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Rapamycin: A True Anti-Aging Drug

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Rapamycin, also known as Sirolimus, is a prescription drug derived from a bacterial species found on Easter Island decades ago. Though it’s a drug, it has a 30 year history and a very high safety record. There are over 50,000 PubMed journal articles about rapamycin since 1975. Moreover, from 1975 to 2008, there were fewer than 10 papers per year published about rapamycin and aging. From 2009 to 2016, there have been about 180 papers per year on this topic.

Originally, Rapamycin was developed for use in organ transplant patients to help prevent organ rejection.  This requires high daily doses to suppress the immune system. It is also recognized to have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used in both oncology and cardiology.  Oncologists have found Rapamycin to slow solid tumor growth and so it’s used to help treat certain cancers. Cardiologists use arterial stents that release Rapamycin to help keep arteries from closing back up.

This is the kind of prescription drug profile that interests functional medicine professionals. Rapamycin has been in use for decades, and has a very good safety profile.  Not only is it helpful with transplants, cancer treatment, and cardiovascular outcomes, but at low intermittent doses, it’s also proving to be an effective anti-aging drug. Here’s how it works.

The human body has an enzyme that is in our cells known as mTOR. It is a major player with regard to our cellular activity and our aging process.  The mTOR enzyme drives cellular processes involved with protein synthesis, cellular growth, and metabolism. When we eat, we stimulate the mTOR pathway to growth and build. This is great for a growing 5 year old, but not for fully grown adults who constantly eat and stimulate the mTOR pathway. An active mTOR pathway drives the aging process, and when always active, it also increases the inflammatory pathways that result in diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.

Alternatively, when the mTOR is inhibited, the process of autophagy occurs. The human body needs both mTOR and autophagy processes and, when one is stimulated, the other is inhibited.  Autophagy is an important cleansing process needed in the body where we recycle cellular components and clean out debris that is clogging things up. In the standard American diet and culture, we tend to eat too much and/or too frequently, thus driving a chronic, overactive mTOR pathway. This, in turn, drives growth and cellular activity toward aging.  The good news is, Rapamycin binds to the mTOR enzyme, inhibiting its activity, and thus induces autophagy. Autophagy needs to occur for youth, detoxification, disease prevention, and healing.

Autophagy is stimulated by fasting. Rapamycin mimics fasting. Some key benefits include:

  • Enhance and modulate immune function
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Clean up debris and remove it from cells, improving their functions
  • Enhance cellular repair and healing
  • Increase longevity and lifespan.
  • Protect against tumor growth

Patients who have used Rapamycin for anti-aging report increased energy levels, a more positive outlook, and reduced need for pain medication.

Talk to one of our healthcare providers to see if Rapamycin is right for you.

Resources:

https://www.hotzehwc.com/blog/dr-donald-ellsworth-on-the-benefits-of-rapamycin-aka-sirolimus/

Rapamycin: The Most Promising Life Extension Drug by Ross Pelton, The Natural Pharmacist

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