Telomerase activators – what do they really do?

Astragalus-based dietary supplements that are known to activate the expression of telomerase have been on the market for several years now.  However, there appears to be a significant difference between what these supplements are widely publicized to do and what published scientific research says they actually do.  Specifically, the promotion and press coverage often implies that such supplements will extend the lengths of telomeres in people who take them and thus confer longevity benefits.  However, there appears to be virtually no clinical research evidence to support such claims.  On the other hand, research does suggest that at least one of the supplements can provide several important health benefits.  In this blog post I seek to penetrate through the thick layers of commercial and PR fog about such supplements and get down to what is actually known about their actions. 

History 

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Geron, a small biotech company, was a leader in research relating to telomeres and telomerase.  Few scientists and no other significant biotech or pharmaceutical company paid much attention to telomeres or telomerase back then.  Based on its research, Geron applied for 279 patents related to telomeres or telomerase.  One of the major areas of research concern to Geron then was telomere activation as an approach to disease prevention and longevity.  The company discovered that certain extracts of the astragalus plant had a capability to activate the expression of telomerase in certain cell types, at least under test-tube conditions.   

From the Geron web site: “Geron, in collaboration with the Biotechnology Research Institute (BRC), a company established by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), began screening for telomerase activators in early 2000. The source of material for the screen was natural product extracts from traditional Chinese medicines. In the course of the screening, several extracts were discovered that reproducibly up-regulated the low, basal level of telomerase in human skin cells. With analysis of the extract and further testing, one compound in the extracts was identified as a key telomerase activator. It was capable of activating telomerase in other human cells types (e.g., lymphocyte immune cells) at very low concentrations. Another compound, a derivative of the first, was also present in the extract but at lower concentrations and was also found to possess similar telomerase activating properties. These molecules are currently under development for the treatment of degenerative diseases. Other small molecule activators discovered during the course of the research may also be developed for certain disease indications.”

The research resulted in Geron applying for a patent on telomerase activators which was finally issued just a few months ago.  Filed 06/23/2004, the patent is called Compositions and Methods for Increasing Telomerase Activity.  Since publication 05/15/2008, the patent application can be read by anyone and the descriptions found there still provide much  of the scientific rationale for people taking astragalus-based telomerase-activator supplements.  The patent application introduction states “The present invention relates to methods and compositions for increasing telomerase activity in cells. Such compositions include pharmaceutical, including topical, and nutraceutical formulations. The methods and compositions are useful for treating diseases subject to treatment by an increase in telomerase activity in cells or tissue of a patient, such as, for example, HIV infection, various degenerative diseases, and acute or chronic skin aliments. They are also useful for enhancing replicative capacity of cells in culture, as in ex vivo cell therapy and proliferation of stem cells.” 

Geron subsequently shifted its focus to other areas of research including embryonic stem cell therapies and developing drugs that turn telomerase off in cancer cells.  As far as I can tell, Geron is currently pursuing telomere activation mainly via a subsidiary and marketing licensing agreements.  Geron is the majority owner of TA Therapeutics, a Hong Kong subsidiary which is focusing on telomerase activation for organ renewal and prolonging the lives of AIDS patients.  A US company, TA Sciences, has licensed one telomerase-activator extract from Geron called TA-65 in 2002, a nutraceutical it has been marketing it to the public for over three years now. 

Of the Geron-researched telomerase-activating products, two in particular have received the most attention: TA-65 being marketed to the public by TA Sciences and TAT2 under investigation as part of drug development by TA Therapeutics.  Both formulations are carefully guarded proprietary secrets of the companies involved.  I suspect the two substances are either highly related or identical.  There has been much speculation as to what TA-65 consists of, particularly in online longevity-related forums(ref)(ref).  Based on reading the Geron patent, it appears that a number of astragalus membranaceus extracts exhibit varying degrees of capability to promote the expression of telomerase(ref).  One extract mentioned in the patent is astragaloside IV, and another extract with roughly ten times the activation potency is cycloastragenol, and there are others as well.  Based on careful reading of the patent and the dosage originally suggested by TA sciences the best informed guess is that TA-65 and TAT2 are cycloastragenol, but this is only a guess.   

