Longevity 2023: From A to…

An initial look at some of this year’s longevity news – literally. Including acid, the Amish, Amazon and Aging Hallmarks.

The longevity sector is booming with new companies exiting stealth, new products hitting the market and new research pushing the limits of both lifespan and healthspan, and we’ve published over 550 articles packed with news, company profiles, interviews and features. Our output is testament to how busy the longevity space is, but it does make it slightly tricky for the Editorial Team to pick some to showcase as we head towards 2024 and pause to take stock of 2023.

So, for my whistle-stop look the year, I’m focusing on stories connected with the Letter A, since starting at the very beginning is a good place to start. (Small nod to A for Julie Andrews, there, in the Christmas perennial favorite, The Sound of Music.)

A is for Aging Hallmarks

The year kicked off in style when on 3rd January, López-Otín et al published a follow-up paper to 2013’s seminal Hallmarks of Aging. Hallmarks of aging: An expanding universe, which was published in Cell, added three additional hallmarks – disabled macroautophagy, chronic inflammation, and dysbiosis – to the mix. The authors describe aging as a “multiplex” of the twelve hallmarks – the hallmarks are interdependent, which means experimental alteration of one usually affects others. The hallmarks still sit in one of three categories: the primary hallmarks (the result of the accumulation of genome, telomeres, epigenome, proteome, and organelles damage), the antagonistic hallmarks (responses to damage), and the integrative hallmarks (stem cell exhaustion, intercellular communication alterations, chronic inflammation and dysbiosis as a result of unrepaired damage).

A is for Amazon

Off the shelves: Amazon bans NMN products
Photograph: rawpixel.com/Freepik

Following the FDA ruling that popular longevity supplement ingredient beta-nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) could no longer be sold as a dietary supplement in the US because it had “been authorized for investigation as a new drug”, the Restricted Products Team of online retail behemoth Amazon took action. It issued notice to sellers that NMN products on Amazon’s virtual shelves must now be labeled with a National Drug Code (NDC). As the situation rumbles on, we may well see a shift from US brands to international ones, as Americans switch to importing NMN.

A is for Amish

Leveraging the past to illuminate longevity for the future
Photograph: foremankelly/Envato

In September, we spoke to Zoe Biosciences’ CEO Scott Gies about research into an Amish community in Berne who carry a genetic mutation meaning they under-produce PAI-1, a protein that regulates clotting, stem cell migration and fibrosis. The heterozygotes in the population who carry one copy of the mutated gene produce enough PAI-1 for clotting purposes, but not so much – unlike the rest of us – that it interferes with optimal longevity. PAI-1 is intimately related to cellular senescence, being both a marker and a mediator, and Amish with the mutation live ten years longer on average, are protected from cardiovascular, metabolic, and other aging-related diseases, and have telomeres that are 10% longer. Now Zoe is attempting to replicate the Berne Amish community’s exceptional longevity with a platform of therapeutics that includes PAI-1 inhibitors across various modalities and disease indications. 

A is for Amplify

Credit: Tally Health

In October, Tally Health, the consumer-facing longevity company co-founded by longevity heavyweight David Sinclair, launched its second supplement – Amplify. With ingredients designed to slow aging by improving cellular energy production, activating the metabolic sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inducing autophagy, Amplify has been formulated to complement Tally’s existing daily foundational supplement, Vitality.

Dr Adiv Johnson, Director of Research and Innovation at Tally Health told us scientific evidence was a key factor when deciding on ingredients. “Glycine, berberine, and urolithin A were each included because of their ability to influence lifespan and/or healthspan in animal models, mechanistic evidence indicating they can uniquely target established hallmarks of aging, and double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled data from human clinical trials,” he said.

A is for Age1 and Aperture Therapeutics

'We are so close to the future we want'
Photo credits: Isaac Han/age1

San Francisco-based age1, a venture capital firm catalyzing the next generation of founder-led longevity biotech companies, launched in September of this year. Founded by Laura Deming and Alex Colville, and with an initial closing of $35 million, age1 plans to build a community of visionaries that will advance new therapeutics, tools, and technologies targeting aging and age related disease.

