The Blatant, Accepted Fraud of the "Anti-Aging" Marketplace Will Eventually Evaporate

The existence of actual, working rejuvenation therapies will eventually chase out the fraud and lies from the "anti-aging" marketplace, and what will be left is just plain old medicine - but much better, more advanced medicine than we have today. This will take years, however, and the established hucksters will continue to have a fine old time on their way out. They will continue to cherry-pick studies, cloak the junk that doesn't work in a thin veneer of science, mimicking the voices and marketing of legitimate ventures. The basic lie that is loudly propagated by the "anti-aging" business, that their products can make a difference, has been spoken for so long that is accepted as a part of the tapestry of society. Few people can bring themselves to be irate about it these days. It is another part of the ridiculous nonsense that we are subjected to on a daily basis.

This does mean, however, that anyone entering the realm of longevity science, whether wanting to improve their health or make a difference in the pace of progress, is faced with a much tougher uphill battle than should be the case. How to distinguish the lies of the "anti-aging" marketplace from the real science given no background in the field? How to pick out research projects and classes of therapy with a high expectation value from those that are good science that cannot possibly greatly influence the aging process? For every advocate who tries to help by presenting a realistic view of the field, there are twenty paid shills out there trying to persuade the world that blueberries hold back aging, or that apple stem cells are medically useful - or whatever the product they are selling today might be, regardless of the facts.

Now that we are starting to see the arrival of actual therapies aimed at targeting the processes of aging directly in order to prevent age-related diseases, it has become easier to separate two very distinct groups.

The first group consists of the snake oil salesmen peddling unproven supplements and therapies to whoever is foolish enough to buy and take things on faith without using the scientific method. The hucksters have long been a plague on our field, preying on the gullible and tainting legitimate science with their charlatanry and nonsense. One example is the "biotech company" that makes bold claims yet never delivers on those claims in practice, offering data based on poorly designed experiments and tiny cohorts that are statistically irrelevant; another example is the supplement peddler selling expensive supplement blends with flashy names, which, on inspection, turn out to be commonly available herbs and minerals mixed and sold at a high markup. These sorts of people have plagued our community and given the field a reputation of snake oil.

The second group are the credible scientists, researchers, and companies who have been working on therapies for years and sometimes more than a decade. Many of these therapies are following the damage repair approach advocated by Dr. Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation over a decade ago. The basic idea is to take an engineering approach to the damage that aging does to the body and to periodically repair that damage in order to keep its level below that which causes pathology. These therapies are now starting to arrive, with some already in human trials right now, and this marks a milestone in our field: the credible science has finally outstripped the snake oil, and the focus can move from pseudoscience to real, evidence-based science.

While it will be some years yet before all therapies to end age-related diseases are here and available, and the hucksters are still peddling their wares, you can arm yourself with knowledge and protect yourself and our community from these people. Learn to evaluate science rather than taking things at face value, and avoid expensive scams and bad science.

Was the claim first announced through mass media or through scientific channels? Are the claimants transparent about their testing, and is there sufficient published data for reproduction? A properly developed technology will take years of development to reach release; is there a clear paper trail of studies and clinical trials supporting it? How good is the quality of data supporting the claim, and is it of statistical significance? Are the claimants reputable, and are they published in credible journals? The snake oil sellers will be with us for a few years yet, but by working together as a community and thinking critically about claims, we can help filter these people out and ultimately clean up the field for the benefit of legitimate scientists working on the real solutions to aging that will benefit us all.

Link: https://www.leafscience.org/snake-oil/

Comments

By all means, bring on the treatments against aging. As it is, I fear nothing will emerge anytime soon that isn't very marginal.

Posted by: Chris Zell at August 23rd, 2018 8:31 AM

And your assessment is based on what exactly? Senolytics and a number of other potentially interesting therapies are already in human trials now. It also depends on what you consider marginal?

