Can a cheap drug really slow down aging?

Plus: The benefits of cold water and why you should take the plunge.

Friday. There is goat yoga, and now, there is also fine art yoga. This summer, the famous Louvre in Paris will host yoga sessions smack-dab in the middle of its art galleries. That’s right—you can plan your trip to France and savasana right in front of the Mona Lisa. Are there added benefits to yoga in front of famous pieces of art? Probably not, but it would make for a great Instagram post.

Speaking of health benefits, there is a drug that has been causing a lot of buzz lately. Can a budget-friendly diabetes drug really help slow down aging? If it can, sign me up. Let’s dive in.

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Today’s Menu 🌿

  • Can this pill really 👴 slow down aging?

  • 🥶 What are the benefits of cold water, and is it worth taking the plunge?

  • Why does cancer keep getting younger? 😟 Should you worry?

  • The Daily Recipe is a tasty salad 🥗 with everything you need!

  • 👩‍⚕️ Are female doctors better than men?

  • FOUR supplements 💊 every woman should take!

Read Time: 4 minutes

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Can This Really Slow Down Aging?  

Metformin, a drug widely used to manage diabetes, might have some powerful benefits beyond just controlling blood sugar. It could potentially extend life and fend off diseases typically associated with aging, such as heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. 

But how can we know for sure? The curiosity over metformin and its possible benefits has led to a notable clinical study known as The TAME Trial, which aims to see if metformin can indeed enhance the health span of healthy older adults (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE).

However, many metformin enthusiasts already swear by the drug's many benefits, not just for diabetes management but for its potential life-extending qualities. These patients praise the drug for keeping them energetic and healthy. A lot of this is anecdotal, but there seems to be enough evidence that warrants additional research.

However, despite its low cost and accessibility, metformin is not universally seen as a wonder drug without risks. While some users report increased energy and better digestive health, others experience side effects such as gastrointestinal distress or decreased vitamin B12 levels. Notably, a study indicated that older individuals on metformin might face challenges in building new muscle, a concern for those already at risk of age-related muscle loss.

The broader scientific community remains cautiously optimistic about metformin's potential. Some researchers highlight that while observational studies suggest metformin reduces the risk of cancer and improves cardiovascular health among diabetics, it's not yet proven that these benefits translate to those without diabetes. For this reason, many experts advocate for rigorous trials to explore how metformin might combat the broader mechanisms of aging, like inflammation and cell damage.

All the excitement around these prospects has led to a push for the TAME Trial, which aims to enroll 3,000 people aged 65 to 79 to thoroughly assess metformin's capability to prevent age-related diseases. 

However, funding remains a significant hurdle. Dr. Nir Barzilai of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who is spearheading the trial, faces challenges because metformin is a generic drug, which makes it less attractive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in. Nonetheless, support from philanthropists and a tentative commitment from the National Institute on Aging, which has set aside about $5 million, offer some hope. However, researchers are still far from the estimated $45 to $70 million needed to complete the trial. 

The key takeaway? Metformin has some potential to serve as more than just a diabetes medication, but more research is definitely needed. Unfortunately, getting definite results will be an uphill battle since Big Pharma has little to gain from a generic drug that can help people extend their health span. Big Pharma only makes money when we get sick, and only they have the patented solution to solve the problem. Healthy people don’t make the best customers. 

As research progresses, the aging and medical communities watch closely, hopeful that metformin can indeed be a cornerstone for preventative medicine against age-related diseases. If there are any promising updates, we’ll be sure to cover them as they happen! 

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