TA Sciences is an active marketing company and any search on Google related to telomerase will often produce prominent advertising related to TA-65 and its health and longevity benefits.  TA-65 does not come cheap.  When the company first started marketing it, it was available only as part of a “Patton Protocol” package with cost of $25,000 for the first year.  (Noel Patton is the founder of TA Sciences.)  Now, the Patton Protocol is offered in either an a-la-cart mode or as a full package.  The cost of six months of the protocol including the TA-65, some other supplements, a visit to a doctor and a number of diagnostic tests is $6,725.  Cost of a six-month supply of TA-65 alone is $4,000.  It is interesting that when it was originally marketed the daily dosage of TA-65 was 5 mg and the daily dosage has been increased now to 100mg, by a factor of 20.  This has led to speculation that the substance may not be pure cycloastragenol which is very expensive to produce. 

Besides TA-65 available from TA sciences, based on the information in the Geron patent other companies have started to market both astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol as telomerase activator supplements(ref)(rev).  These supplements are being sold considerably cheaper than TA-65 with cost of a 30-day supply typically running up to $80.  One such company, Revgenetics, decided to discontinue its cycloastragenol product line when the Geron patent was finally issued and sell of its existing stock at discount, charging $25 for a bottle which contains 30 5mg pills. 

The concept of telomerase activation 

A responsible formulation of the telomerase activation hypothesis is that through systemic intermittent activation of telomerase, specifically in stem and progenitor cells, it may be possible to delay shortening of telomeres and therefore delay the onset of multiple disease and degenerative processes associated with cell senescence.  A very informative 2007 PowerPoint Presentation by Joseph M. Raffaele MD (an affiliate of TA Sciences) states the scientific rationale for telomerase activation and lays out results of a small clinical trial of TA-65.  There is general consensus that too-short telomeres lead to cell senescence leading to the diseases and symptoms of aging.  However, it must be pointed out that many factors affect telomere length, that many complex factors both known and yet-unknown promote or delay the onset of cell senescence, and that telomerase activation does more than affect the lengths of telomeres.  For example, the protein TAp63 strongly affects senescence of stem cells(ref).  I return to this important point later. 

Research on telomerase activators 

So, what research exists on the effects of telomerase activators beyond that which went into the patent?  I will review research here that involves any of the four activator substances mentioned (TA-65, TAT2, Astragaloside IV, Cycloastragenol) recognizing that what is true for one activator may not be valid for another.  With one exception, I will confine myself to publications in established journals or reputable online research publishers and will avoid ungrounded assertions in press releases or opinions stated in blogs.  

·        A small human trial was conducted in 2005 of TA-41, a precursor of TA-65, I believe sponsored by TA Sciences.  This trial is described in a page on the TA Sciences web site and in the aforementioned PowerPoint Presentation.  The trial was a 24-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 36 male subjects between 60 and 85 years of age, a relatively short trial with scale far smaller than typical Phase III FDA-approved trials.  TA-65 is the presumed major metabolite of TA-41. “ — subjects consumed 2 or 4 tablets daily of a placebo control substance (placebo groups) for 12 weeks or 2 or 4 tablets daily of a TA-65 precursor molecule (TA-41) for 12 weeks (product groups). The product tablets each contained 10 mg of TA-41 (an Astragalus extract) along with other botanical extracts and excipients. — The 12 week placebo or product use period was followed by a further 12 week follow-up period.”  My impression is that the experimental design of the study and the treatment of statistical measures were handled quite responsibly.  Nonetheless, because of the small sample size, statistical significance of the results is relatively crude.  The study treated .2 as the p-value for statistical significance though in larger studies .05 or even .01 are typical values.  The major benefits observed among those taking the products were “1.  Apparent improvement in certain immune system measures, 2. Apparent improvement in eye sight, 3.  Apparent improvement in certain sexual function measures, and 4. Apparent improvement in certain skin properties(ref).”  No significant adverse events were identified.  Detailed discussion and diagrams of results can be found on the TA Sciences web page for the study and in the PowerPoint presentation.  To my knowledge the results of this 2005 study have never been published in an established scientific journal.  Nonetheless the study seems to have been well done and I tend to take it seriously.  

