Aside from a food intake in laboratory mice that’s about 40 percent fewer calories than normal, however, it’s been found that another way to activate this pathway is with rapamycin, which appears to have a significant impact even when used late in life. Some human clinical trials are already underway exploring this potential.
A big drawback to long-term use of rapamycin, however, is the increase in insulin resistance, observed in both humans and laboratory animals. The new research identified why that is happening. It found that both dietary restriction and rapamycin inhibited lipid synthesis, but only dietary restriction increased the oxidation of those lipids in order to produce energy.
Rapamycin, by contrast, allowed a buildup of fatty acids and eventually an increase in insulin resistance, which in humans can lead to diabetes. However, the drug metformin can address that concern, and is already given to some diabetic patients to increase lipid oxidation. In lab tests, the combined use of rapamycin and metformin prevented the unwanted side effect.
“If proven true, then combined use of metformin and rapamycin for treating aging and age-associated diseases in humans may be possible,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.
This could be an important advance if it helps us find a way to gain the apparent benefits of rapamycin without increasing insulin resistance. It could provide a way not only to increase lifespan but to address some age-related diseases and improve general health. We might find a way for people not only to live longer, but to live better and with a higher quality of life.
Nextbigfuture notes that even using approved and affordable metformin for health improvement and life extension is very, very difficult. I have tried to ask doctors to allow metformin use but they will not prescribe it for off label purposes.
This is a great example of what emerges as a consequence of the distorting effects of regulation on medical research. Because it costs a ridiculous amount of money and time to push anything new past the regulators of the FDA, there is a great focus on generating very marginal new uses of drugs that have already been approved. Thus instead of forging ahead to build radically improved new technologies, things far better than mere drugs, much of the research community does nothing more than tinker with what is already known. This is a terrible thing to be happening at a time when the research community is finally shedding its inhibitions regarding the treatment of aging, and researchers feel able to speak openly about the goal of extending health human life spans. It is a stupendous waste of potential, and the cost is measured in lives lost.
Life extended in mice by 6% with Metformin and 23% with Rapamycin
In 2013, longevity studies showed that
* Metformin increases lifespan in Mice by 5.83% when started in middle age mice
* Reveratrol improves health but is not showing a significant increase in lifespan
* Rapamycin suppresses cancer tumors, Rapamycin life extension is because the mice do not die early from cancer
Rapamycin inhibited age-related weight gain, decreased aging rate, increased lifespan (especially in the last survivors) and delayed spontaneous cancer. 22.9% of rapamycin-treated mice survived the age of death of the last mouse in control group.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.