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 23rd, 2018 9:19 AM

Everyone seems to have their own definitions of 'marginal', 'soon', and 'anti-aging' - though I doubt anyone expects their 'anti-aging' skin care products to reverse or delay aging throughout their body (though in the case of tretinoin, there is potential for adverse systemic effects, unfortunately). However if a substance makes the skin look and function more like younger skin, then I would class it as 'anti-aging' for skin. It would be interesting to know the mechanisms behind the more effective products (and some are quite effective as far as my definition goes), but the manufacturers aren't going to spend money on rigorous scientific investigations when it's cheaper to just make up marketing copy. The only way to distinguish effective from ineffective products much of the time is to rely on self-testing.

Someone posted a comment awhile ago praising the youthful appearance of Liz Parrish, attributing it to her gene therapy treatments; she does look lovely - maybe it's gene therapy, maybe it's Korean snail slime*... (her MRIs were good, but no updates on those unless I missed them)

* I can't personally attest to the efficacy of snail slime products; that's meant to be a joke. I feel too bad for the poor snails to try it. Overall, though, Korean skin care kicks a--.

Posted by: CD at August 23rd, 2018 11:09 AM

I want to thank you for bringing my attention to MitoQ. That was a nice supplement, the only one to ever deliver.

Posted by: arren brandt at August 23rd, 2018 11:33 AM

@CD

"though in the case of tretinoin, there is potential for adverse systemic effects, unfortunately"

Can you elaborate on this?

Posted by: Chris at August 23rd, 2018 11:55 AM

@CD
The corean stuff really works. Missis is using a lot of corean products and they do work. So I would assume, they are not very safe and have quite powerful active ingredients.

Now I would like to asks the community what is the personal experience with quercetin and datasitib.

Posted by: Cuberat at August 23rd, 2018 12:01 PM

Senolytics ......and what else exactly - that isn't going to take a decade to market? I'd at least like to read something anecdotal on senolytics that looks impressive. I'm afraid Big Pharma wants marginal progress for shareholders -like 250K cancer treatments that give you a few months of life (the TV ads in which they fade out after "who wouldn't want......")
Goldman Sachs said finding cures isn't a good economic model.

Gimme some hardcore disruptive tech here.

Posted by: Chris Zell at August 23rd, 2018 8:00 PM

Given it will likely take at least 10-20 years for therapies to arrive it is important to remain grounded and realistic about expectations. If you are looking for a solution in the next few months forget it. Senolytics is the nearest tech along with NAD+ repletion which are both in human trials. There are other things at various stages but this is a long game.

It is very likely the final solution to aging will come in gradual steps, this is the general consensus among the researchers we speak with. We are unlikely to have a single "wow" moment but rather lots of smaller victories that build up over time. If you are expecting a firework show you can forget it, this will be a quiet revolution.

Regardless, snake oil will solve nothing and you might as well throw your money down the toilet than give it to crooks.

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 24th, 2018 6:46 AM

@Chris
A trial of tretinoin (aka all-trans retinoic acid [ATRA]), on older men for the prevention of skin cancer had to be halted since the researchers noted an increase in all-cause mortality (1). Some researchers have suggested that tretinoin metabolites increase the rate of lung cancer (2). OTOH, a recent review of the literature concluded that there is no evidence for concern (3). There are apparently sex differences in the etiology of lung cancer and high-dose vitamin B6 increases lung cancer risk for men but not women (4), so I wonder if that might be the reason an association was found in the Veteran's study (1).
1- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19153339
2- https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/419802
3- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550137
4- http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2017.72.7735

Many of the other mainstays of 'anti-aging' skin care or whatever you want to call it are probably quite safe - topical niacinamide, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, AHA/BHAs, ceramides. I can't say one way or another about the safety of matrixyl (palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl-tetrapeptide-7). As far as cost goes they can all be found pretty cheap, but some formulations are nicer than others or have better marketing and so cost more. DIY vitamin C and niacinamide serums can be made for literally pennies an ounce.

