There are a vast array of supplements offered for sale in what is for the most, an unregulated market. The supplement industry is plagued with snake oil salesmen and exaggerated claims and is rife with misinformation, this makes determining if a particular supplement is useful in the context of health and longevity difficult. The goal of those researching aging is to identify geroprotectors among the many supplements that likely useless or in some cases, potentially harmful.
What are geroprotectors?
The founding father of gerontology is the Russian and French biologist and Nobel laureate, Ilya Mechnikov, and is the person credited for first using the word “geroprotector” . The literal meaning of the word geroprotector is something that protects against aging. The primary criterion of a geroprotector is the ability to increase the lifespan of model organisms.
According to the publication “Geroprotectors: A Unified Concept and Screening Approaches” , by Dr. Alexey Moskalev and his team, the primary and secondary criterion for a compound to be classed as a geroprotector are as follows:
Primary selection criteria for potential geroprotectors:1. The most significant main rule for geroprotectors is evidently the ability to increase lifespan. 2. Candidate geroprotectors should ameliorate molecular, cellular, and physiological biomarkers to a younger state or slow the progression of age-related change in these markers. 3. The therapeutic lifespan extending dose of geroprotector should be several orders of magnitude less than the toxic dose. 4. Potential geroprotectors should improve health-related quality of life: physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning of the treated person.
Secondary selection criteria for potential geroprotector:5. The target or mechanism of action of the geroprotector should be evolutionarily conserved. 6. Reproducibility of geroprotective effects on different model organisms increases the possibility of effects will also be discovered in humans, even in the absence of a known conserved target. 7. Candidate geroprotectors should be able to delay the progress of one or several age-associated disorders. 8. Potential geroprotectors should increase the organism resistance to unfavorable environmental factors.
It is thought that there could be a significant number of supplements or drugs which may have geroprotective properties in humans, however, currently these remain unknown and unexplored by science.
A significant number of people in the community that support the development of healthy life extension technologies also identify as “biohackers”, people who seek to optimize their health and lifespan by “hacking” their biology. Biohacking is also known as DIY biology and is a somewhat broad and amorphous term that can cover a wide range of activities ranging from fasting and optimal fitness and nutrition, self-testing potential geroprotective compounds, normally in the form of dietary supplements, to extreme measures such as tranfusing young blood and other dubious approaches in the hope it will somehow reverse aging.
As a we are a news outlet focused on evidence based medicine we only condone self-testing that follows rigorous scientific method and strongly urge that people do not engage in simply taking supplements in the hope they will work, this is not science it is faith-based medicine. If you do decide to start self-testing then developing a Science-based Personal Longevity Strategy is an absolute must.
Please note, we do not give medical advice nor do we endorse any supplements or brands, and we will not respond to questions of this nature. However, for the interest of our readers we have published the following articles about some of the common supplements biohackers are interested in.