·        Dr. Raffaele reports in his 2007 PowerPoint Presentation that “preliminary results of 16 patients o TA-65 for 3 months show an increase of mean lymphocyte telomere length.”  I have seen no further or subsequent details.

·        To my knowledge, there have been no further studies relating actual user experience of those taking TA-65 though by this time there should be considerable experience to report.  Those taking TA-65 as part of the Patton Protocol have had extensive measurements of aging-related biomarkers and their telomere lengths.  I would love to see the data derived from this user cohort laid out.

·        The 2008 study report Telomerase-based pharmacologic enhancement of antiviral function of human CD8+ T lymphocytes looked at exposing lymphocyte cells from HIV-infected donors to TAT2. “ — , during aging and chronic HIV-1 infection, there are high proportions of dysfunctional CD8(+) CTL with short telomeres, suggesting that telomerase is limiting. The present study shows that exposure of CD8(+) T lymphocytes from HIV-infected human donors to a small molecule telomerase activator (TAT2) modestly retards telomere shortening, increases proliferative potential, and, importantly, enhances cytokine/chemokine production and antiviral activity.  The enhanced antiviral effects were abrogated in the presence of a potent and specific telomerase inhibitor, suggesting that TAT2 acts primarily through telomerase activation.”  The study suggests a possible health benefit for HIV-infected individuals, individuals who experience an extraordinary high rate of telomere shortening in immune cells due to the disease.  This benefit would have to be verified in clinical tests.  This study says nothing about telomere lengthening.  This study was co-authored by Rita Effros, a leading researcher in the role of telomeres in HIV infections.  This study, by the way, referred to the experimental substance both as TAT2 and as cycloastragenol.

·        A 2005 study Telomerase Therapeutics for Degenerative Diseases describes possible benefits of telomerase activation but provides no experimental results.  There are numerous studies pointing to telomere shortening as an important process contributing to the advance of HIV and studies like this 2010 one looking at telomerase activity and replicative senescence in human CD8 T lymphocytes, but none of those studies are directly concerned with telomerase activation. 

·        The 2009 publication Cycloastragenol extends T cell proliferation by increasing telomerase activity covers another in-vitro study reporting “Naturally, there is a great deal of interest in finding inducers of telomerase that may help delay the onset of cellular aging. There are various nutraceuticals that claim to both increase the health of individuals and delay the onset of cellular aging. We tested the nutraceuticals resveratrol and cycloastragenol for their ability to enhance T cell functions in vitro. In this study we evaluated the effect of these compounds on cellular proliferative capacity, levels of telomerase activity, surface markers and cytokine secretion of human CD4 and CD8 T cells. Our results show that cycloastragenol moderately increase telomerase activity and proliferative capacity of both CD4 and CD8 T cells. These preliminary results suggest that nutraceuticals inhibit the onset of CD4 and CD8 cellular senescence.”  Like in the previously-discussed study the effect was moderate, outside the body, and the study said nothing about extending telomeres. 

Of the telomerase activators mentioned, perhaps the one best covered in the research literature is astragaloside IV.  As I state in my treatise; “Astragaloside IV has been systematically studied for its medicinal properties only recently, mostly in Chinese and European research centers. It is an antiinflammatory, antifibrotic and antioxidant. It is known to have vasodilation and cardioprotective properties. It is neuroprotective and can protect the myocardium against ischemia/reperfusion injury. There are no reported negative side effects. Yet, my impression is that much is yet to be learned about this substance. Specifically, there appears to be little if any research available in the public domain relating astragaloside IV’s medicinal properties to its ability to induce telomerase expression.”  

Research publications related to Astragaloside IV include the 2002 publication Effects of astragaloside IV on myocardial calcium transport and cardiac function in ischemic rats, the 2004 publication Astragaloside IV protects against ischemic brain injury in a murine model of transient focal ischemia, the 2009 publication Effects of Astragaloside IV on heart failure in rats, the 2009 publication Astragaloside IV attenuates cerebral ischemia–reperfusion-induced increase in permeability of the blood-brain barrier in rats, the 2008 report Astragaloside IV inhibits spontaneous synaptic transmission and synchronized Ca2+ oscillations on hippocampal neurons, the 2006 report Effects of astragaloside IV on pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome in vitro, and Effect of astragaloside IV on hepatic glucose-regulating enzymes in diabetic mice induced by a high-fat diet and streptozotocin, and the 2006 publication Astragaloside IV from Astragalus membranaceus Shows Cardioprotection during Myocardial Ischemia in vivo and in vitro.  While these and many other research publications relate to potentially beneficial effects of Astragaloside IV, none relate to or even mentions the substance’s role as a telomerase activator.  Of course, some or all of the reported benefits could ultimately be due to telomerase activation. 

