Is rapamycin a miraculous anti-aging drug?

In May 2023. a drug was approved in the European Union for the treatment of facial angiofibroma. This drug was named rapamycin (generic name sirolimus) and it showed some very promising effects on the aging process during clinical trials.
Is rapamycin a miraculous anti-aging drug? - EUDoctor
Viktor Simunović, Dr.med.
Dr.med. Viktor Simunović
12 September 2023.

To prolong life is one of the earliest aspirations of humankind. Scientists and medicine men tried everything, from herbs and mushrooms to bathing in the blood of the virgins.

In May 2023. a drug was approved in the European Union for the treatment of facial angiofibroma. This drug was named rapamycin (generic name sirolimus) and it showed some very promising effects on the aging process during clinical trials.

Rapamycin and Easter island

Rapamycin was first discovered In 1964. by a Canadian expedition to Easter Island. In samples of soil, scientists discovered bacteria that secreted a brand-new antibiotic. They named it rapamycin as a reference to the island's indigenous name, Rapa Nui.

It was discovered that this drug has anti-fungal properties and is also an immunosuppressant.

Use of rapamycin in transplantation

Patients with transplanted organs are always in danger that their immune system will reject donated tissue. Rapamycin helps prevent this by inhibiting the activation and proliferation of T cells, which are major players in the immune response.

Compared to other immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporine and tacrolimus, rapamycin is less harmful to the kidneys. This makes it particularly useful for kidney transplants.

Rapamycin helps with cancer treatment

Another discovered use of this medicine was in cancer treatment. By inhibiting mTOR signaling rapamycin slows down cell proliferation and uncontrolled cell division. In that way, it can delay tumor progression and contain cancerous cells.

Effects of rapamycin on longevity

Experiments on fruit flies and mice showed that the administration of drugs in early adulthood helped prevent age-related diseases. It was very significant because medical science prolonged human life by discovering new drugs and treatments for diseases. However, the number of years we spend without age-related health conditions has not increased proportionately.

Just to clarify, rapamycin will not make you look younger or reverse aging, it is not the fountain of youth, it is geroprotector. Rapamycin will delay the occurrence of age-related diseases.

At what age should you start taking rapamycin?

To prolong organ failure due to old age, it is best to start taking rapamycin when the growth is completed. That means that for humans the best age to start is early adulthood, late 20's, or early 30's.

Experiments on mice showed a 25% increase in lifespan if rapamycin was injected in early adulthood. If it was given later in life, the increase was only 12%.

It must be noted that research on humans is still in its infancy so no relevant data are published.

Rapamycin mechanism of action - how does this medicine work

Rapamycin (also known as Sirolimus) mechanism of action involves binding to a protein called FKBP-12 to form a complex. This complex then binds to another protein called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), which plays a crucial role in the regulation of cell growth and proliferation.

By binding to mTOR, the rapamycin-FKBP-12 complex inhibits the activity of mTOR, thereby preventing it from promoting cell growth and proliferation. This results in a decrease in the activity of the immune system, reducing the likelihood of organ rejection in transplant patients.

Additionally, by inhibiting mTOR, rapamycin also regulates autophagy (the process by which cells recycle their own components to provide the necessary building blocks for maintaining cellular functions and adapting to stress), which plays a role in the progression of several diseases.

Rapamycin cream

Although it is usually taken orally, rapamycin cream is a topical formulation of this drug. Some studies and research suggest that, when applied topically as a cream or ointment, may have certain benefits for the skin:

  • Anti-aging

    Some researchers have suggested that topical rapamycin may help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

  • Skin rejuvenation

    Topical rapamycin may promote skin rejuvenation by encouraging the production of collagen, a protein that plays a key role in maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. This effect can lead to smoother and more youthful-looking skin.

  • Anti-inflammatory

    Rapamycin has anti-inflammatory properties, and its topical application may help alleviate skin conditions associated with inflammation, such as psoriasis or eczema.

  • Skin cancer prevention

    Some studies have explored the use of rapamycin cream as a potential preventive measure against skin cancer, particularly non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

What foods and natural sources contain rapamycin?

There are no foods that contain rapamycin. The only natural source of this compound is the bacteria Streptomyces hygroscopicus first found on Easter Island.

What is a natural alternative to rapamycin?

Although there are no natural supplements to rapamycin in terms of prolonging organ degradation due to old age or inhibition of developing cancer cells, there are some compounds and treatments that can slow aging.

