The average length of service for enlisted personnel in the US military is just under 15 years. The average age of enlistment in the US army is ~ age 21 and the average age of US army enlisted men and women is ~age 27. Only ~9% of army personnel are over age 40. These troops have barely begun to age biologically. So, what’s the impetus to introduce an anti-aging pill in today’s military?
The US Military’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) intends to test an experimental pill as “smart weaponry” to enhance performance in the battlefield. News headlines portray this as a nutraceutical that will stave off the effects of ageing on older soldiers.
“It has the capacity, if successful, to actually prevent ageing and hasten recovery from injury as well as enhance mental function,” say news reports.
A spokesperson for SOCOM said “this is about improving the mission willingness of our troops.”
Is an anti-aging pill going to be a carrot to get young Americans to enlist in the military? A modern fighting force will likely be removed from the battlefield while AI confronts an enemy. There would be more emphasis on mental acuity than physical endurance. An anti-aging pill would offer both.
The “new” anti-aging pill
While portrayed as something new, this anti-ageing pill has actually been around for a few years. It is based on vitamin B3, niacin, which helps to convert food into energy within living cells.
Niacin-based pills help to make a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) that energizes mitochondria, cell energy compartments that act like “batteries” and need continual recharging. By age 80 only a small portion of mitochondria are operational.
Niacin (vitamin B3) is essential for life but is usually in adequate supply in the diet, particularly in fortified foods.
A frank deficiency of niacin results in pellagra, the disease known for its three hallmark symptoms: diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia.
The originator of this so-called anti-ageing pill is Harvard Medical School’s Dr. David Sinclair PhD who originally introduced red-wine resveratrol as the world’s first anti-ageing pill in 2003.
Three forms of niacin
Niacin is commonly used to lower cholesterol but causes an aggravating head flush as blood vessels dilate (widen). Niacinamide, which is commonly provided in multivitamins, does not induce a flush.
Also, dietary tryptophan, found in foods like chicken, turkey, fish (canned tuna, salmon), cheese and oats, indirectly converts to NAD, but less efficiently. About ~60 milligrams of tryptophan is required to equal one milligram of niacin.
Niacin is being dismissed in this era of modern synthetic analogs or precursors. However, mega-dose niacin has been reported to have remarkable anti-aging effect in humans.
Back in time: the first anti-aging pill
In 2004 when Dr. Sinclair first introduced the red wine molecule resveratrol as an anti-ageing pill it was described as an NAD booster, a mimic of a calorie restricted or fasting diet, and an activator of the Sirtuin1 survival gene; while niacin was identified as a “found-food signal” because it is ubiquitous in food and therefore shuts off the Sirtuin1 gene.
But now niacin derivatives are being paraded as NAD promoters as well. That is because nicotinamide riboside doesn’t shut off the Sirtuin1 gene.
To reiterate and avoid confusion, while resveratrol activates the Sirtuin1 survival gene, niacin and niacinamide inhibit Sirtuin1. However, nicotinamide riboside does not inhibit Sirtuin1.
Another niacin-like molecule called nicotinamide mononucleotide (aka NMN), is also marketed as an NAD booster.
Reliance on animal studies
There are numerous animal studies that prove and disprove niacin-like molecules. Most of these studies have been performed in laboratory mice that have a much more active metabolism than humans, and unlike humans, internally produce vitamin C via conversion of glucose sugar to ascorbate, a sugar-like molecule.
So even though the arrangement of genes in mice is similar to humans, what happens with these niacin-fed mice just may not translate to humans.
Sorting Out NAD Precursors
The hundreds of mitochondria in each living cell in the body produce ATP (adeno triphosphate), the energy currency in the body.
Probably any successful anti-ageing pill is going to be designed to increase cell energy via NAD given that older cells run out of energy.
Do NAD Pills Address The True Cause Of Aging?
The question remains, what causes the mitochondria to age and cell energy to decline? Without knowing what is causing ageing it is difficult to fashion an anti-ageing pill.
What researchers are doing is artificially stimulating NAD, an intermediary factor in the aging process.
Over-mineralization theory of aging
This author has described human ageing as progressive rusting and calcification beginning after full childhood growth.
