It’s been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now ibuprofen, a common pain reliever that most people have in their medicine cabinet, may do that and more by possibly extending your life by 12 healthy years, according to a new study. In a string of experiments, when ibuprofen was given throughout life in amounts comparable to a recommended human dose, it extended the lives of multiple species by around 15 percent, the equivalent of 12 human years, as reported by News Max Health.
“We first used baker’s yeast, which is an established aging model, and noticed that the yeast treated with ibuprofen lived longer,” said Dr. Michael Polymenis, an AgriLife Research biochemist at Texas A&M University’s College Station. “Then we tried the same process with worms and flies and saw the same extended lifespan. Plus, these organisms not only lived longer, but also appeared healthy.”
While scientists aren’t sure how ibuprofen extends life, they know that it interferes with the ability of cells to take up tryptophan, an amino acid found in all cells of the body. The body gets tryptophan through food. Common sources are eggs, turkey and chocolate.
“We are not sure why this works, but it’s worth exploring further,” said Polymenis. “This study was a proof of principle to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms. Therefore, it should be possible to find others like ibuprofen with even better ability to extend lifespan, with the aim of adding healthy years of life in people.”
Chong He, a postdoctoral fellow at the Buck Institute for Age Research, also participated in the experiments and was the study’s lead author.
“Our institute is interested in finding out why people get sick when they get old. We think that by understanding those processes, we can intervene and find ways to extend human health span, keeping people healthier longer and slowing down aging. That’s our ultimate goal.”
He added, “Ibuprofen is something that people have been taking for years, and no one actually knew that it can have some benefits for longevity and health span.”
The popular drug, often sold under several brand names, including Advil, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that relieves pain, lowers fever, and reduces inflammation.
On a side note, and as reported by the Daily Mail, an analysis of nine studies on ibuprofen, aspirin, and similar painkillers found them to cut the odds of the second most common type of skin cancer by almost a fifth. Ibuprofen was more effective than aspirin at protecting against squamous cell carcinoma. It is thought it mops up a chemical that is made by skin in intense sunlight and can feed cancer. The research, from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia, is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Also read in a related article from the Inquisitr about how ibuprofen is effective in treating altitude sickness.