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Is an Anti-Aging Pill on the Horizon?

Is an Anti-Aging Pill on the Horizon?
From TIME - February 15, 2018

Anti-aging products from skin creams to chemical peels are part of a $250 billion industry, but scientists have yet to discover a longevity elixir that stands up to medical scrutiny. A group of researchers believe theyre getting closer, however, thanks to a compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+ for short.

NAD+ is the closest weve gotten to a fountain of youth, says David Sinclair, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School. Its one of the most important molecules for life to exist, and without it, youre dead in 30 seconds.

NAD+ is a molecule found in all living cells and is critical for regulating cellular aging and maintaining proper function of the whole body. Levels of NAD+ in people and animals diminish significantly over time, and researchers have found that re-upping NAD+ in older mice causes them to look and act younger, as well as live longer than expected. In a March 2017 study published in the journal Science, Sinclair and his colleagues put drops of a compound known to raise levels of NAD+ into the water for a group of mice.

Within a couple hours, the NAD+ levels in the mice had risen significantly. In about a week, signs of aging in the tissue and muscles of the older mice reversed to the point that researchers could no longer tell the difference between the tissues of a 2-year-old mouse and those of a 4-month-old one.

Now scientists are trying to achieve similar results in humans. A randomized control trial (considered the gold standard of scientific research) from a different group of researchers published November 2017 in the journal Nature found that people who took a daily supplement containing NAD+ precursors had a substantial, sustained increase in their NAD+ levels over a two-month period.

Sinclair takes an NAD+ upper daily. Anecdotally, he says he doesnt experience hangovers or jet lag like he used to, he talks faster, and feels sharper and younger. His father takes it too: Hes 78, and used to act like Eeyore, says Sinclair. Now hes going on six-day hikes and traveling around the world.

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