Living to 120 Could Soon Become a Reality


How would it be to live until you were 120 years old and in the best of health?

Extending the human life span has been something that scientists worldwide have been investigating for a very long time. Recently an article in The New Zealand Herald announced the upcoming series of tests of a anti-aging drug that will be done on humans. These tests are set to begin as early as next year.

The drug that is in the limelight recently is Metformin, a first line anti-diabetic medication, used successfully for the past 60 years in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The drug works by suppressing the production of glucose in the liver. It also increases the bodies sensitivity to insulin. It is believed that Metformin does this by making oxygen more available in the bodies cells which then lengthens their life. It is used for those who have normal kidney function and those who are overweight. Metformin is also used in gestational diabetes and in treating polycystic ovary syndrome. It has even been found that Metformin may defeat cancer.

Injectable insulin has been used in recent years as a performance-enhancement drug for athletes. It is risky because an incorrect amount can cause coma or even death in extreme cases. This has become, for many athletes, a beginning form of insulin manipulation because this effect does not happen often with Metformin HCL. Another drug, Phenformin, is much harsher but similar to Metformin. With the former drug found to be safer it has been the one of choice for use in performance enhancement.

Experts say that Metformin could be the first drug to extend the lifespan of humans by keeping diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s at bay. It has been proven to delay aging in animals such as some strains of lab mice. Also, a group of Belgium scientists have done tests proving that C.elegans, a species of roundworm, has actually had their lives extended due to the use of Metformin. The drug actually made them age slower and stay healthy longer.

Life expectancy in the United States today is 78.8 years which is a new record. It is currently theorized that there are two possible reasons for prolonged life expectancy. It either has to do with the lifespan timetable recorded in one’s DNA or the lack of toxins in the body that originate in physiological and environmental factors.

Due to the safety of Metformin, shown by its history in controlling type 2 diabetes, it makes it a prime candidate as the first drug to be used in clinical testing. It is exciting to learn that the drug has been approved for testing by the FDA.

Image is courtesy of Flickr Commons


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