Is Juvenon Really A Powerful Anti-Aging Supplement?Have you ever heard of Juvenon? I write a blog on how to increase longevity and I hadn’t heard of this supplement before a few days ago. Now this should not imply that any you have or have not heard of it either but for me the reason I haven't heard of it before is because I tend to not consider supplements a valid method of extending life. I put more emphasis on diet and lifestyle choices but hey; science has brought us this far; maybe it’s got more to offer us.
Despite my personal belief I thought I’d investigate this supplement a bit and see what it is and why it has been glorified as a longevity secret recently made available to the public. According to the company’s website Juvenon is essentially a mixture of two chemicals normally found in the body. The supplement is made of acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid. It’s also got a couple other nutrients in small degree which are clearly displayed on the label. If you are unfamiliar with either of these two chemicals then see these write-ups on the chemicals published by the University of Maryland Medical Center: acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid.
Looking at the label we see that each “serving” the anti-aging supplement Juvenon contains a gram of acetyl-L-carnitine and about 400 mg or .4 grams of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which by the way is very different from the fatty acid ALA. The Juvenon supplement is also touted to be sold in a bottle of 30 servings (60 tablets) for roughly $34-$40 per bottle. This got me thinking. Even if this combination of natural chemicals has the ability to improve longevity and the health of our cells, can’t we just buy these two supplements separately and join them together on our own?
Sure enough, heading over to Amazon.com I found with virtually no effort a bottle of 60-count 400mg Alpha Lipoic Acid tablets for $13 and a 100-count bottle of 500mg acetyl-L-carnitine for only $10. Combined, this gives you roughly 50 doses of the combination of chemicals found in the Juvenon supplement for a little over $20. Run the math and you are look at roughly a 50-75% savings over buying the branded supplement from Juvenon directly.
Does The Juvenon Supplement Actually Help With Anti-Aging?So anyway all the above goes to show you that buying supplements can be a huge waste of money if you go about it the wrong way but it doesn’t touch on the validity of the anti-aging compound. Does Juvenon actually help you live longer?
I dug into the archives of Newsweek for a story they ran on the supplement back in 2005 when the studies by the company were fresh and Juvenon was just going into production. Newsweek had this to say about how the longevity supplement worked:
In studies published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, Ames and his colleagues fed older rats two chemicals normally found in the body's cells (and also sold as nutritional supplements): acetyl-L-carnitine and alphalipoic acid. Not only did the rats perform better on problem-solving and memory tests, but they moved around with more ease and energy.
Researchers determined that the combination of chemicals had improved the function of mitochondria, organelles that serve as a cell's main energy source. Ames formed a company called Juvenon to license the combination of cell-rejuvenating supplements (also sold separately at several health stores). The company plans to begin human trials soon to evaluate the cognitive effects of the dual supplements. In the meantime, Ames, who chairs Juvenon's scientific advisory board but gets no proceeds from the company, is overseeing lab research on human cells in tissue culture. In one study, Berkeley researchers found that lipoic acid protected the cell from oxidation when iron or hydrogen peroxide was added.
Now he hopes to replicate those results in human subjects. Other studies have already linked unhealthy mitochondria to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, type 2 diabetes and other degenerative diseases, so reversing or repairing decay in mitochondria could help to stave off the age-related diseases. "I'm hoping we can add a few years to people's lives," says Ames, who's 76. "I think we can."
And from the Juvenon company website:
Research has shown that an important factor in aging is the decay of the mitochondria- the organelles within the cell that convert amino acids, fatty acids and sugars into energy. Research performed by Juvenon scientists and others has demonstrated that as we age, the efficiency of the mitochondria diminishes, as does their quantity per cell. The effect is a body operating at one-half to one-fourth the energy it had at youth.
Basically Juvenon believes that this combination of chemicals can slow or reverse the decay of the mitochondria and can thus slow aging and increase energy as we get older. As far as I can tell however research studies have not yet concluded on humans to see if this is the case.
Right now it seems the company is relying on the observations of rats tested in the 2002-2005 time period. Considering the supplements show some promise in animals and have little risks to humans in these quantities then I guess it’s not that big of a deal to try supplementing with these yourself but I’m not convinced yet. I think you’re going to be doing much better at improving longevity by simply enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, staying active, and limiting portion sizes at meal time… but that’s just me.
Newsweek - http://www.newsweek.com/id/48238
Juvenon Company Overview - http://juvenon.com/science/overview.htm