Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

A Common Molecule May Help Extend Life Skip to content

Can blue light from your phone cause vision problems? Find out and learn more about your vision in the AARP Eye Center.


A Common Molecule May Extend Life

Researchers report success with trying to replicate it in mice and humans

A woman holds a transparent yellow gel pill

Getty Images

Researchers found that when mice were injected with the compound, they looked and acted younger.

A molecule that exists in all living cells may hold the key to longer life, a group of researchers at Harvard Medical School believes. They’re trying to replicate it and report success in limited trials.

Called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+, the molecule helps to regulate cellular aging. As a person gets older, NAD+ levels decrease.

But when mice were injected a compound designed to generate extra NAD+, they looked and acted younger, according to Time. Humans are now being tested.

In a story in this week’s issue of Time magazine, the Harvard researchers discussed their findings.

“NAD+ is the closest we’ve gotten to a fountain of youth,” David Sinclair, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, told Time.  “It’s one of the most important molecules for life to exist.”

In a study published in Science in March 2017, the Harvard researchers reported that the DNA damage in mice caused by aging and a decline in NAD+ can be “rapidly reversed by restoring the abundance of NAD+” via the compound.

For humans, in a control trial, a separate research group reported in the November 2017 issue of Nature that those taking a daily supplement of the compound increased their NAD+ levels – by 40 percent or more -- over  one- and two-month periods.

Sinclair reported that he and his father both now take the supplement.

“He’s 78, and used to act like Eeyore,” Sinclair told Time. “Now he’s going on six-day hikes and traveling around the world.”

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.