The secret to age reversal may be hiding in our blood

Could the fountain of youth be flowing through the veins of our youth?  Dr. Amy Wagers and Dr. Richard Lee suspect that it is.

The two Harvard scientists have been studying the effects of the protein GDF11 on aging.  The protein, which they discovered after five long years of research, is more plentiful in young mice than old mice.  And, when the scientists injected GDF11 into old mice, they were amazed at what they found.

Dr. Wagers recently spoke with Al Jazeera America about their findings:  “[GDF11] is abundant in the blood of young animals, but it declines with age along with the emergence of several dysfunctions: for instance, muscle wasting and weakness, decreased activity in the brain and actually defects in the cardiac muscle as well.  And we found that when we added this protein back to older animals, we could actually reverse some of those effects of aging and restore more healthy function in these tissues.”

An anti-aging serum for humans?

“We’re very excited about the possibility of translating this to humans.  The protein GDF11 in its mature form is actually identical between mice and humans, and it is present in the bloodstream of humans as well.  And so, we’re actively working to understand more specifically its regulation in humans and how we might apply it to human aging-related diseases.”  Dr. Wagers thinks it’s “very reasonable to expect at least the first clinical trials that will build on the results we reported here within the next five years.”

A substance that reverses the biological effects of aging has been the stuff of fantasy for centuries, and it may now be less than a decade away from becoming a reality.  Read more at the Al Jazeera America website.

Senior Lifestyle column is sponsored by Lake Howard Heights.

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