For hundreds of years, we have been trying to lengthen our lifespan. Some people have even gone to great lengths to find a source of immortality. A Spanish conquistador named Ponce de Leon spent decades sailing the world in search of the fountain of youth. Unfortunately, he died before he could find it. Ever since the days of his exploits, we have been obsessed with finding a way to make our lives much longer. We have struggled to defeat mortality and now, we could be on the verge of a victory. There are two anti-aging pills named Rapamycin and Metformin. Both are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to scientific testing, they have showed great promise in extending the lives of test subjects. Read on to find out more about the two most promising anti-aging pills of the century.
What is Rapamycin?
In the early 1980s, Dr. Surendra Sehgal discovered Rapamycin in a remote location known as Easter Island. Its traditional name is Rapa Nui. Thus, the doctor derived the drug’s name from it. He actually dug it up from the soil under one of the legendary Moai stone heads on the island. These were created between the 10th and 16th centuries by the inhabitants of the island. Dr. Surendra found a bacterium that was named Streptomyces hygroscopius and its secretion was the basis for Rapamycin.
Early research on the drug and FDA approval
Dr. Surendra performed most of the research on Rapamycin with resources provided by Wyeth Healthcare Company. Wyeth bought the company where the doctor was working at in 1987. As a matter of fact, the doctor made his most significant progress while under Wyeth. In their laboratories, he discovered that the drug could suppress the immune system. Thus, it was approved by the FDA as a treatment that is administered to patients of organ transplant in the year 1999. The doctor died a few years after this approval was granted. As such, he was not able to live long enough to see his discovery ensure that hundreds of thousands of patients stayed alive after transplant. He also did not get to benefit from the drug’s profitability. Wyeth Health Company made hundreds of millions with Rapamycin.
What does Rapamycin do?
Rapamycin suppresses the immune system’s urges to reject new organs. This allows for gradual acceptance of these organs into the body. Today, scientists are beginning to discover that Rapamycin has the ability to delay the development of diseases which are associated with aging. Examples of these include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease too. Tests conducted on monkeys, mice and worms have been successful so far.
Its discoverer Dr. Surendra also found that Rapamycin has some anti-fungal properties. Soon after discovering it in Easter Island, the doctor synthesized it into a cream. His neighbor’s wife developed a fungal skin condition and he administered it to her. Amazingly, the rapamcyin worked and his discovery was confirmed.
Rapamycin works at the foundation level of human cell biology. At this level, it acts as a signaler for the metabolic system. This means that the drug can inhibit the biological pathway which is found in human beings. This is the pathway which senses that food has been consumed and there is enough energy for processes such as cell replication, synthesis of proteins and overall growth too. By inhibiting this pathway, Rapamycin is able to prevent expansion of cells in the body when an organism has low energy supplies. This form of dietary restriction increases the lifespan of an organism by between 25% and 30%. When applied on a human perspective, eating fewer calories increases one’s lifespan. This has been observed and documented in some Asian countries where calorie consumption per individual is low. These observations were made by the National Institute of Health as well as a team of scientists from various academic and scientific institutions.
Could Rapamycin be the key to living longer? Well, it could be. But there is one major side effect. During testing, scientists discovered that Rapamycin caused the body to become insensitive to glucose. This could lead to a person developing diabetes. However, further research found the solution to this side effect in another drug, Metformin.
What is Metformin?
This is a drug that works to reduce the effects of diabetes in the body. It makes the liver produce less glucose and increases the sensitivity towards insulin in the body. Therefore, Metformin can balance out Rapamycin in this respect. Metformin also causes the intestines to absorb less sugar. Metformin has been used in Europe ever since 1957. In the United States, it was approved in 1995. It is a safe drug that works to increase sensitivity in diabetics who have weak kidney and liver functions. In addition to that, the drug also has an effect on the development of conditions and diseases which are caused by age. Examples of these are oxidative stress, apoptosis, diminished autophagy and cell senescence. Due to these effects, Metformin got a go ahead from the FDA to be used outside the sector of diabetes. Now, scientists are proposing the idea of using it alongside Rapamycin to see if the combination of drugs can actually extend life.
How can Rapamycin and Metformin increase the length and quality of life?
If the tests are all successful, a combination of Metformin and Rapamycin can be used to treat diseases and conditions that arise due to age. Rapamycin has already been documented to be extremely effective in treating and preventing these conditions. Its side effects are counteracted by Metformin and thus the combination results in safe healthy development. By healing the age-related problems, this combination of pills can improve one’s health during the sunset years and effectively increase the length and quality of human life.
The Important Take Away
For a long time, we have wanted to live for much longer than we currently do. This struggle with mortality has led to some ingenious ideas and products. However, none have ever come as close as Rapamycin in ensuring longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Dr. Surendra’s discovery could change the course of humanity’s struggle with mortality. A combination of Rapamycin and Metformin could pass the testing period and literally become the fountain of youth.