Other than the study cited above, the only discussions of cycloastragenol health activities seem to be in longevity blogs chewing over the same material covered here.  It is a relatively unfamiliar substance.  As for astragaloside IV, cycloastragenol suppliers appear to be in China.  Purchasing either of these supplements from a US company, it is good to be on a lookout for independent laboratory verification of contents and purity.  

Observation 1: When it comes to telomerase activation, the contrast between what is reported as “research” in the general and commercial literature and what is reported in the filtered scientific research literature is singularly stark.  Pubmed.org is the definitive National Library of Medicine database of medical and related scientific research, containing millions of literature abstracts covering virtually every article in every research publications worldwide.  The following lists the number of items retrieved using Google and using Pubmed in response to the given query. 

Query                                      Found in Google     Found in Pubmed

TA-65 + telomerase                     21,100                7 (all irrelevant)

TAT2 + telomerase                          4,510                1 (cited here)         

astragaloside + telomerase          7,200                0

cycloastragenol + telomerase      1,820                1 (cited here) 

Observation 2: Published studies suggests that telomerase activation may have a positive effect on the immune function, though this conjecture based on lab cell-level studies must be confirmed via large-scale human studies.  How much affect using what activator and under what conditions are as yet not established.   There is also research strongly suggesting important potential health benefits from taking astragaloside IV in particular, and possibly also from taking TAT2 (likely to be the same thing).  How telomerase activation relates to the beneficial effects of these substances, however, remains mostly unstudied. 

Observation 3:  The case for specifically taking TA-65 is mainly based on propriety information provided by TA sciences and doctors offering TA-65 as a treatment, and by the original research done by Geron. The most compelling positive information is that derived from the 2005 human trial sponsored by TA Sciences.  While TA-65 has an immense standing in the popular literature I have had trouble finding any mention of it in the published scientific literature.  In fact, if a query about TA-65 is made in PubMed, part of the reply is “The following term was not found in PubMed: TA-65.”   

Observation 4:  I remind readers that there are research studies establishing that there are other interventions that result in longer telomeres besides taking the telomerase activators discussed here.  See the January 2010 blog entry Vitamins, supplements and telomerase – upregulation or downregulation?  And also see my blog entries Exercise, telomerase and telomeres, Timely telomerase tidbits, Breakthrough telomere research finding, and Telomere and telomerase writings. 

Observation 5: In the scientific literature I have found no published research whatsoever that establishes that any of the telomerase activators mentioned actually extends telomeres.  The closest the literature comes are statements like moderately increases telomerase activity, ” “modestly retards telomere shortening,”  and “inhibit the onset of CD4 and CD8 cellular senescence.” And these statements are based on cell-level studies with results that may or may not be applicable in live humans.  It is interesting that the TA Sciences web site does not now make the claim that TA-65 actually extends telomeres.  Unfortunately, however, the claim keeps popping up in news stories and some blog postings about the activator substances. 

Observation 6:  What telomerase activators actually do in humans remains a mystery as far as the published scientific literature is concerned, and what the two proprietary activators consist of still remains a mystery as well. I keep awaiting more trustworthy published information. 

Back to the science of telomeres and telomerase 

For those familiar with the great complexities of telomere biology and pathways affecting telomere length management, it should not be surprising that is not so simple as “take a telomerase activator and get longer telomeres.”  Whether telomeres get longer or shorter or stay the same is determined not only by the presence of telomerase but also by interactions involving many signaling paths and activation cofactors.  “Telomere transcription is regulated by several mechanisms: developmental status, telomere length, cellular stress, tumour stage and chromatin structure(ref).”  Presence of a telomerase activator is only one factor in driving telomere lengths. The literature related to telomerase and telomeres is extremely extensive and I have barely touched on it here.  What is largely missing is literature specifically related to the astragalus-based telomerase activators.  

