity.
It should be noted that many of the benefits were experienced by people with diabetes. However, there are studies underway showing that the benefits of metformin can be experienced by everyone, and not just people with diabetes.
The second cancer-related drug on the list, rapamycin, is an anti-tumor and immunosuppressive drug. Thanks to its ability to prevent cell growth and proliferation, it is used to target tumors in cancer patients. Its immunosuppressive capabilities also allow the drug to be used in kidney transplant patients. This is so that the receiver’s immune system does not perceive the transplanted organ as a foreign threat that needs to be destroyed.
Research has indicated that rapamycin can increase lifespan, but the reason is still a little unclear.
One proposed theory is that rapamycin triggers autophagy. Autophagy is a cleansing process whereby the body removes dead and damaged cells and proteins. It may also recycle this “trash” to create new and healthier cells. Autophagy prevents dead cells and proteins from accumulating and causing age-related issues, like Alzheimer’s.
There are over 50 million people worldwide living with dementia, and it is one of the leading age-related conditions affecting the older population. It appears that a diabetes drug may help curb the risk of developing this condition.
Pioglitazone (Actos) is a prescribed anti-diabetic drug used to help manage type 2 diabetes.
According to a study published in Neurology, participants with type 2 diabetes who were taking pioglitazone faced a 16% reduced risk of developing dementia. Moreover, those who took the drug for 1–2 years were 22% less likely to develop dementia, and taking the drug for 4 years caused a 37% reduced risk.
While these findings are promising, there is not enough reason to begin prescribing pioglitazone for dementia. That said, the study’s researchers are planning on conducting extra research that is needed to confirm these findings.
In a study examining Rilmenidine’s influence on lifespan, researchers found that it increased longevity and improved health markers in young and old Caenorhabditis elegans worms. The worms were selected for the study due to their genes having similarities to counterparts in human genomes.
As for how the drug managed to do this?
Well, it appears that it can mimic the benefits of caloric restriction. Calorie restriction cuts back on calorie intake, which then triggers metabolic changes that can benefit the body.
Are anti-aging drugs on sale?
Possibly, but only after more human studies have been completed, which may be sooner than you think.
As mentioned, metformin has been getting a lot of attention due to its anti-aging effects. As such, the FDA approved the first anti-aging human trial with metformin at the core of the research.
The Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) Trial is a nationwide study that involves six-year clinical trials at 14 leading research institutions across the country. The trials will engage over 3,000 individuals between the ages of 65-79.
These trials will test whether metformin can cause delayed development or progression of age-related chronic diseases.
Pharmaceutical drugs have been approved to manage and treat chronic conditions. However, being approved for aging is a whole different conversation.
Yet, it may not be long before you can pop into your pharmacy for an anti-aging drug boost.