A recent study out of Italy links statin drugs to increased telomerase activity and slower shortening of telomeres.
If you read my blogs you know this is not the first time such an association has been found. Back in March of this year I reviewed another article predicting we would see more of this. And now we have!
The gist of this study is that statins appear to have a mild effect on white blood cell telomerase activity. They do not lengthen telomeres but they could be put into the broad category of “things that slow down telomere loss”.
The authors make a rather prophetic remark in that they suggest that some of the increased survival that may be seen with statin therapy may be due to improved stabilization of the telomere. They do not go so far as to say that ALL of it may be due to this. They also still mention the cholesterol lowering effect of statins as a survival mechanism.
Let’s look at that a bit more. Statin drug therapy started when Merck took the “active” molecule from red yeast rice and patented as Mevacor. This first statin drug was much like TA-65 in that it was all natural- a small molecule purified and concentrated that came from a Chinese plant!
Soon after “semi-synthetic” statins arrived and Rosuvastatin or Crestor tm represents the new generation of totally synthetic computer generated molecules. In the process an industry and test was created to support Big Pharma to the tune of $20 billion a year.
In spite of all of this the drug companies are still having to do studies that “justify the use of statins”. As a matter of fact the JUPITER study was done a few years back providing highly funded and perfectly credentialed evidence ( American Journal of Cardiology and researchers from Mass General aka the New England Journal of Medicine folks) that basically everyone on the planet should get a statin drug.
Of course the facts are not all that clear cut. Statins are costly, have a very high cost per prevention of second heart attack let alone first, work mostly in high risk men, don’t work well in women, have side effects profiles that include memory loss, impotence, diabetes, and have failed to provide the much vaunted anti-cancer and anti-Alzheimer’s benefits Big Pharma was hoping for.
Simply put if we applied the same standards to statin use as we did to mammograms, pap smears and PSA for prostate cancer we would not be using statins because they are too costly. And yet they are still much beloved by allopathic doctors like me and almost universally recommended. They even feature heavily on the Cardiology section of the Internal Medicine Boards!
I think you get the picture. Statins are too big and too profitable to be gone anytime soon. But this whole association between statins and telomeres does have a very positive side. Sort of.
If Big Pharma gets involved in the anti-aging market things will move much faster. Then again they will own it which is not necessarily a good thing for all of us. Then again it may not be preventable.
My friend what you are really watching hear is a “product cycle” in development. The association between a drug company drug and the anti-aging market will blossom when enough people like me have done enough work and educated enough people to support the desire in Big Pharma to capitalize on the market need and desire that has been created. Then when the social moral and economic risks are the lowest, and someone else has incurred the cost and risk of developing the answer, Big Pharma will swoop in, use their gigantic advertising resources to saturate the market, buy off the actual pioneers in the industry ( don’t worry they won’t pick me! I am far too controversial!) and be the hero of all humanity thus cementing our dependency on them forever more. Or so they hope.
The truly good thing is that telomeres and the association of telomeres with disease and disease prevention and treatment will become a real thing with a real agenda instead of just a fascinating research tool like it is now. Finally the field will get some of its due even if there is a terrible price to pay.
While we cannot link TA-65 to disease prevention just yet it is a real possibility in the not too distant future. Remember it is the only compound on the market that actually has real human data.
This brings up another point. TA Sciences had the foresight to use the Life Length assay before it was even commercially available. Unlike the Italian study just released which used the inaccurate Q-PCR assay to measure people’s telomeres (which makes the data suspect in the first place!) their data is real, repeatable and in the process of being expanded as we speak.
The Life Length test is the ONLY test that can give you an accurate biologic age.
And I have to be honest. For a lot of people only drugs will do. This is true of most doctors who do not understand how severely and tactically they have been marketed to become the mouth pieces of the pharmaceutical industry.
But for guys like me- I feel a lot safer and better about using an all natural product that I have proven in repeated personal testing using the Life Length Assay has reversed my biologic age by 7 years.
So the only question is: are you a pioneer?!
PS as an aside my telomere research buddies tell me that statins may actually work better in people who have shorter telomeres because they may have a more demonstrable effect on their telomeres. This means that Big Pharma could and should do some stratification work on their respective statin drugs to see who will benefit most. This will cost money and reduce the risk of statins so don’t look for it any time soon!