Further, telomerase has other activities besides telomere length maintenance.  Activating the TERT telomerase component may have other positive effects without making telomeres longer.  These positive effects can include promoting cellular and organismal survival(ref) and increasing the rate of differentiation of quiescent adult stem cells(ref).  So, in principle at least, a telomerase activator could convey health benefits independently of affecting telomere lengths.  We just don’t know the extent to which this happens in humans in response to the astragalus-based supplements.   

Personal experience 

My personal experience with telomerase activators may be untypical.  I started taking a large dose of astragalus extract in July 2007 with the intention of telomerase activation, switched to astragaloside IV 50mg a day in August 2008.  As of mid-December 2009, I switched to taking a 5mg cycloastragenol capsule together with a simple astragalus-extract pill which may possibly increase bioavailability.   On February 14 2010, I upped the daily cycloastragenol dose to 10mg. So I have been on some kind of telomerase activator or the other for close to three years now.  What is the effect?  I don’t know, especially because of all the other anti-aging supplements I have been taking and anti-aging lifestyle patterns I have been observing.  If I use the criteria mentioned in the TA Sciences trial, I can personally comment that now at the age of 80: 

1.      Immune system measures:  I seem to have as good or possibly better resistance to infections or viruses as ever.

2.     Eye sight: Distance vision acuity in both eyes is excellent though I require corrective lenses for reading and close-up vision.  My last eye exam showed no progression of druzen or signs of macular degeneration.

3.      Sexual function measures:   No decline in desire, perhaps even a bothersome increase.  Performance and satisfaction enhanced by sildenafil seems OK.

4.     Certain skin properties:  Quality and texture of skin for my age are excellent.

5.     Hair:  And I add one other thing I have been monitoring, which is hair.  About a year ago I wrote in my treatise “I have noticed a few small effects so far. The light patina of grey hairs on my mostly-bald scalp seems to me to be a bit thicker with a few black hairs as well. I have been nearly bald for over 30 years. It is known that in animal models at least, conditional telomerase induction causes proliferation of hair follicle stem cells (ref). It remains to be seen whether I will see more or darker hair as I continue with telomerase activation. Also there seems to be some increase in my sexual libido but this may be a subjective impression. I also do not know if my daily schedule of alternating taking the telomerase activator with the other supplements with a few hours of separation is effective or whether I would be better off alternating every other day or even every other week.”  Since then there are many more grey hairs but not black ones.  I am no longer absolutely bald.  The grey hairs seem to keep coming back but very slowly.   

I am planning to stay with the cycloastragenol supplements until my supply runs out in 3 months or so.  I am not sure what I am going to do for telomerase activation after then. I keep waiting for the “shoe to drop” with more definitive research results becoming available as I have been waiting for three years now.  I think it is ridiculous that we are still relying on 2005 test data from 36 people who were on an activator for only two weeks when now many people have been on such activators for three years or more and have been subjected to systematic age-biomarker and telomere length testing.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at www.vincegiuliano.com and an extensive site of my art at www.giulianoart.com. Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to vegiuliano@agingsciences.com.
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28 Responses to Telomerase activators – what do they really do?

  1. Jim Green says:

    Dear Vince,
    I see from RevGenetics analysis of registries
    that cycloastragenol is TAT2 and TAT0002.
    Cycloastragenol, the common alglycone of the astragalosides,
    is obtained from more complicated astragalosides
    such as Astragaloside IV by a procedure outlined
    by Geron in their patent Compositions and Methods
    for Increasing Telomerase Activity.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Jim

    Yes, I think it is pretty much for-sure that cycloastragenol is the same as TAT2 and highly likely the same as TA-65. I have a couple of months of supply left (RevGenetics Astral Fruit C) and am on the path outlined above – taking 10mg a day and unsure what I will do when I run out. My thoughts and feelings continue to be those expressed in the above blog entry. Specifically, I do not have so much faith in telomerase activation that I am willing to forgo taking supplements that purportedly inhibit telomerase activation (resveratrol, allicin, quercetin, melatonin, green tea, etc.)on days I take the activator.

