Scientists led by Professor Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University with a team from Shamir Medical Center say they have successfully reversed the biological aging process using only oxygen, their results have been published in the journal Aging.
According to the team, when healthy adults over the age of 64 were placed in a pressurized chamber and received pure oxygen for 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 3 months, it was found that the aging process was not only delayed but it was also reversed.
The report describes how the study focused on the process’s ability to reverse 2 key indicators of biological aging: the shortening of telomeres and the accumulation of the resulting senescent zombie cells.
Telomeres are like a protective cap on chromosomes which are made up of repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA that serve to protect the chromosome from damage during replication. During each replication, the telomeres take a hit that shortens them each time, once they reach a certain length a cell is no longer able to replicate leading to senescent cells. These zombie cells are aging, malfunctioning cells that can damage surrounding tissues and eventually lead to age-related cognitive or other diseases and disabilities.
Over 35 adults over the age of 64 were involved in this study who were given hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) using 100% oxygen at ambient pressure above an absolute atmosphere to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the tissues of the body. Participants removed their masks for five minutes every 20 minutes to bring oxygen levels back to normal levels. A fluctuation in free oxygen concentration was observed during this period which was interpreted at the cellular level as a lack of oxygen rather than interpreting the absolute oxygen level. In simpler terms, repeated intermittent hyperoxic exposures to oxygen levels induced many of the mediators and cellular mechanisms that are typically induced during hypoxia by decreasing oxygen levels, Professor Efrati called this the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox.
“The fluctuation of oxygen that we have generated is what is important”, Efrati said. “During this process, a state of oxygen starvation occurred, which caused cell regeneration.” “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going back in time. “
According to the researchers, the practical ramifications include improvements in attention, speed of information processing and executive functions that normally decline with aging about which more than 50% of people over the age of 60 are concerned; it is suggested that the changes in the study are the equivalent of how participating bodies were at the cellular level 25 years earlier.
Professor Efrati runs the Aviv Clinic in Florida and says this study has shown that the cellular basis of the aging process can be reversed and adds that “It gives hope and opens the door for many young scientists to address aging as a reversible disease.” Their findings could allow scientists to discover a way to monitor telomere length and develop drugs to help regenerate these protective caps.
However, the duration of these effects has yet to be determined in the long term and the study was limited by the sample size. Additionally, it was noted that this experiment was conducted using a scientifically monitored HBOT chamber and that people shouldn’t try to replicate it on their own.
Efrati said so “There’s a lot of garbage out there,” claiming that air-inflated bags are hyperbaric treatments. “This is not what is used in the studies, it is not effective and, furthermore, it could be dangerous.”
Will this treatment make people live longer? This has yet to be determined, it may, as we know those with shorter telomeres die sooner, so it makes sense, but more research is needed to determine if it will. We hope that future research will produce positive results.