While many medical researchers are looking for a new drug to prevent aging, researchers at the Buck Institute of Novato, California are eyeing a drug that’s a staple in most medicine cabinets across the nation.
Ibuprofen is now one of the most promising anti-aging drugs in research. Ibuprofen is an NSAID, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for pain relief, reducing fever, and reducing inflammation. However, it seems there is much more to these popular pills than their typical purposes.
The ibuprofen study by the Buck Institute and led by Chong He, PhD, found that ibuprofen inhibits cells ability to use tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid, found in turkey that induces the well-known post meal sleepiness. It seems that the less tryptophan in the animals in the study, the longer they lived.
Michael Polymenis, PhD, also worked on the ibuprofen study, starting with yeast and moving on to flies and worms. “We are not sure why this works, but it’s worth exploring further. This study was a proof of principle, to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms,” he said.
Ibuprofen has been available for decades, but became available over the counter in the 1980s. Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute said “Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people’s medicine cabinets. There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact healthspan and we need to be studying them.”
Other studies have even suggested that people who regularly took ibuprofen over an extended period of time had a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. In the study done by the Buck Institute, the model organisms had a lifespan extension on average of 15%.
While ibuprofen is generally considered a safe drug, there are some adverse side effects that are possible, including distress in the gastrointestinal tract, and potentially overloading the liver and kidneys at high doses.
Chong He, the lead in the study, said that the life extension of the model organisms would be equal to potentially twelve years or more of healthy life for people. The Buck Institute’s focus is not on squeezing more years onto the end of human life, but rather increasing “healthspan,” meaning the healthy years of a person’s life. They study not only the specifics of aging, but they also focus on age related diseases.
CEO Kennedy also said of the ibuprofen study, “Not only did all the species live longer, but the treated flies and worms appeared more healthy. The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in aging, giving us a new way to study and understand the aging process.”
It’s possible that ibuprofen is not the only common drug that can aid in extending the healthy years of human life. This study is a tremendous breakthrough that could prove very viable as an anti-aging option. The Buck Institute seems to be looking in the right direction for the extension of healthy years for humans.