  • Caloric restriction

    Reducing caloric intake without malnutrition has been shown to slow aging in a wide range of organisms, including yeast, worms, flies, mice, and even primates.

  • Fasting and intermittent fasting

    Similar to caloric restriction, fasting, and intermittent fasting have been shown to extend lifespan and improve health in various organisms.

  • Exercise

    Regular physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved longevity, and improved health span.

  • Resveratrol

    This natural compound found in grapes and red wine has been shown to activate SIRT1, a protein associated with longevity.

  • Curcumin

    This compound found in turmeric has been shown to have anti-aging effects.

  • Green tea extract

    The polyphenols found in green tea, particularly EGCG, have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases and have shown potential anti-aging effects.

  • NAD+ boosters

    NAD+ is a coenzyme found in all living cells and is involved in many critical biological processes. Some natural compounds like Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) have been shown to boost NAD+ levels and might have anti-aging effects.

  • Quercetin

    This compound found in many fruits and vegetables has been shown to have anti-aging effects in various studies.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

    These essential fatty acids have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases and might have anti-aging effects.

  • Sulforaphane

    This compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale has been shown to have anti-aging effects.

Rapamycin side effects

When taken in a small dosage, enough for longevity, rapamycin usually has some mild side effects. These effects may get more serious with dosage increases. Side effects might include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Muscle or joint pain

  • Skin rash or acne

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, or legs due to fluid retention

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Changes in blood sugar levels

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Fever or chills

  • Changes in heart rate or blood pressure

  • Increased risk of infections due to suppression of the immune system

  • Mouth sores or ulcers

  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing

  • Lung diseases

  • Kidney damage

Also, breastfeeding and pregnant women should not take this medication.

What is the dosage for longevity?

The dosage used for longevity is much smaller than one used for immunosuppression.

There is no established dose of rapamycin for longevity, as its use for this purpose is still experimental and not officially approved. In studies, the dosage varies widely. In some mouse studies, a low dose of about 1-2 mg per kg of body weight was used. However, this does not directly translate to a safe or effective dose for humans.

People who take rapamycin usually start with 3 mg/week and then slowly increase to about 10 mg/week.

How to get a prescription for rapamycin?

Contact us via our contact form and schedule an appointment. Our doctor will assess your condition and prescribe a suitable dosage of rapamycin and frequency of treatment.

Rapamycin is a prescription-only medicine and can't be bought without doctors' approval.

Participatory Evaluation of Aging With Rapamycin or Longevity Study (PEARL

The PEARL study is a clinical trial that aims to investigate the effects of rapamycin on the aging process in humans.

This study, which is being conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, is one of the first human trials to examine whether rapamycin can slow down aging in humans. The trial mainly focused on people aged 50-85 years and assessed the effects of the drug on various aspects of aging, such as immunity, heart function, cognition, and physical performance.

The primary aim of the study was to determine whether rapamycin can delay the onset of age-related diseases and conditions, thereby extending the period of life in which individuals are healthy and active.

PEARL is the most extensive clinical trial on humans to date. It is conducted among 150 people and is double-blind and placebo-controlled.

The study started on January 1st, 2020. and will finish at the end of year 2023.

Who makes rapamycin?

Rapamycin (sirolimus) was developed by Pfizer under the name Rapamune.

What other diseases does rapamycin have a positive effect on?

Trials suggested that rapamycin effectively prevents and slows Alzheimer's disease progression in animal model studies.

Overactivation of mTOR is associated with autism. Since rapamycin inhibits mTOR, it is possible that a small dosage can help with that condition. There is also a case where the administration of rapamycin improved the behavior of an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with autism.

Since hair loss and discoloration are symptoms of aging, studies showed the potential of rapamycin in prolonging hair growth and restoring coloration.

Rapamycin is also used in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMS), or multiple sclerosis.

Studies on animals showed that rapamycin treatment reversed changes in the old oral microbiome, making it more similar to what was found in younger animals. There was even some improvement in the restoration of gums and prevention of periodontal diseases that typically come with old age.

One study showed that pretreatment with rapamycin before receiving ketamine, prolonged positive effects on patients with depression.

Future of rapamycin as an anti-aging drug

Positive effects on animals are proven. Also, people who take rapamycin reported beneficial effects. Human trials are still at the beginning and nothing is yet certain. Only time will tell-

For now, if you are considering using this drug for longevity, first call EUDoctor and consult with our experts.

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