Here’s the Latest Anti-Aging Drug in the Works

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Photo: Andrew Brookes

Researchers are reportedly close to starting a clinical trial of an anti-aging drug, though, it’s actually a compound your body produces naturally.

It’s called nicotinamide mononucleotide (or NMN) and a team from Washington University in St. Louis and Keio University in Japan has already found that NMN can reverse diabetes in mice.

How? Proteins called sirtuins seem to silence certain genes, including ones that promote aging, but they need fuel in order to do this lovely task. NMN is a compound that all cells in the body make, and it’s a precursor for another molecule that harvests energy from food and converts it into a form that cells can use.

In the above study, the researchers gave diabetic mice NMN and their blood-sugar levels returned to normal. Mice given NMN also lived longer and aged slower than mice who didn’t have it. For another paper, the researchers determined that the energy-conversion molecules are important for maintaining brain structure and performing complex cognitive functions, but they decrease with age. No bueno.

Now, researchers want to see if giving NMN to humans can help prevent cognitive decline — but they need to make sure it’s safe, too. The research team has sought approval for a clinical trial in about ten healthy people that could begin as early as next month.

They’re not the only game around. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City are working on their own anti-aging study using diabetes drug metformin. Maybe eating less sugar and fat is the key to living a longer, healthier life? I’ll just have another cupcake while we wait to find out.