Intelligent anti-aging skin care based on independent research     
Lose wrinkles, keep your bank account!     
Like Smart Skin Care on Facebook
Skin Care 101
Skin Care Basics
Skin Protection
Skin Biology
Biology of Aging
Ingredient Guide
Skin & Nutrition
Skin Conditions
Anti-Aging Treatments
Topical Actives
Wrinkle Fillers
Skin Care Smarts
Smart Choices
Best Practices
Quick Tips
Product Reviews
Reviews By Brand
How-To Infopacks
Skin Rejuvenation
DIY Skin Care
Skin & Nutrition
Eye Skin Care
Community & Misc
You are here: Biology of Aging >

Can drugs extend human lifespan?

Life extension research, surveys of centenarians, historical records and common sense tell us that to live an exceptionally long life you need to do at least some (and preferably all) of the following:

  • Be born into a family with a history of longevity (i.e. get yourself good genes)
  • Eat in moderation and maintain close to ideal weight
  • Eat a varied, balanced diet of primarily whole foods, rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly brightly colored ones.
  • Avoid stress and all sorts of negative emotions
  • Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep each night
  • Not bear children too early in life

Surprisingly, some people find this "simple recipe for longevity" hard to implement in real life, and not just the part about choosing the right biological parents. Yet, they still want to live as long as possible or, at the very least, longer than average. Many dare to ask: Why can't I just take a drug to live longer?

Depending on whom you ask, you can get very different answers to this question. Some wellness gurus may tell you that numerous herbs and supplements can slow down the aging process. Your family doctor may tell you that no drug or supplement can ever do that. The media and advertisers can tell you... well, anything.

But what is the real hype-free answer based on the state of today's medical and scientific knowledge? While our understanding of aging remains incomplete, it is clear that all aspects of the aging process are ultimately complex cascades of biochemical reactions. In other words, life-extending drugs are at least theoretically possible because, simply put, chemicals can affect other chemicals.

On the other hand, the aging process is highly complex and comprises multiple interrelated mechanisms and pathways. Slowing it down significantly with a drug is difficult. Furthermore, long-lived species, such as humans, already have highly optimized self-repair and maintenance systems and improving them further is a hard problem to solve - more so than for short-lived species like worms, fruit flies or even mice. Further still, conducting longevity studies on long-lived species is impractical, very expensive and takes decades.

The upshot of the above situation is that no drug has so far been definitively proven to extend lifespan in humans. On the other hand, a few agents clearly extend lifespan in experimental animals including mammals. Some of them may eventually prove to be longevity drugs in humans and definitely deserve further research. A few more agents decrease the risks of common degenerative diseases and possibly total mortality in humans and may turn out to extend lifespan as well. Again, further research is needed.

All in all, agents with a plausible potential to extend life in humans do exist. Some are synthetic, others of natural origin. At present, there are precious few of such agents and further research is needed before their promise could become a firmly established scientific fact. If you wish to learn more, see our Longevity In a Pill Infopack.

Back to Biology of Aging

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Ask a Question

Copyright © 1999-2017 by Dr. G. Todorov /
Site Disclaimer | Copyright Certification

-- advertisements --