Lifeline has surfaced again with news about their forthcoming antioxidant-promoting drug, now called Protandim.
Protandim is not an antioxidant, but its patent-pending formulation induces the body to produce more of its own natural antioxidant enzymes, thereby utilizing biology not chemistry to fight oxidation.
The body's primary antioxidant is Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and its levels have previously been shown to be directly correlated to aging in 14 different species, including humans. Species with the highest amounts of SOD live the longest and any increase in SOD corresponds to an increase in lifespan. According to separate studies conducted by John Tower, a molecular biologist at the University of Southern California, and by molecular biologist John Phillips of the University of Guelph in Ontario, the extended time of life was youth. Old age was postponed.
After very promising pre-clinical results, Protandim is currently undergoing human trials at the renowned Webb-Waring Institute of Cancer, Aging and Antioxidant Research (Webb-Waring). Although the duration of the studies will continue for a period that extends past the projected product release timeframe, there is already enough data to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Protandim product.
I imagine that this will prove popular with the healthy life extension community, just like resveratrol, and for all the same reasons. There is a school of thought that suggests trying anything with modest scientific backing for positive effects on healthy life span - and very good backing for a lack of negative effects - is worth the money. This is more of the same risk-reward evaluation that responsible consumers should apply to any supplement or medical product.
I confess that I'm not quite following the shuffle of companies involved in this product, but I'll be interested to see the results from human trials. Like other substances (such as resveratrol), it has some nice lab work behind it to date. The big question, as for all supplements with nice lab work behind them, is whether or not it works once stuffed into a pill...
UPDATE: It's actually rather unclear as to whether the product being pushed by Lifeline is the same as the original (produced by Ceremedix) back when they started out. The same applies to whatever they are testing now - is it in fact backed up by clinical studies, or do those refer to a different chemical or protein? Read this thread from the Immortality Institute forums for more background information.
UPDATE (June 03 2005): In light of all the recent interest, visitors might find it helpful to read my latest post on the topic of Lifeline and Protandim.