    Vince

    Vince

  3. Jim Green says:

    Dear Vince,
    I think is actually possible to squelch telomerase activation induced by a telomerase activator such as astragaloside IV by taking telomerase inhibitors such
    as resveratrol, allicin, quercetin, melatonin, and
    green tea. On the other hand astragalus extracts are
    strongly activating and will penetrate a light shield
    of telomerase inhibitors. High polyphenol foods have been
    shown to produce telomerase inhibitors, too, so I propose
    to take telomerase activators completely seperately from
    telomerase inhibitors and high-polyphenol foods that produce more telomerase inhibitors. I just started on the
    low-polyphenol path during the 1st 15 days of telomerase activation, which follow with 15 days of telomerase inhibition on each cycle. This gives me more confidence that I am really getting longer telomeres and am safeguarding myself against elderly patterns of gene expression and replicative senescence of cells like dermal fibroblasts. Clear separation between activation and inhibition should reliably produce telomere enlongation.
    I also put astragalus extract in glycerin my scalp regularly. Of course, the whole process moves along at
    B = -5 years/year or so, which seems glacially slow.
    I am thinking of trying alpha-glyceryl-phosophocholine for
    HGH activation during the first couple of weeks, as it activates HGH production by up to 44 times in the presence of exercise and is a component of some powerful HGH secretagogues for rejuvenation applications. HGH has been
    shown to activate telomerase. I found a 30-day supply of
    this alpha-GPC good enough for 2 15-day sub-cycles for
    about $56.00, just $28.00 per month. However, I am not clear
    that it is as strongly activating as the astragaloside mix I have been using.

  4. Bob Keeshan says:

    Has anyone seen this product before?

    http://www.reneuve.com/page1.html

  5. Bob Keeshan says:

    “Reneuve suppy telomerase enzyme and immune-system enhancing enzymes to the body…”

    Has anyone investigated this Telomerase activator before?

  6. serge says:

    Where to purchase cycloastragenol ? i cannot find any retailer

    Thanx for your answers

    serge

  7. admin says:

    Serge

    I have been purchasing it from Revgenetics, http://www.revgenetics.com.
    Vince

  8. Pyrion says:

    I was puzzled about this “Reneuve” too. The same web page that has the Reneuve promotion on it has a lot of stupid new age stuff like healing crystals and such. The testimonials about it are all over the web, but they all look like they had the same designer. I smell a rat.

    • marina says:

      They work through distributors. this particular one you are talking about is probably into this stuff himself. I know one of the product’s developers personally and he has nothing to do with it. It’s a great product.

  9. Jim Green says:

    This month I got my cycloastagenol in RevGenetics Astral Fruit NF, which also contains Haritaki,
    Purslane Extract, and Astragalus Extract.
    I doubled up on it for the 2nd week in my 15-day
    activation period, which is followed by treatment with
    telomerase inhibitors for 15 days. There were no
    objectionable side-effects at all.
    Cycloastragenol –
    http://greenwood.s5.com/indexlongevity4cg.html#CYCLOASTRAGENOL,
    Haritaki –
    http://greenwood.s5.com/lifexnotes3b3.html#HARITAKI,
    Purslane –
    http://greenwood.s5.com/lifexnotes3b3.html#PURSLANE,
    Astragalus Extract –
    http://greenwood.s5.com/indexlongevity4an.html#ASTRAGALUSEXTRACT.

  10. admin says:

    Pyrion:

    In general I agree with you. I tend not to trust proprietary products supported by testimonials but little or no objective research. If it’s not a rat involved, I would like to know about the mouse experiments.
    Vince

  11. admin says:

    Jim Green:
    Since I have largely backed off on telomerase activation personally, I am very interested in hearing about your continuing experience. So thanks for keeping us up to date. And thanks for the info on Haritaki and Purslane.
    Vince

  12. Ella Torres says:

    Nice post with informative comments like where to purchase. i enjoyed your post.

