“Is an Antiaging Drug Around the Corner?” is the title of a Medscape article highlighting ten years of research by the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.
Is there an anti-aging drug around the corner? Nope, I’m sorry but there just isn’t! Drugs are toxic and lead to symptoms of aging, so why would researchers think a drug is the answer to aging? It’s a senseless pursuit.
Dr. Nir Barzilai and his colleagues have been “studying a population of healthy centenarians who defy known trends, attempting to identify the genetic signature that may explain how they avoid the seemingly inevitable destructive forces of aging-related disease.” Are they looking at the lifestyles that these centenarians follow? Nope! They want to “identify the genetic signature” and they “have laid the groundwork for promising new therapeutic targets that may extend these benefits to the general population.”
Translation – they are looking for drugs that “MAY” extend these benefits to the public. Emphasis on the word MAY! I’ll say it again, drugs are toxic and one of the causes of aging is toxicity. Such research is simply another attempt to attract research funding!
Barzilai, like so many researchers, is studying genetics as the de facto answer to everything. Apparently, he was intrigued by a study in nematodes where altering one gene resulted in a 3X increase in lifespan. Good luck with that in humans.
Barzilai is so focused on genetics that he discounts healthy lifestyles as a factor in longevity! What? I repeat. What? From my research, I say that the most powerful longevity factor in long-lived populations is mineral-rich water from mountain streams. When the melting ice from the mountains scrapes along the riverbeds, it pulverizes the rocks releasing minerals that enrich drinking water. Makes sense, right? But not to this anti-aging gang. They want a patented drug to win the day.
Barzilai’s group has tested six drugs that they say may be successful. But I have my doubts because the main drug they are studying is Metformin. It’s been around for 60 years and prescribed to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. Barzilai acts like Metformin is the holy grail – it’s supposed to prevent diabetes, and in diabetics it’s supposed to prevent cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, and people supposedly live longer on Metformin.
However, the most recent study on Metformin at Yale failed to show that either Metformin or insulin helped improve beta cell function in the pancreas. So, that’s one strike against Metformin. Another dozen strikes are the many side effects of Metformin: Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, headache, unpleasant metallic taste in mouth, physical weakness (asthenia), weakness, muscle pain, upper respiratory tract infection, low blood sugar, abdominal pain, lactic acidosis, low B12, chest discomfort, chills, dizziness.
Also, a few dozen drugs should not be used with metformin. There is another long list of drugs that should be used in lower doses or with caution. A third list of drugs increase the side effects of metformin. And there are dozens of health conditions or symptoms that contraindicate the use of metformin.
It seems to me that people who are in poor health might want to live longer and they might be temped to use Metformin, but look at the long list of conditions and symptoms that are contraindicated with Metformin and effectively eliminate a good portion of the sick population from taking this drug: Alcohol, excessive use; Underactive adrenal glands; Underactive pituitary gland; Undernourished condition; Weakened physical condition; Any other condition that causes low blood sugar—Patients with these conditions may be more likely to develop low blood sugar while taking metformin; Anemia (low levels of red blood cells); Vitamin B12 deficiency—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse; Congestive heart failure, acute or unstable; Dehydration; Heart attack, acute; Hypoxemia (decreased oxygen in the blood); Kidney disease; Liver disease; Sepsis (blood poisoning); Shock (low blood pressure, blood circulation is poor); lactic acidosis; Diabetic ketoacidosis (ketones in the blood); Kidney disease; Metabolic acidosis; Type 1 diabetes; Fever; Infection; Surgery; Trauma.
Barzilai must ignore all this for a drug that MAY increase life span. I think Metformin anti-aging research involves a lot of half truths, faulty thinking, desperation, and a desire for funding! Because it just doesn’t make any sense to take a drug that has a few dozen side effects, that negatively interacts with dozens of drugs, that does not even “cure” diabetes – for which it is prescribed. I’ll go into more detail on Metformin’s ineffectiveness in future blogs. By the way, if Metformin is effectively treating diabetes we would not have the epidemic of diabetes that we are now suffering!
Aging is not caused by a deficiency of Metformin! I find that aging is basically a combination of magnesium deficiency and calcium build up. Anything that causes either is at fault. Obviously there are no drugs that will treat this mineral imbalance even though doctors will not give up trying to find one. Those of you who are already taking ReMag are turning back the clock!
Barzilai actually said that part of the reason the FDA supports his Metformin trial is because the FDA says that the public is too focused on nutraceuticals that are mostly sold by charlatans! So, if there is an anti-aging drug in the pipeline that will take the focus off nutraceuticals!
Finally Barzilai negates every promise he implied by admitting that there is no anti-aging drug around the corner. He admits that it is presently out of reach. In the standard bait and switch he confesses that Metformin is not even going to add years to your life but health to your years! It’s a play on words that confuses and frustrates the public because Metformin does not cure diabetes, it does not prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
What does Barzilai recommend to the public until they find a real longevity drug? He says “…first of all, they should know that help is on the way. Living longer and healthier is something that is possible and will be possible soon, when we can target these things with drugs. In the meantime, interaction with the environment is important. In general, one half of the people die around the age of 80 years. If you exercise and diet, you’re more likely to get over the age of 80.”
So, it’s back to lifestyle after all, which in my world includes my Completement Formulas that supply you with highly absorbed building blocks to optimize the structure and function of your body. Even Pico Silver is an asset to support your immune system in dealing with unwanted infections that can shorten lifespan and healthspan!.
Read more about aging in Chapter 15 of The Magnesium Miracle and do your own experiment on anti-aging with my Completement Formulas!
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Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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