Comprehensive review of anti- aging supplements

In preparing a major update of my Aging Advice web page this week, I’ve been revisiting my supplement shelf, asking why I’m taking each of these pills and whether there is new evidence, either from animals or humans.

I would be grateful to you my readers for comments on this work which is still in flux. The latest version of the Pills page will be found here, and themain page of the new Aging Advice site will be here.

Highlights of what I learned in preparing this page: There’s a New Zealand company selling the “Skulachev ion“, which I thought was years away from commercialization. I developed a new respect for Carnosine as a major boon in several ways. I am gradually coming to think that resveratrol has been over-hyped. I learned that horny goat weed has been used for hundreds of years in the Orient as an aphrodisiac.

I’m interested in what I missed and what I got wrong.  Also your personal experiences with any of these supplements and comments on the format and presentation.  You can comment below, or email me.

Thanks for your help!

6 thoughts on “Comprehensive review of anti- aging supplements

  1. In this statement, Most people have to take thousands of IU daily to get their blood levels into the recommend range of 40-100, especially in the winter when there is no sun to supplement dietary vitamin D.

    please specify the units. I think you mean ng/ml. 1 ng/ml = 2.5 nmol/l

  2. Josh, I would invite you and your readers to also consider Telomere Biosciences’ supplement TELO-100 with T-Activator 150 (, which is the only integrated ‘complex’ of 17 Telomere-supportive ingredients–including several of the ingredients and natural telomerase activators you highlight–to target ALL major causes of Telomere shortening, in one comprehensive Telomere product.

    [As examples, research by top Telomere biologists including Andrews, Blackburn, Harley, Effros, Aviv, Blasco, von Zglinicki,, shows that: oxidative stress can reduce telomerase activity (TA) by 50-70% and double the rate of telomere shortening; inflammation has a major negative impact on TA and accelerates telomere shortening; cortisol and homocysteine can each reduce TA by up to 50% and each increases the rate of telomere shortening; and Dr. Effros has shown that inhibiting TNF-alpha can actually increase TA by 1.25 to 1.78 fold.] So TELO-100 is formulated to: 1. Reduce the rate of telomere shortening; 2. Maintain existing levels of telomerase activity, esp. in adult stem cells and leukocytes, which express telomerase at high levels until the cells approach senescence; and 3. Activate telomerase, which “preferentially seeks out” and lengthens the critical shortest telomeres first [Greider, Harley.]

    You mention TA-65, and Product B from Isagenix which includes much more potent telomerase activators screened by recognized leader Sierra Sciences, to which I would comment:
    –TELO-100 includes 6 of the top 9 herbal ingredients in Product B, and Sierra Sciences CEO Bill Andrews has said: “There are 3 telomerase inducers on the market; the first was TA-65; Product B; and the absolute newest is from Telomere Biosciences” [2/23/12 Presentation.]

    –While TA-65 is as you say the only product of the 3 to have human clinical research to-date, it is important to clarify that research authors Harley/Andrews/Blasco write that: TA-65 only “moderately” “increased telomerase in human cells in culture,” and that it was not TA-65 alone which was tested, but rather “Patton Protocol-1, composed of TA-65, a [separate] dietary supplement pack, laboratory testing & physician counseling.” [The 43-ingredient supplement pack, since discontinued, attacks many of the other causes of telomere shortening above, as does TELO-100, while Product B targets TA and oxidative stress.] The authors continue that “It is impt. to note that we cannot determine the contribution of any single component of PP-1 to the observed changes.” “These data suggest that PP1–TA-65 in combination with other supplements and physician counseling–improves health and may reduce risk of morbidity and mortality.” Which is exactly the scientific proposition behind TELO-100 with T-Activator 150.

    Thank you for letting me clarify. David B. Cross, Founder & President, Telomere Biosciences.

  3. I have been careful with my supplement regimen and right now it is quite minimal. Most of my fear comes from Spindler who is currently doing a huge experiment on numerous supplements:

    The reason I trust Spindler is because he is one of the only handful of researchers who can keep and maintain mice to their proper age of ~1000d or more. This means that if Spindler finds an effect on lifespan the effect is beneficial on mice who are actually “healthy”. The first study to come out is here:

    -Influence on longevity of blueberry, cinnamon, green and black tea, pomegranate, -sesame, curcumin, morin, pycnogenol, quercetin, and taxifolin fed iso-calorically -to long-lived, F1 hybrid mice.

    And he is currently running studies on more (see above link).

    He has also recently published: Age (Dordr). 2013 Dec 28. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lifespan effects of simple and complex nutraceutical combinations fed isocalorically to mice.
    Spindler SR, Mote PL, Flegal JM.

    In the end, life extension in “healthy!!!” folks are quite hard to come by in pill form for now.

  4. I think your wrong when you say to take SAMe and your right when you say that there have been no trials for life extension in rodents or studies of mortality in humans.
    Conversely there is lot of study showing a life extension in rodent with methionine restricted diet and wich lower the DNA methylation:
    “Lifespan modification by glucose and methionine in Drosophila melanogaster fed a chemically defined diet.”
    “Methionine-deficient diet extends mouse lifespan, slows immune and lens aging, alters glucose, T4, IGF-I and insulin levels, and increases hepatocyte MIF levels and stress resistance.”
    “Forty percent methionine restriction lowers DNA methylation, complex I ROS generation, and oxidative damage to mtDNA and mitochondrial proteins in rat heart.”

  5. Hi Josh,

    First, I want to thank you for maintaining this very informative blog with such a good talent of vulgarization. Your articles are also very pleasant to read! I just have a couple of questions and one comment.

    1) You have mentioned above that the “new Zealand company” is selling the Skulachev ion but I did not find any mention of him on their website. Do you have any idea why?
    2) My understanding of the result from ITP is that 17α-Estradiol looks quite promising as a life extension drug. In particular, it has produced robust mean and maximal life extensions:
    I have not find any comment about it in your blog. Have I missed it? Are you concerned about its side effects?

    It is interesting to see that the ITP is currently testing MitoQ and Glycine, two compounds that you have written about. I am looking forward to the result!

    Thanks again!

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