  13. Jim Green says:

    I note that cycloastragenol is also available from
    Iron Dragon. If you order the Iron Dragon cycloastragenol,
    what you get is something resembling a skin cream that is
    not to be taken orally. In fact, the manufacturer recommends testing it on in vitro cell cultures. However,
    it may be suitable for transdermal application.
    It is sold at 5 mg of cycloastragenol per milliliter in
    a 60 mililiter bottle for $119.00 per bottle.
    Also, cycloastragenol is available
    at > 2.5 mg/capsule for oral consumption from
    RevGenetics as Astral Fruit NF, which also contains
    astragalus extract, purslane, and haritaki. 60 capsules
    are sold $84.95 per bottle. A recent 2011 paper from
    Calvin B. Harley, et al, recommends dosing cycloastragenol
    or TA-65 at 20-30 mg/day during application phases,
    using a cyclic program of treatment. For TA-65,
    see TA Sciences. A 1/08/2011 email source
    quotes a chemical analysis showing that TA-65 is:
    5.47 mg cycloastragenol + 0.27 mg astragaloside IV +

  14. admin says:

    Jim Green

    Thanks for the updated information.

    Vince

  15. There is absolutely no point in taking cycloastragenol for a month or two. It needs to be taken for at least 12 months or more.

    It is also important that a high grade high purity cycloastragenol is used. Not to be confused with high purity Astragalus IV from which cycloastragenol is extracted in extremely minute quantities and this is what makes true high purity cycloastragenol so expensive.

    I’m not aware of anybody selling it at a 98% purity level which is why I am now importing this very expensive natural plant extract at this level of purity. I will also be taking it myself.

    I do not sell, and have never sold, any natural nutrients that I have not thoroughly researched and used myself.

    With regard to telomere measurements these have only, up until now, been available offering measurements of average telomere lengths whereas cutting edge research now shows that it is important, especially for anti-ageing purposes, to measure actual telomere lengths including the critically short ones. These measurements need to be done on a regular repeat basis to identify any change in results whilst undergoing an anti-ageing trial protocol. The true results will be lost when only measuring averages and this fact is now being recognised by leading researchers.

    The Mackenzie Protocol PLC at http://www.mackenzieprotocol.com is a brand-new UK company that was intending to start offering, earlier this year, the first globally available online anti-ageing protocol based on cutting edge science.

    We have been blocked so far in this attempt for a number of reasons which, not wishing to sound paranoid, can only boil down to vested interests.

    Our protocol was also to include the highest purity natural cycloatragenol and other natural nutrients together with a new cutting edge method of measuring individual telomere lengths but the few laboratories currently planning to offer this service have either been associated with companies in direct opposition to us, obstructive, or simply not willing to offer us the service in a manner that we considered financially viable for us and the client.

    We have also experienced strong evidence of opposition from medical professionals who are prejudiced and uneducated in such issues due to bias of information fed to them by the giant pharmaceutical companies which are now being threatened by the Wellness Revolution.

    Any laboratories able to offer us this service are welcome to contact us.

    In the meantime we are now considering offering our high purity cycloastragenol as a product on its own separate from our full protocol. Wholesale quantities can now also be made available to other researchers.

    I personally have spent some years studying these issues as a result of bereavments among family and friends as well as as my own health challenges that I have gradually been overcoming from my studies and consumption of certain natural nutrients as well as a requisite change in lifestyle and diet.

    I’m not out to misrepresent anything, to operate a scam or to try and make a fortune as I already have a modest income from another business that meets my modest needs. However, should this venture prove financially successful I will be happy to continue to financially support independent anti-ageing research as I have already done.

    My intention is to act with the highest integrity and to help people if I can so I hope this posting is not considered as spam. If the information on our website, which points to independent cutting edge research, can help people then I will consider that as a reward in itself.

    Like many people who have studied this subject in depth I do not consider that there is anything “natural” about premature ageing and the degenerative diseases associated with it.

    Regards

    Tony Mackenzie
    The Mackenzie Protocol PLC
    http://www.mackenzieprotocol.com

    April 2011

  16. To Tony Mackenzie

    Thank you for sharing your perceptions. I have allowed your comment because your company is not now selling anything. I do disagree with the probable utility of taking specific telomerase activators like cycloastragenol. My reasons are laid out in the above blog entry and in a more recent blog entry The epigenetic regulation of telomeres at http://anti-agingfirewalls.com/2011/03/27/the-epigenetic-regulation-of-telomeres/

    Hundreds of research studies support the mechanisms of action and the health and age-retarding utility of taking supplements like resveratrol and curcumin. However there is virtually no such literature with respect to cycloastragenol – just mostly commercial hype. Yes to all the science about telomeres and telomerase. Yes to the idea of keeping telomeres healthy. Yes to doing this through use of antioxidants, good diet and exercise and several general supplements. No to the idea of cycloastragenol a specific telomere extender in term of solid published research except for immunodeficient people. Plenty of substances are known to extend the lives of laboratory animals. Can ou point me to a single research study showing that cycloastragenol does this? Sorry for the tirade. I have already talked extensively about this in blog entries. If you can cite some relevant research I invite you to do that.

