CBS News Channel 2 in Los Angeles recently did a video report on TA-65 featuring an interview with 67 year old Larry Simpson who has been using the product for about 18 months. He reports that he’s benefited from improved muscle and joint comfort, more hair, better vision, better skin, and “a brighter outlook on life”. His doctor, Edward Park, reports that testing shows both his reading and far vision have improved. Additionally, his lung capacity went up about a liter, an improvement that Park compares to a 20 year rollback in age.
CBS News reports on “The Fountain of Youth in a Tiny Capsule?”
TA-65 Still Lacks Large Trials Demonstrating Effect and Risks
Herbal medicine expert Dr. Roberta Lee points to TA-65 lacks any large trials to prove its effectiveness and risk. While that’s true, the supplement is not without any scientific backing. There have been some small studies done on humans and also research via experiments with tissue cultures.
The company that discovered TA-65, Geron Corporation, isolated it from the Chinese herb astragalus while screening massive numbers of chemical compounds to find those that could help in cancer research and treatment. They found that TA-65 causes human telomeres, the special DNA sequences at the ends of nuclear DNA strands of chromosomes, to lengthen over time. They believe it causes this by activating telomerase, the enzyme responsible for telomere repair. In most cells, there is little telomerase activity. This means that every time a cell replicates, its telomeres get a little shorter. Eventually, they get so short that the cell starts to replicate with damaged DNA or becomes senescent, meaning that it can no longer divide into two.
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Cell senescence is believed to be a major factor in aging of humans, but not the only factor. Some of the other major factors in aging include chronic inflammation, oxidative damage to cells and biochemicals in the body, and mitochondrial aging that features both a decline in the number of energy-producing mitochondria and damage to the ones that remain. TA-65 only directly addresses one of these factors, the shortening telomeres. But in theory, it may allow the body to help repair the damage caused by at least some other aging mechanisms by enabling cells to replicate in a healthy fashion to replace damaged cells for longer periods of time.
Immune System Degradation Related to Shortening Telomeres
Interestingly, some of the first cells in the typical aging human to become senescent are those in the immune system. Immunosenescence is believed to be a major factor in the decline of the immune system in aging people. It turns out that in studies funded by Geron Corporation and other organizations researching TA-65, they identified shortened immune system telomeres are very common in people with chronic viral infections including cytomegalovirus (CMV), a herpes family virus that chronically infects most people as they age.
Geron has also been researching TA-65 for a treatment for HIV/AIDS patients. Their chronic viral infections destroy so many immune cells that the remaining ones struggle to replicate fast enough to maintain some defense and become immunosenescent much more quickly as a result. It’s suspected that many other chronic viral infections may cause similar damage to the immune system over time, so the effects of TA-65 could help keep many people healthy for more years by enabling their immune systems to replenish and restore themselves.
Most Cancer Cells Use Telomerase to Replicate Indefinitely
Around 90% of cancer cells benefit from increased telomerase activity that effectively lets them replicate forever, so long as they have oxygen and nutrition available. Telomerase is not believed to directly cause cancer, however. Some cancer cells replicate even if telomerase is completely inhibited, so it is clear that telomerase is not entirely necessary for all cancer cells to survive and multiply.
There is a theoretical concern that telomerase could encourage the development of cancer by allowing damaged cells to replicate for longer periods of time. Indeed one of the areas of research Geron and others are purusing is using telomerase inhibitors, substance that keep telomeres from being repaired and lengthened, for use as a possible cancer treatment. However, research shows that one of the mechanisms that starts cancers is DNA damage in cells originating from ancestor cells that suffered short telomere length.
Consequently, there is theoretical basis that TA-65 might actually help prevent cancer by keeping telomeres long enough to replicate with damaging DNA as often or as severely. For similar reasons, there is also theoretical basis that telomerase inhibitors could trigger cancer. More research is certainly needed in this area to fully understand the risks and benefits of both telomerase activators (like TA-65) and telomerase inhibitors.
TA-65 One of Few Telomere Lengthening Products with Research Backing
While there is more to aging than telomere length, so far there are few products on the market that have any research backing at all for helping to maintain and increase telomere length. TA-65 is one of those few products. As such, its vendor TA Sciences is in a position to have a relatively unique product with great potential on its hands. We’d like to see them do larger trials involving thousands of people of varying ages and health situations to more conclusively substantiate the benefits and risks. At present, they appear to be obtaining much of their research data showing how TA-65 works in people from their customers themselves. Thus it is a challenge to obtain data from usage in thousands of people because at present the supplement is rather expensive compared to most and therefore the customer base is limited.
If it turns out that TA-65 is as helpful as it appears it may be, in order to help as many people as possible there must be an effort to reduce the cost. Developing ways to manufacture TA-65 or similar telomerase activators without having to extract them from huge quantities of astraglus herbs is essential to cost reduction. At present, TA-65 costs $200 per month or more, depending upon the dosage you select. While some could easily afford this by lifestyle changes such as cancelling their cable TV and premium channels or eating out at less expensive restaurants, for many this is simply unaffordable as it could be far more costly than all their other healthcare combined. This is particularly the case for younger people, but also for many older people nearing or in retirement who may be among those who could most benefit from the supplement.
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