What do vampires and Jesus Christ have in common? They both believe that drinking blood holds the key to immortality, although Christ was speaking metaphorically. Blood mythology dates back thousands, if not millions of years. Adherents to Christianity believe you must symbolically drink the blood of Jesus Christ in order to gain eternal life. The belief in vampire mythology is that the blood of a supernatural creature will spare you from immediate, human death.
We are surrounded by stories that the secrets of anti-aging, longevity, and immortality are in the blood. Vampirism and Christianity aren’t the only belief systems or religions that focus on blood as the path to immortality. Take a look at any ancient religion, and you will find the belief system is based on blood. Blood sacrifices are a common theme, and most ancients believed blood held sacred power. Blood mythology is giving way to science in the search for the fountain of youth. Controversial, yet exciting, is the theory that infusing healthy blood cells from the young can reverse and possibly cure age-related disease. It’s called Parabiosis.
When understanding Parabiosis, think of conjoined twins. You have two individual people or organisms that were designed to have single systems, yet those systems are combined. The two systems were shared, then became one. To summarize, Parabiosis combines or joins together two different organisms to create one new being with a shared system. It’s the methodology behind many science fiction movies (The Fly) but will it be the science breakthrough of the future?
In religion, you see a type of Parabiosis when the blood of a vampire or god is infused with the recipient’s blood. In religion, the outcome is always the same. The new system provides many benefits when compared with the old. The advantages of receiving the blood of a deity or vampire improve life. Some of the benefits include longevity, anti-aging, super strength, and immortality. Science is testing whether Parabiosis through blood transfusions, plasma, and stem cell treatment may hold similar benefits. Can young blood reverse aging? Can Alzheimer’s be cured with stem cells? Can humans live forever if they are continually infused with young blood?
Parabiosis is getting new media coverage after billionaire and PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, spoke to Inc. Thiel expressed excitement over clinical trials and discussed new life extension techniques. Thiel stated he was investigating Parabiosis and the blood of the young in his search for anti-aging treatments, longevity, and immortality.
Though some in the media have run stories portraying Thiel as a modern day Dracula, Thiel stated he’s investigating Parabiosis and hasn’t started any treatments or trials.
“I’m not convinced yet we’ve found a single panacea that works. It’s possible there exist single-point things that could work. I’m looking into Parabiosis stuff, which I think is really interesting. This is where they did the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect. And so that’s… that is one that… again, it’s one of these very odd things where people had done these studies in the 1950s and then it got dropped altogether. I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely underexplored.”
Parabiosis Resources, Clinical Trials and Studies
- Heterachronic Parabiosis: The Fountain of Youth Runs Red Penn State University
- Aging Research: Blood to Blood Nature.com
- Heterochronic parabiosis model in aging and stem cell research (Stem Cell Assays)
- Young blood reverses age-related impairments in cognitive function and synaptic plasticity in mice (Nature.com)
- Infusion of young blood recharges brains of old mice, study finds (Stanford)
- Young Donor Plasma Transfusion and Age-Related Biomarkers (Clinical trial, Ambrosia Global Jesse Karmazin, MD)
Parabiosis is controversial. The science and practice of infusing young blood into the old pose many problems. First, where will the blood come from? Even in mythology, vampires were faced with a moral dilemma when consuming the blood of others. Likewise, the idea of the rich sustaining their life with young blood creates an ugly picture. Will children be exploited to keep the elderly alive and healthy? Will blood be harvested from embryos to sustain life quality in the old? Maybe science will present solutions such as harvesting one’s own stem cells from birth and freezing them, and when age takes its course, a person can use their own blood for its anti-aging benefits. The science is new. The mythology is not. We are beginning to see examples of Parabiosis and blood rejuvenation in many forms.
Celebrity reality star Kim Kardashian underwent a blood facial treatment. The video went viral and sparked interest in the bloody procedure.
The blood facial uses blood from the patient but how effective is that treatment on an elderly woman? Would blood facials be more effective with young blood?
What do you think about Parabiosis? Does science back religion and mythology? Is the secret to eternal life really in our blood?
[Image via Olga Nikonova/Shutterstock]