In a Twitter poll of >700 longevity experts, 80% said that the drug Rapamycin likely has significant benefits on human health and lifespan.
Your first question should be, “I wonder why HOP is quoting a Twitter poll as scientific evidence?” Fair point.
But the REAL point is this: Rapamycin (aka sirolimus) has been making headlines in the longevity space. Everyone is either talking about it, taking it, or talking about whether to take it.
Longevity giants like Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. David Sinclair, and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein admit to taking it. Bryan Johnson, the guy spending millions of dollars a year on longevity and chronicling his journey publicly, is taking it. Even our own Dr. Amy Killen is a fan of this medication.
What is Rapamycin?
Rapamycin works by inhibiting a cellular enzyme called mTOR, which regulates cell growth, metabolism, and aging. When mTOR works normally (not inhibited), it signals for cells (and organisms) to grow. Rapamycin does the opposite.
Rapamycin is FDA-approved to regulate the immune system (often suppressing it). It has been used for decades to prevent rejection in organ transplants and treat specific types of cancers.
But, at much lower doses, Rapamycin has been demonstrated to lengthen lifespan. Rapamycin is the only drug that has extended lifespan and health span in every animal model it’s been tested in thus far.
Okay, animals are one thing. But what about humans? A few human studies have investigated the effects of rapamycin on various health outcomes.
Rapamycin human studies:
One study found that rapamycin reduced the incidence of skin cancers in kidney transplant patients who were also taking immunosuppressive drugs (Euvrard et al., 2012). Another study showed that low-dose rapamycin improved immune function in elderly individuals, reducing the incidence of respiratory infections (Mannick et al., 2018).
In a small study of healthy middle-aged adults, rapamycin improved cardiac function and reduced inflammation (Dai et al., 2018). Another study found that rapamycin enhanced immune function and reduced inflammation in obese individuals (Lamming et al., 2013).
While these results are encouraging, it’s important to note that rapamycin can have potential risks, particularly at higher doses. For instance, high doses of rapamycin have been associated with an increased risk of infection, kidney damage, and bone marrow suppression (Martin et al., 2021). In lower doses, the most common side effect seen is mouth ulcers.
Further research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of low-dose rapamycin for improving human healthspan. Luckily, some of that research is happening as we speak. If you’re wondering, Rapamycin dog longevity studies are also taking place because who wants to live forever without Man’s Best Friend?
Although Rapamycin for longevity is not widely available, many doctors in the U.S. are starting to prescribe it. At HOP, we think it’s a promising tool for longevity, but we agree that there’s lots more to learn before we know for sure. For more information on all things Rapamycin, we recommend checking out rapamycinnews.com.
Dai, D. F., Chiao, Y. A., Marcinek, D. J., Szeto, H. H., Rabinovitch, P. S., 2018. Rapamycin improves cardiac function and extends lifespan in middle-aged mice. Aging Cell 17, e12715.
Euvrard, S., Kanitakis, J., Claudy, A., 2012. Skin cancers after organ transplantation. N. Engl. J. Med. 367, 2522–2523.
Lamming, D. W., Ye, L., Sabatini, D. M., Baur, J. A., 2013. Rapalogs and mTOR inhibitors as anti-aging therapeutics. J. Clin. Invest. 123, 980–989.
Mannick, J. B., Morris, M., Hockey, H. P., Roma, G., Beibel, M., Kulmatycki, K., Watkins, M., Shavlakadze, T., Zhou, W., Quinn, D., Glass, D. J., Klickstein, L. B., 2018. TORC1 inhibition enhances immune function and reduces infections in the elderly. Sci. Transl. Med. 10, eaar4282.
Martin, L. P., Kidd, J., Pai, A., Edgerly, M., 2021. A systematic review of the safety and tolerability of mTOR inhibitors in cancer patients. Cancer Treat. Rev. 97, 102166.
Mannick, J. B., Del Giudice, G., Lattanzi, M., Valiante, N. M., Praestgaard, J., Huang, B., Lonetto, M. A., Maecker, H. T., Kovarik, J., Carson, S., Glass, D. J., Klickstein, L. B., 2014. mTOR inhibition improves immune function in the elderly. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 268ra179.