Reversal of Epigenetic Aging

Posted on 20 October 2019

A recent paper published in the Aging Cell claims to be “..the first report of an increase, based on an epigenetic age estimator, in predicted human lifespan by means of a currently accessible aging intervention.” The initial purpose of the study was to investigate the regenerative effect of a cocktail of hormones, including metformin, one of the most exciting molecules in the longevity pipeline, on the thymus. However, being aware of the life-extending effects of metformin, the team decided to contact Dr. Horvath, a mathematician-turned-geneticist who developed the epigenetic, or Horvath, clock. The Horvath clock is based on the epigenetic expression of an individual’s genome which is controlled via the methylation of certain regions of DNA. DNA methylation is a process in which a methyl group attaches to a section of DNA, silencing the downstream gene from being expressed. The researchers found that the cocktail of drugs had shed, on average, 2.5 years off of the participants biological age. Another interesting finding was that after 9 months of taking the cocktail of drugs, the rate at which the participants age was rewinding was actually increasing. However, the findings of this study needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. For one, the study did not include any control group. So it’s hard to know whether it was the drugs producing this effect or placebo had a part to play. It should also be noted that the cocktail of drugs was personalised to each individual, therefore each subject could have been taking a completely different dosage of each drug in the cocktail, making it hard to pin down what actually caused these supposed life extending results.”

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