Debunking anti-aging myths and why no ‘single intervention’ is going to help us live forever

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Credit: Sruilk/Shutterstock

Today there are countless modern versions of the Fountain of Youth. Dietary supplements and other treatments are claimed to reverse the effects of aging and prolong life. Their promoters claim there is science behind them; in reality, they are just more myths.

As the World Health Organization explains, “At the biological level, ageing results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. This leads to a gradual decrease in physical and mental capacity, a growing risk of disease, and ultimately, death.” Note the words “wide variety of molecular and cellular damage.” It is simplistic to think any single intervention could reverse all of those different damages.

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Research has identified a number of longevity genes that could also be called vitality genes. Experiments in animals have demonstrated that modifying the activity of these genes can speed or slow the changes of aging and can prolong life. Some of the factors being studied: sirtuins, NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), rapamycin, TOR (target of rapamycin), NMN, the diabetes drug metformin, resveratrol, etc.

I would love to think humans could live many more years in good health and maybe even live forever. But I am skeptical.

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