In the growing years of life minerals are in high demand. Calcium is needed to make new bone. Iron is needed to make new red blood cells. These minerals cannot overload during the growth years.
Three speeds of human aging
There are three speeds of human aging:
1) no measurable aging changing during childhood growth; mitochondria are not in decline;
2) progressive aging as minerals accumulate as more and more mitochondria become dysfunctional;
3) steady-state in the rate aging in the later years of life.
Again, only the over-mineralization theory of aging explains this.
Biological ageing doesn’t begin until full growth is achieved, around age 18. Humans are having birthdays but not aging biologically till then.
Thereafter iron and calcium accumulate and accelerate ageing. Arteries become stiff and calcified. Red blood cells become old (senescent) and laden with iron. It is minerals that control genes and in turn regulate ageing.
Resveratrol is a copper chelator (key-lay-tor) or binder and indirectly controls iron and calcification and therefore more appropriately addresses human aging.
So, what is the true objective: cure aging or make money?
A question arises; are researchers attempting to boost NAD with patentable synthetic molecules so biotech companies can generate a massive profit, or can longevity seekers do the same thing with natural molecules at far less expense?
And why is an NAD boosting anti-ageing pill being ordered up for a largely youthful military fighting force? NAD boosters may not even be appropriate for young fertile females in the military who don’t start to age biologically until after their child-bearing years are over.
Resveratrol: that other anti-aging pill that preceded niacin
The red wine molecule resveratrol has been demonstrated to increase NAD 3-5 times in human brain cells. There may-be molecules that can exceed what resveratrol does but if they cost 3 dollars a day and troops are expected to take them for 3-4 decades, that is an expensive bill to pay. Resveratrol, unlike niacin NAD boosters, has been shown to work at very low doses to boost NAD.
My research shows resveratrol is superior to niacinamide. Historically niacinamide has documented anti-ageing properties dating back many decades.
Resveratrol has a more pronounced effect on older animals than young ones.
Human studies when it is said there are none
Furthermore, while there are no long-term studies showing niacin-like molecules prolong human life, there are human population studies that reveal resveratrol as provided in red wine prolongs human healthspan and lifespan — the long-living, wine-drinking French who had a mortality rate two times lower than North Americans (known as the French Paradox) and the remarkable wine-drinking Italian Americans who in the 1970s were free from heart attacks in Roseto, Pennsylvania).
Cost and dose
While resveratrol is affordable, the most cost-effective NAD booster would be niacinamide which is the non-flush form niacin.
The various forms of niacin, such as nicotinamide riboside, require large doses but are portrayed as being more bio available and more effective. However, if that were true, far lower doses than niacin or resveratrol would be required.
Why is an anti-ageing pill being considered now when two American administrations ago any nutraceutical that claimed to prolong human life would be subject to criminal charges by the Attorney General of the United States.
When the military says this pill is intended to “enhance the mission readiness of our forces,” one wonders if this is just another carrot globalists are offering to those who comply with their onerous demands. If you are a good boy and girl you will get the anti-ageing pill. If you don’t comply with the new social order, you won’t get the anti-ageing pill.
Don’t wait for the military pill
Americans don’t have to join the army and ask for an anti-aging pill from their drill sergeant. Fortunately, off-the-shelf anti-ageing pills are available today and are safe and economical, proven by over a decade of human use. The Poison Controls Centers of America have yet to report a single side effect from resveratrol pills.
For longevity seekers, this author suggests taking niacinamide, which is in most multivitamins, and to take a resveratrol-based pill at a different time of day.
Resveratrol, if taken with breakfast, would prolong natural fasting during sleep, as described in a recent report.
An oral resveratrol pill has been shown in humans to activate the Sirtuin1 survival gene as well as a lifespan-doubling calorie restricted diet. One such red wine pill actually exceeded the number of genes activated by a limited calorie diet by 9-fold.
Anti-aging pill nutraceuticals won’t make you bullet-proof, but they will go a long way towards keeping American adults mentally and physically fit. Now if only the world were sane and Americans were being compelled to take anti-aging pills instead of unproven vaccines.