Eternal Life 6

August 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

American researchers are claiming to have produced the world’s first food supplement clinically proven to hold back the years. It is called TA-65. Its makers say it is a naturally occurring molecule refined from an ancient Chinese medicinal herb, astragalus, harvested from farms in a small region in China.

Tests indicate that TA-65 can reverse the shortening of telomeres. These bits of DNA act as protective sheaths for your chromosomes and may be crucial to longevity. Like the tips on shoelaces, they keep the ends from unravelling. Emerging research shows that when your telomeres grow shorter, your body ages.

Cells die. Your skin wrinkles, hair greys and muscles sag. Telomeres are now seen as so important that UK insurance companies are planning to measure your telomere length. Test kits costing £400 may become available next year from a company called Life Length. Insurers say that they can legally use them when a rule change comes into effect in 2017.

It is too early to use TA-65 on humans but the researchers suggest that it could be safely added to pet food. Bill Andrews of Sierra Sciences, the Nevada company behind the research, will present his findings to a conference in Cambridge next month, although he says that he is years away from getting medical approval for human use. But would anyone be so desperate to hold back the years that they would eat the stuff themselves?

When it comes to looking younger, extreme measures are par for the course. The search for lucratively “youth-giving” substances never stops: one of the latest contenders is fucoxanthin, which is found in brown algae. It can significantly prevent wrinkling, particularly in sunburnt skin, Japanese scientists reported earlier this month in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. Then there is Inneov Fermete — a daily red pill that supposedly contains the nutrients to promote youthful f lesh. It contains lycopene, the red carotene pigment in tomatoes, vitamin C and isof lavones, which are extracted from soya beans. All are supposed to firm your skin — at a rather stiff cost of £25 for a tenday supply, via the internet.

Others are injecting themselves with human growth hormone (HGH), another clinically unproven therapy and one that doctors warn may be hazardous to long-term health. Nevertheless, growing numbers of Britons are buying it over the internet in the belief that it offers a chemical fountain of youth. HGH has celebrity fans in Blondie’s Deborah Harry, 66, and Nick Nolte, the star of The Prince of Tides and 48 Hrs. Nolte began injecting himself with the hormone as he approached his 60th birthday. “I haven’t met anybody who has dignity with decay,” Nolte, now 70, has declared. “The point is to stay as healthy as you can up to death.” Nolte is a leading proponent of lifepreserving chemicals. He admits to spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on an anti-ageing regimen that includes daily megadoses of hormones and vitamins.

Eternal Life 7


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