Age1’s first portfolio company is Aperture Therapeutics, a pre-clinical stage drug discovery company focusing on age-related neurodegenerative disorders. “We’re excited about Aperture because we are insanely frustrated with the fact that cognitive decline starts as early as 30, and almost nobody is doing anything about that,” Colville told Longevity.Technology. “We are really happy that Aperture is our first bet to tackle that problem.”

A is for Acid (a very special fatty acid, that is)

Fatty acid discovery is a fluke for longevity
Photograph: nualaimages/Envato

Fatty acids have been demonized for decades, but dolphin-related research discovered a new fatty acid C15:0, an odd chain saturated fatty acid of a type consistently associated with lower risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease. Decreased population-wide intake of whole fat dairy products has resulted in declining C15:0 levels – which have coincided with an increase in multiple chronic diseases. Furthermore, C15:0 levels decline with advanced age, which may further accelerate aging rates. Now fatty15, a supplement based on this fatty acid, is hoping to leverage this remarkable longevity characteristic.

“In addition to directly stabilizing cell membranes, C15:0 attenuates multiple hallmarks of aging, including cellular senescence, inflammaging, mitochondrial dysfunction and poor cellular signaling,” Stephanie Venn-Watson, cofounder and CEO of fatty15 told Longevity.Technology.

A is for Aster Pharmacy

NMN Bio and Aster Pharmacy unite to bring antiaging supplements to UAE market
Photograph: NMN Bio

A household name in the UAE and the leading pharmacy chain in the Gulf Cooperation Council  (GCC), Aster has more than 250 pharmacies and has also launched UAE’s first online pharmacy, Earlier this year, Aster joined forces with NMN Bio to become first partnership to sell the antiaging supplement NMN in retail stores in the UAE. This means that NMN Bio’s NMN product is the first and only registered NMN that customers can buy in Dubai and other major locations in the United Arab Emirates.

A is for Anonymous and Agingdoc

The journey of Aging Doc – from commentary to clinic (David Barzilai interview)
Photo credit: David Barzilai

With over 27,000 followers on Twitter/X with the handle @agingdoc1, Agingdoc has been offering clear, unbiased geroscience information and commentary on research papers since May 2020. However, until recently, Agingdoc has been an anonymous longevity commentator, preferring to let the science, rather than his identity, be the focus. So. what changed? Well, Agingdoc came out of the Twitter closet as Dr David Barzilai and told Longevity.Technology he is now free to spread the longevity message as himself, as well as taking on clients for longevity and healthspan coaching.

A is for Astaxanthin

NIH-funded longevity study shows astaxanthin extends lifespan
Photograph: Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock

Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid red pigment with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, synthesized by microalgae, fungi and certain marine organisms as a defense mechanism against oxidative stress caused by UV light from the sun. Astaxanthin has also been shown to increase lifespan in several non-mammalian model organisms (yeast, roundworms, fruit flies), and as the result of a new study on AX3 Bio-Pure Astaxanthin, the Interventions Testing Program (ITP) extended this finding to mammals (mice). The paper’s authors note that oxidative stress and chronic inflammation may play an important role in aging and age-related diseases and that astaxanthin is a promising longevity candidate due to its “potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, favorable localization in mitochondria and other cellular membranes throughout the body, and excellent safety profile.”

A is for August

Scientific leaders issue global Dublin Longevity Declaration

We finish off this A List with August, which saw the launch of global Dublin Longevity Declaration, so-named because it was announced at Longevity Summit Dublin. The Declaration expresses a consensus statement from longevity scientists that aging is not inevitable, and that there are early scientific results suggesting that the biological age of an individual is modifiable.

The signatories (which include George Church, Eric Verdin, David Sinclair, Aubrey de Grey, Brian Kennedy, María Blasco, Vadim Gladyshev, Andrea Maier, Nir Barzilai, Matt Kaeberlein, Andrew Steele, João Pedro de Magalhães, Joanna Bensz, Peter Fedichev, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, Bill Andrews, Alex Zhavoronkov, Thomas Rando and Steven Austad) express the hope that by achieving a much better control of aging, society will be able undergo a dramatic change, This change would see accessible, expanded life quality, healthcare models shifted towards prevention, repair and rejuvenation, rather than symptom control, and longer, more productive lifespans.

Stay tuned for when we flip to the other end of the alphabet later in the week!