Has the U.S. Military Developed a Pill That Could Delay Aging?

Q. I’m getting older and I’ve decided — I’m not going down without a fight! I eat healthy, exercise daily, challenge my brain, use those face tightening creams with high ratings on Amazon, and do everything they say to “stay young.” Each birthday, I’m thankful to be alive and well with family who loves me, but I’m realizing as those numbers keep creeping up, that there is no delaying the inevitable. Or is there? You publish many articles on staving off dementia and technological advances for seniors. Has anything been developed to help delay aging that actually works? Thanks for your help!

A. The odds of living past age 110 are becoming more likely, according to a new study from the University of Washington. The researchers found that it’s “extremely likely” to see the record for the oldest human broken during this century, with a 68% probability that someone will reach age 127 by 2100, and a 13% probability someone reaches age 130, according to Michael Pearce, study author and PhD student at the University of Washington.

Advancements in medicine and aging biology have influenced people’s potential lifespans. In fact, so much progress has been made in the field of aging biology that some experts believe we will eventually be able to “cure” aging! But, for now, how can we “delay aging,” so we don’t suffer the effects of getting older?

New Pill has the Potential to “truly delay aging”

The U.S. military says it is months away from launching clinical trials of a pill designed to block or reduce many degenerative effects of aging.

U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has developed a pill that may inhibit or reduce some of the degenerative effects of aging and injury as part of a Pentagon push for “improved human performance.”

The pill “has the potential, if it is successful, to truly delay aging, truly prevent onset of injury — which is just amazingly game changing,” Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for Special Operations Forces, acquisition, technology & logistics (SOF AT&L), said.

How the Pill Works

Here are some highlights on how the pill works:

  • The pill would boost levels of a compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide+ (NAD+), which converts food into energy. This could help our bodies slow neurodegeneration and decrease inflammation;
  • By flooding soldiers’ systems with extra NAD+, SOCOM hopes to prevent age-related injuries, improve physical and mental fitness, and keep soldiers’ performance from waning over the course of their careers;
  • Studies have already found that supplementing with the NAD+ precursor NMN improves insulin sensitivity in older womenand enhances muscle performance in aged men;
  • Animals studies have shown that boosting levels of NAD+ can extend the lifespans of mice and worms and help rejuvenate cells;
  • Clinical trials are expected to begin next year and, if successful, the pill could be used to delay aging and prevent onset of injury;
  • If the trials go well, it could become a longevity treatment for civilians too.

 

Clinical Trials are Starting Soon

SOCOM and MetroBiotech (the pharmaceutical company that is developing the pill) are set to start clinical trials during the 2022 federal fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2021. The trial’s estimated primary completion date is April 10, 2022. If the pre-clinical studies and clinical trials bear out, the resulting benefits include improved human performance, such as increased endurance and faster recovery from injury.

Scientists noted that this effort “is about enhancing the mission readiness of our forces by improving performance characteristics that typically decline with age. These efforts are not about creating physical traits that don’t already exist naturally.”

David J. Livingston, PhD, MetroBiotech’s president and CSO said, “I can confirm that we and our clinical partners have completed multiple Phase I human safety trials of a lead molecule. Metro has also initiated exploratory Phase II studies in several areas of therapeutic application, including the treatment of rare diseases, diseases of aging, and in collaboration with SOCOM, studies on the effects of our compounds on muscle energetics and human performance.”

SOCOM has spent $2.8 million on its anti-aging effort since it began in 2018. We hope that this drug shows promise and can help military personnel and civilians live longer healthier lives!

What Can We Do Until Such a Pill Exists?

Until such a pill is released, there are things people can do to lengthen their own lifespans.

A study from Harvard found that those who followed five simple habits – eating a high-quality healthy diet, doing at least 30 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and not smoking — increased life expectancy by up to 10 years. Other research suggests that eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables is associated with lower mortality rates. So, from what you describe, you are doing all the right things!

In areas of the world where people live the longest, known as the “Blue Zones,” specific habits help contribute to longevity. For example, having at least three close friends who you can count on for emotional support, walking daily, and taking a 20-minute nap five days a week are all things that have been shown to improve lifespan. Read more about Blue Zones here.

Also, as I mentioned in a recent blog post, “Healthy Teeth, Healthier Brain,” brushing and cleaning your teeth can stave off your risk of heart disease and dementia because having good oral hygiene gets rid of chronic low-level inflammation that can hamper your immune system. Please see all of my other articles about longevity for other tips and findings.

Living a Long Healthy Life

As you are eating healthy, exercising, and minimizing stress to maximize your longevity, it is also a good idea to plan for your future and for your loved ones. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please call us to make an appointment for a no-cost initial consultation:

Elder Law Attorney Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Elder Law Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Elder Law Attorney Rockville: 301-519-8041
Elder Law Attorney DC: 202-587-2797
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