    Vince

  17. The blog page is genuinely really good. I enjoy reading it unfortunately, the text looks kinda bizarre when using the chrome net broswer

  18. Anya Pandit says:

    This website has a lot of very useful info on it. Thank you for informing me.

  19. Logic says:

    From the patent it seems that OH or Hydroxide plays an important part in re-building Telomeres. This fact made me think about Water ionisers which produce OH-.
    Some research turned up these results:

    http://glowing-health.com/ionized-water-clinical-studies/clinical-reports-ionized-alkaline-water.html

    http://blog.watershed.net/2008/07/03/scientific-studies-of-the-effects-of-ionized-water/

    From these it seems that reduced water may perhaps play a role in telomere lengthening and has many other benefiits

    Also ions and colloids of whatever the positive electrode is made of will be in the water.
    Silver (Nobel/non-reactive) seems to be a good choice for this electrode:

    http://www.guardian-silver.com/research

    http://www.silvermedicine.org/colloidalsilverstudytexas.html

    I hope this info is informative and leads to more research on this idea by everyone who reads this blog.

  20. AI says:

    What was your eye sight in distance before you took the TA? (-3.0?)
    Since you say it then became excellent…

  21. Pingback: Telomerase update –arguments for and against using telomere extender supplements | AGING SCIENCES – Anti-Aging Firewalls

  22. gr8quest says:

    one of the most comprehensive articles I’ve read on telomeres ( and I have read a lot as well as writing some.)

    I’m particularly interested in your personal experience with telomere support products as I am taking one myself right now.

    One of the best ways that I know of — to tell what effects the nutritionals you are taking have on your telomeres is to have the telomere blood test done when you first start (or now isn’t too late) and then 1 or 2 years later to see if the length has changed.

    I understand that spectra cells offers such tests. You may have to find a clinician to write the order.

    • Thanks for the suggestion gr8quest

      I am no longer taking products explicitely for telomere support as mentioned in my blog. but am indeed taking a number of substances that affect telomere lengths. For me, the critical issue is not telomere lengths, but the state of aging and possibly senescence of my adult stem cells, as mentioned in my latest blog entry Insights into the epigenetics and rejuvenation of adult stem cells – Improving prospects for extraordinary longevity. I see telomere length mainly as a downstream consequence of stem cell health and aging, only one of several such consequences. In this respect, short telomeres are a little like grey hair or loss of hair. You can’t get younger by making your hair black. There are tests for stem cell senescence, like ones involving beta galactoside or increased expression of Ink4aP16, but I don’t know about their practical applicability. Intestesting question. I will look into it. As far as telomere lengths, I may get them tested some day too, but don’t see them as central.

      Vince

  23. Andrew says:

    Vince,

    Thanks for an informative post. There is a great deal of information there. In your most recent post of June 16th, 2012 you indicated that you’re not as much concerned with telomere length as your perspective is that they are a “downstream consequence” and with your statement that “You can’t get younger by making your hair black”. My question to you is, how do you reconcile your educated perspective with the results of the Harvard Medical School study that reversed aging simply by activating and growing telomeres in mice:

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/11/the-curious-case-of-the-backward.html

    I respect your opinion based upon your blog post, but I was just curious how you reconcile your current perspective with this study.

    Thank you,

    Andrew.

  24. Physics Student says:

    Hello,
    I wonder if cycloastragenol may cause cancer since it activates telomerase activity. This is somewhat vague. Consider how curcumin selectively induces apoptosis between normal cells and tumor cells. Does Cycloastragenol(or similar Astragaloside iv) selectively activate telomerase between normal cells and tumor cells? Any researches done to confirm this is true? Until it become evidently confirmed, how can anyone know cycloastragenol cause the activity of oncogene in normal cells?

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