Could a pill boost your energy, improve your body’s ability to repair its DNA and keep you healthier as you age?
MIT biologist Leonard Guarente, a leader in the field of aging research, thinks so. He and his team at startup Elysium Health have developed a little blue pill. (No, not that one) This over-the-counter vitamin called Basis aims to slow aging by tweaking the body’s metabolism.
It contains a chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a compound in cells that drives numerous metabolic reactions used to process fuel sources like glucose and produce energy (ATP) for the cells’ powerhouses, the mitochondria. As humans age, NAD levels decrease.
NAD also promotes DNA repair via an enzyme, and is used by certain proteins called sirtuins to tune cellular metabolism for the efficient production of energy by mitochondria. Studies in mice show that supplementation with NAD precursors improved the health of aging animals.
Elysium Health says the anti-aging pill targets metabolic repair and optimization. Other dietary supplements in the pipeline will enhance biological functions such as muscle repair and help boost memory.
“We are thrilled to introduce BASISTM and excited about Elysium’s potential to build upon the scientific understanding of how natural compounds can enhance an array of key biological functions, and then translate that knowledge into products that may help people improve and sustain their health,” Leonard Guarente, co-founder and chief scientist of Elysium Health who has led research efforts at the MIT for 34 years and serves as the director of the Glenn Laboratory for the Science of Aging, said in a press release.
The pill will be packaged as a so-called nutraceutical, which doesn’t require clinical trials or approval by the FDA, and will be sold exclusively through the company’s website. A 30-day supply will cost $60 or $50 a month with an ongoing subscription.