Trehalose and Nematode Worm Longevity

Researchers interested in metabolic manipulation as a path to extended healthy longevity continue to identify potential compounds to feed into the long drug development process. Many such compounds begin with worm or fly life span studies, as the major known genes associated with metabolism and life span are conserved between species - all the way from worms up to we humans. If a compound can make a fly live longer and can be shown to act on genes and mechanisms already associated with calorie restriction or insulin metabolism, then you'll probably see interest in pushing forward to testing in mammals.

Here is an example of this sort of research:

Trehalose is a disaccharide of glucose found in diverse organisms and is suggested to act as a stress protectant against heat, cold, desiccation, anoxia, and oxidation.

Here, we demonstrate that treatment of [nematode worms of the species] Caenorhabditis elegans with trehalose starting from the young-adult stage extended the mean life span by over 30% without any side effects. Surprisingly, trehalose treatment starting even from the old-adult stage shortly thereafter retarded the age-associated decline in survivorship and extended the remaining life span by 60%. Demographic analyses of age-specific mortality rates revealed that trehalose extended the life span by lowering age-independent vulnerability. Moreover, trehalose increased the reproductive span and retarded the age-associated decrease in pharyngeal-pumping rate and the accumulation of lipofuscin.


The life span-extending effect of trehalose was abolished in long-lived insulin/IGF-1-like receptor (daf-2) mutants. ... These findings indicate that a reduction in insulin/IGF-1-like signaling extends lifespan, at least in part, through the aging-suppressor function of trehalose. Trehalose may be a lead compound for potential nutraceutical intervention of the aging process.

Manipulation of insulin signaling is how the present winner of the Mprize for longevity science produced a mouse that lived 60-70% longer than normal. So we might expect to see some effect on longevity in mice from trehalose when researchers raise funding and perform the studies.

ResearchBlogging.orgHonda Y, Tanaka M, & Honda S (2010). Trehalose extends longevity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging cell PMID: 20477758


Why not submit to NIA for ITP testing?
Request copies from NIA of successful applicants then split the work and submit one per item to be tested.

Interventions Testing Program (ITP) Application Form for Sponsors of Longevity Intervention Proposals

I believe a well written proposal to the NIA could get the research on the aging effect of:

Low protein diet started on older mice

Mannoheptulose in conjunction with




I would like to see each one done alone and also a mixture

low protein, mannoheptulose, glycerol, trehalose and triacetin.

Posted by: Eric Anderson at September 28th, 2010 8:04 PM

Does trehalose reduce a persons growth hormone. I use the trehalose sugar to sweeten things and make deserts. My natural growth hormone test quite low and I am 79 years old.
Can someone comment.

Posted by: Ted Moore at August 5th, 2011 10:22 PM
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