A Reality Check on Dietary Supplements
Permalink | View Comments (3) | Post Comment | | Posted by Reason

As a rule most people interested in health and longevity lavish far too much of their attention on dietary supplements, misled by the loudest voices in the room. No supplement or combination of supplements have been shown to reliably produce even a fraction of the benefits of exercise and calorie restriction, and none of these line items will give you a good chance of living past 90. Three quarters of the most health-obsessed people die before reaching that age, despite the fact that those who exercise and remain thin usually suffer a lower incidence of disease and medical expense in later life. The only shot at a much longer healthy life available to all of us is faster progress in medical technology, an area in which comparatively small donations now can have a large effect in the decades ahead by allowing today's small disruptive initiatives in human longevity to succeed and grow.

Back to supplements, here is a reality check from someone who does spend too much time thinking about supplements and longevity:

Stephen Spindler, biochemistry prof at UC Riverside, has been warning us for years that supplements, herbal extracts and neutraceuticals are, on the whole, ineffective for healthy adults, and that some may actually shorten life expectancy. Spindler's lab has done many life extension studies on mice, almost always with negative results. One of the themes in his papers is that caloric restriction is the only thing that works consistently, and that many of the treatments that seem to offer life extension are subtley inducing caloric restriction, (and this goes unreported by the investigators). But there are so many substances to test, and each lifespan test in mice is so expensive, that Spindler has suggested gene expression profiles as a shortcut to identifying candidates for further testing.

Another approach is to test many substances at once in a mouse life extension cocktail. Another rationale for this kind of testing is that we know that natural fruits and vegetables contribute to a long and healthy life, so perhaps it takes a complex combination of nutrients to be effective. Late last year, Spindler reported on his experiments, feeding commercial "life extension" mixes to hybrid mice. The results are a bracing cold shower for those of us who take a variety of carefully-chosen supplements each day - the mice that ate the supplements and the mice that ate ordinary mouse chow had exactly the same pattern of mortality.

Link: http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2014/03/25/life-extension-supplements-a-reality-check/

Comments

So, CR mimics work in mice? That's great news for people who supplement!

Posted by: Marco at March 26, 2014 4:49 PM

Why does William Shatner look so good for his age? He is semi-obese, but yet his mind seems as sharp as a 40 year old.

Posted by: Phillip at March 26, 2014 8:41 PM

1:
You misrepresent how a serious person or a seriously ill person will use supplements. The article makes it very - very clear that it speaks without much personal experience.

2:
I take only the supplements I find that I need and that haven prove to me to work for me. I do pay attention to sanctioned scientific studies, but I don't care what "they" report because I have my own records that "they" are fabricated and / or "they" allow the general public to learn the these results ONLY from the hand picked studies and or scientists that they choose or can pay off.

3:
Then one day something happened to me over time and my doctor told me I'll die in 5 years if I didn't start taking this and that and that type of drugs. I told him "NO!"

Long story short.... I told him I could fix my health with proper diet, exercise and a few select supplements. He got quite mad as if I had insulted his authority and intelligence. He stated sternly that "their is absolutely no scientific evidence that any of that stuff works!"

I dared him to challenge me! And so he challenged me to another blood test in 6 months. No, I waited 18 months (remember, "I" own my life not him so "I" set the rules of my dying or not dying). Anyway...

He's had GREAT respect for me ever since and he was glad to stand corrected.

BTW, that was in 2007. 18 months later my blood work went back to perfect and yes...I DID say to him, "I told you so!"...and he grinned and was happy about it. I was told by no less than 3 doctors that I was going to die by approx 2012 if I didn't do "xyz-123"(this doctor is the only one who verbally challenged me).

So to be honest, what ever the science the main stream med system believes they have is just hot bubble gum stuck on the bottom my shoe to me... it's just an irritant ..."OMG! REALLY!?! Dangit! Now I gotta wipe this crap off....!!"

I seek the truth to live. I can't afford "Strategies" to win an argument at the expense of truth. I would challenge you sir (or mamm), but I've done that a couple times already and I find no glory in embarrassing 12 year educated doctors.

In Closing:
I wouldn't take every med I could afford to buy, nor do I take every supplement I can afford to buy, only the ones that serve a purpose at the time it's needed and ONLY the ones that have already proven to work "IN MY BODY".

And, this is America. Those who take away our rights to food and supplements by my own freedom of choice will also surely someday take away a choice that is equally important to you. Just wait for it, it's coming!

Believe it or not, I care about all people! That's why it hurts so much sometimes. And I truly hope you live long and health and happy! And I mean that!

Posted by: Gary at May 31, 2014 4:45 AM
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