If taking a daily dose of medicine was all that was needed to slow down the aging process, would you be up for it? Furthermore, if it reduced the likelihood of a deadly disease, would it give you even more reason to take it? Enter Senolytic drugs. Scientific research has proven that the drug category can help with so much more than its original usage. Here’s everything you need to know about the medicine and why you may want to consider it.
Disclosure: This feature on Senolytics is to provide you with the basics regarding health benefits and why you may want to consider them. Of course, when it comes to your body, you and your doctor know what’s best, so please schedule a consult if you want to learn more than what this post provides.
First, What Is Aging?
Before we delve into reducing the aging process, let’s chat about what aging actually is. While the tell-it-to-me-like-I’m-five-years-old description is the process of growing old, it’s far more intricate than that. The National Institutes of Health defines it again as “the time-related deterioration of the physiological functions necessary for survival and reproduction.”
Within the aging process, there are three unique stages:
Biological Aging – Easy enough, this type of aging is all about how a human body naturally changes over its life span.
Psychological Aging – General perceptions and reactions to your immediate behavior; this type of aging is mainly about behaviors.
Social Aging – How your social habits and behaviors change over time and include your roles in society.
What’s Reverse Aging?
An easy peasy definition of reverse aging is “a therapy or process that reverses the physiological aging process.”
There are three ways you can actively reduce aging. The first, and this is a biggie, is never to smoke. If you do smoke, quit ASAP. I know we all love a glass of wine at dinner, but keep it to one glass or less a day. Lastly, remember to get the sleep your body needs. If you’re the type of person that needs a nap in the afternoon, don’t feel guilty about taking one. I, personally, love a good nap! A recent study has even shown that a daily 30 to 90-minute nap may improve cognitive functioning.
Senolytic Drugs and Reverse Aging
This may feel like a science class, but please bear with me. First, let’s quickly cover senescent cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, senescence is a process by which a cell ages and permanently stops dividing but does not die. Over time, large numbers of old (or senescent) cells can build up in tissues throughout the body.
During your life, your body’s cells continuously reproduce and divide, creating the new, healthy cells you need. When a cell halts these processes, it stops functioning and dies. But (and this is a big “but” because it’s where Senolytics come into play) there are cells that stop reproducing and don’t die off.
I read online a website calling them “Zombie cells,” and I think it’s right on the money. These zombie cells remain active in our bodies and can release harmful substances causing inflammation and damage to nearby healthy cells. They may also play a role in developing cancer and other diseases.
Now, back to the drug classification. Senolytics are a class of drugs that selectively clear senescent cells. The most common style of a Senolytic is Metformin, which has been all over the news and internet. Used to treat Type 2 and gestational diabetes, it helps restore your body’s response to insulin by decreasing the amount of sugar your liver produces.
The Story on Metformin
Having written that, Metformin is being prescribed by doctors for off-label usages, including weight reduction treatment, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), infertility, prevention of diabetes, prevention of pregnancy complications, and obesity. While a few of those don’t pertain to us, they are worthy of note.
While we’re talking about Metformin, there’s one big reduction the drug is showing: a lower rate of cancer, and by lower, I’m talking a 30% lower rate in almost every kind of cancer. Additionally, it hinders cognitive decline and has shown a lower mortality rate.
Scientific Research and Reverse Aging
Just this month, a scientific team from Harvard Medical School released their findings on some eye-opening progress regarding reverse aging: Conducted on mice, the team administered a combination of three different drugs (a growth hormone, Metformin, and an AMPK enzyme-activating drug). What they discovered was fascinating – they saw a rejuvenation of aging muscles, liver tissue, and additional mice organs.
Calling the drug combination a “chemical cocktail,” the team identified certain molecules that actually reverse cellular aging and can revive cells in humans, thereby combating the effects of aging.