Another Study Showing Either No Effect or Reduced Life Span in Mice From Dietary Supplements

There is in fact little evidence for the benefits of dietary supplementation as commonly practiced in wealthier parts of the world. Past results that suggest life extension or improved health in mice tend to vanish once researchers run more careful studies that control for calorie intake. This is taking a while to sink in, however: the supplement industry is enormous, has little incentive to give up its revenue stream or advertising programs, and that voice is much louder than the scientific community in popular culture.

Present data suggest that the consumption of individual dietary supplements does not enhance the health or longevity of healthy rodents or humans. It might be argued that more complex combinations of such agents might extend lifespan or health-span by more closely mimicking the complexity of micronutrients in fruits and vegetables, which appear to extend health-span and longevity.

To test this hypothesis we treated long-lived, male, F1 mice with published and commercial combinations of dietary supplements and natural product extracts, and determined their effects on lifespan and health-span. Nutraceutical, vitamin or mineral combinations reported to extend the lifespan or health-span of healthy or enfeebled rodents were tested, as were combinations of botanicals and nutraceuticals implicated in enhanced longevity by a longitudinal study of human aging. A cross-section of commercial nutraceutical combinations sold as potential health enhancers also were tested, including Bone Restore®, Juvenon®, Life Extension Mix®, Ortho Core®, Ortho Mind®, Super K w k2®, and Ultra K2®. A more complex mixture of vitamins, minerals, botanical extracts and other nutraceuticals was compounded and tested.

No significant increase in murine lifespan was found for any supplement mixture. Our diverse supplement mixture significantly decreased lifespan. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis that simple or complex combinations of nutraceuticals, including antioxidants, are effective in delaying the onset or progress of the major causes of death in mice. The results are consistent with epidemiological studies suggesting that dietary supplements are not beneficial and even may be harmful for otherwise healthy individuals.



But I'm thinking these studies are B.S., likely funded by the pharmaceutical industry which sees the supplement industry as a competitor.

Posted by: Brett Mack at December 30th, 2013 7:10 AM

Hardly; it's mostly the pharmaceutical companies which are selling that stuff.

Posted by: Arcanyn at December 30th, 2013 8:53 AM

In order to be a competitor, they have to actually work. They don't.

Posted by: Dennis Towne at December 30th, 2013 3:24 PM

These anti-vitamin crusaders are worse than the anti-vaccine crusaders.

Posted by: Carl at January 1st, 2014 12:04 PM

Carl, Matt: I can assure you that Dr. Spindler is neither a shill for Big Pharma nor an anti-vitamin crusader. He himself, his research sponsor, and the people in the life extension community (myself included) to whom he reached out to ask for things to test would all have been delighted if (to name two candidates he's debunked for which I once had high hopes) metformin or an acetyl-L-carnitine/lipoic acid cocktail had extended lifespan. When properly tested, they did not.

Posted by: Michael at January 1st, 2014 2:44 PM

There are hundreds of studies showing the beneficial effects of some (not all) dietary supplements. Let's take for example curcumin or vitamin D if you want. How do you explain this?

Posted by: Mike at January 5th, 2014 8:07 PM

well , anything that induce calorie restriction is a BIG YES.

dieting is a billion dollar industry as it is so difficult to do.

These changes may be due to altered locomotion or fatty acid biosynthesis. Published reports of murine life span extension using curcumin or tea components may have resulted from induced caloric restriction.

Posted by: organo at January 5th, 2014 9:50 PM

Does this information affect David K's promotion of the InflammEx and Stemcode supplements?

I also seem to recall seeing an article in 2009 which identified David K as a big user of supplements. Have these studies altered his views on the utility of supplements?

Posted by: Tom at January 7th, 2014 7:15 PM

Will be interesting to see how LEF responds to this. Their Life Extension Mix® was tested.

Posted by: fred at January 8th, 2014 6:39 AM

In some organisms like flies, there have been nutraceuticals such as rhodiola, which have been shown to extend lifespan independently of Calorie Restriction. These substances extend lifespan even when combined with Calorie Restriction.

There are also multiple substances tested on simpler model organisms such as yeast, c. elegans, fish and fruit flies that have extended the lifespan of these organisms.

It is doubtful that all of these experiments failed to account for the well known phenomenon of CR. It would be pretty surprising to find no extension on mice from any substance or combination of substances.

But alas, only a limited set of substances was tested. And some of the nutraceutical products tested have some ingredients in doses too small for said ingredients to be effective, other companies have products with doses up to 125 times higher. An ingredient can't be ruled out if it is present in a dose so far from the optimal dose. These tests might speak against some products, and the ingredients and combinations that were tested outside of these products.

But things like c60oo were not tested, and this, if the experiments were not in error, resulted in lifespan extension in excess of Calorie Restriction in rats, if I'm not mistaken.

Again, take for example pomegranate, it has been show to ameliorate atherosclerosis as well as diminish LDL oxidation. When you have studies showing increasing thickness in the arteries of controls while you see decrease and then virtual halting of progression of disease in those humans subjected to pomegranate. Well, it seems quite simple to predict or infer what will likely happen, and how it will virtually for certain affect the lifespan of controls versus those taking just this single nutraceutical, in humans if the experiment were done for the necessary amount of time.

There have also been studies comparing some natural substances versus pharmaceutical drugs, showing even stronger effects than such without the side effects. If a substance is shown to be even more effective than say an antidepressant drug, without side effect, you don't even have to carry out the experiment to know it will affect lifespan compared to controls with no drug treatment.

In a human population suffering from things like obesity, how can we say something like resveratrol doesn't hint at having potential of increasing lifespan of at least some members of the population, given the positive lifespan results in overweight rodents(and also in rodents with various genetic defects)?

Posted by: Darian S at February 20th, 2016 5:04 PM
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