Are supplements the key to unlocking healthy longevity?

A new conference dives into the world of longevity supplements, from preclinical to clinical and from off the shelf to hyper-personalization.

Next year sees the first global scientific conference focused solely on the role of supplements as a geroprotective intervention.

Happening at National University of Singapore, the conference will bring together leading scientists, clinicians, key opinion leaders, industry partners, consumer representatives and regulatory authorities to explore the immense potential of supplements in optimising the way we age. The speaker list already boasts David Sinclair, Brian Kennedy, Nir Barzilai, Andrea Maier, Greg Bailey and Brad Stanfield.

Longevity.Technology: This conference can’t come soon enough! The supplements space is exploding, with various products jostling for top spot when it comes to purity, bioavailability and synergy of ingredients, and the conference has set itself the task of separating hope from hype. Run by the Centre for Healthy Longevity, which is dedicated to advancing the science and application of supplements to optimise health and extend healthspan and lifespan, the events kick off with three days of workshops that form an intensive course on healthy longevity (26-28 February 2024). The week ends with the conference with Unlock Healthy Longevity: Supplements running on Thursday 29 February and Friday 1 March.

To find out more about what’s involved, we sat down with Andrea Maier, Director of the Centre for Healthy Longevity, and Hans Meij, Director, NUS Academy for Healthy Longevity.

Andrea Maier on over the counter longevity

What we are really experiencing in the field of geroscience at the moment is that we are beginning to understand why we age and how we can manipulate the system with molecules. These molecules can be repurposed drugs – think about metformin or rapamycin, or even ACE inhibitors. And now we also understand that some of the supplements we can buy over the counter might influence how long we live, because we understand the mechanisms.

There is a fluidity needed to understand what is a supplement and what is a drug. First we have to understand why we age and how we can antagonize it and manipulate it. Some of the interventions we are using involve repurposed drugs and some are supplements – and some supplements might be drugs in the end and even vice versa.

Andrea Maier on safety first

NMN, the NAD precursor, is a good example. We understand that NAD levels decrease with age, and research in mice, flies and C elegans, shows that supplementing with NMN increases healthspan and lifespan. And now we have human data, so there’s a huge potential market. What would occur with other potent molecules such as fisetin or spermidine or others?

We have to see from long term data if supplements are safe and what they do. We already know from NMN studies in mice that there can be increased levels of metastasis – not what we want! The only solution here is long term data and really getting to grips with safety profiles, completing phase one studies and really knowing what the pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics are.

Andrea Maier on supplement one, two three

Regulation and optimization need three things. Firstly, ingredients need to be tested individually – how do they work? How often should people take them and how much? Secondly, how do different ingredients work together in humans? And, thirdly, personalization – what is right for that person at this moment in time? This backs into testing before start a regimen to see what you might actually need. And I think here, the science really is lacking behind – who should take NMN? Who should take certain other supplements, or geroprotectors or a multivitamin pill? So, I think here a huge arena of new research kicks in to not really personalize it, but rather to stratify individuals to really see where their need is.

Hans Meij on location, location, location

Singapore has opportunities because it has a population that the government understands; the population is aging, and the government sees that they need to do something else other than just conservative healthcare – we need new approaches. That’s why the Academy came to Singapore, why the Longevity Center is in Singapore and why there is a huge number of investors who are really interested in longevity. And the fact that Singapore is promoting a healthy longevity and a new approach to healthcare gives wonderful opportunities. The commercial and enterprise opportunities in Singapore are abundant and better than we have seen anywhere else at the moment. 

Hans Meij on a broader perspective of longevity

To make the most out of the conference, you need the broader perspective of longevity and where it’s at the moment. So we are bringing together real leaders of longevity in the global field in an intense course, and in those three days, we will update you in a very close-knit, intense course with all the developments in the longevity field. That is the best layer to underpin our wonderful conference and enable you to be able to participate in all the conference discussions.

The last two days are the conference on supplements – a wonderful combination of in-depth knowledge and updating and discussion on the very interesting subject of supplements. 

The CHL conference Unlock Healthy Longevity: Supplements runs 29 February to 1 March. Bag your in person or online tickets now – early bird offers available!