As for the safety of the Korean stuff - it's probably a mixed bag. There was a news report on Asian skin lightening products often containing arsenic.

Posted by: CD at August 24th, 2018 11:47 AM

@CD, "There was a news report on Asian skin lightening products often containing arsenic",

Some wines contain arsenic too including one type of Trader Joes "Charles Shaw" brand.

Posted by: Robert at August 24th, 2018 5:56 PM

This report is largely gibberish.
1. Let's face it, government doesn't want people living longer and neither do life insurance companies. Had better die on time. Social Security and Medicare trust funds are empty (only hold Federal Reserve Notes -- aka IOUs) backed by $20 trillion of US debt. GW Bush appointed a medical ethicist who encouraged people to do God's will and not interfere with God's timing.
2. The entire anti-aging industry cannot produce conclusive evidence. A long-term (decades long) controlled placebo vs. active anti-aging agent study is beyond practicality and affordability. Anti-aging labs have to rely on measuring markers of aging. This is why short-lived animals are used for study.
3. Longevity seekers are left to employ the best available evidence. The two models of aging that appear to be in play are (a) cell senescence and (b) calorie restriction. Would longevity seekers be out of their minds to take a properly dosed calorie-restriction mimic resveratrol pill too produce a hormesis effect? Metformin, posed as an anti-aging pill is affordable but has side effects (vitamin B12 depletion) and only added 8.8% to the life of animals in one study.
4. The anti-aging labs stocked with millions of research dollars by oligarchs appear to be attempting to develop anti-aging technologies that would simply not be affordable to the masses.
5. The hucksters referred to in this report presumably exist. FDA, FTC and now the Attorney General have largely rooted them out. But even if a nutraceutical company does have evidence of anti-aging effects, their online merchant account is subject to arbitrary cancellation for making anti-aging claims. It is now a criminal offense to make an anti-aging claim.
What would you say if a resveratrol pill underwent a short-term animal study that compared calorie restriction (CR), plain resveratrol and a resveratrol-based nutraceutical mix. In a gene array study CR significantly differentiated 198 genes; resveratrol 225 genes; the nutraceutical complex 1711 genes. If lab animals are placed on life-long CR ~831 gene are significantly differentiated. The nutraceutical mix influence 677 of these 831 genes (81.5)% in the same direction (on or off) as CR --- the closest thing to a CR-mimic produced to date. (Experimental Gerontology 2008) That study has been ignored. The nutraceutical mix affected 677 anti-aging genes in 12 weeks whereas it took life-long (2-years) to differentiate 831 genes with CR. I'll leave it up to readers to assess this.

Posted by: Bill Sardi at August 26th, 2018 9:13 AM

Sure some of it's bound to be "snake oil"...but if on average you have 10-15 yrs left...why would you not want to try various at least partially researched ideas (diet/exercise/supplements/stress reduction) to slow aging?

I think it is a factor of what you do vs passage of time...or prevention...easier to avoid an issue than to fix it?

You could do a lot of hugging and praying like my siblings do...travel and so forth...living in the past...or you could apply limited resources to try and improve your health and maybe slow aging.

For instance as far as eye health I take an eye supplement with high levels of various ingredients shown to improve eye health...plus some extra Setria glutathione...plus some carnosine eye drops to slow or maybe reverse cataract formation. I've taken to wearing reading/computer glasses most of the time (except for driving) in a effort to reduce the possible tendency for strong lenses to worsen eye health.

Apply this idea to various areas or issues related to aging and you've created your own anti-aging protocol. I think the "answers" are out there...you just need to apply them... Waiting for some miracle research to find the BIG ANSWER that you won't be able to afford might not be the answer?

A recent book I've read...the Kaufmann Protocol gives a hint.

Now if I could just get myself to exercise more...maybe someone with a whip...LOL...

Posted by: fred at August 29th, 2018 7:08 AM

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