Dr. Nir Barzilai: Can This Drug Slow Aging? The Science Behind Metformin

We are on the leading edge of a revolution that will dramatically change the way we age. Most chronic diseases are united by one primary cause—the biology of aging itself. While there are genetic and environmental bases for many age-related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, etc.), aging increases our chances of contracting them more than any other factor alone—making aging the primary driver of the global epidemic of chronic disease.

On today’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to Dr. Nir Barzilai about the key factors that contribute to the aging process and the diseases of aging along with the specific genetic markers or pathways that influence lifespan. The way we think about aging and disease is rapidly changing. Dr. Barzilai and I begin our conversation by exploring how aging and chronic disease are closely aligned and what is at the root of the accelerated aging we’re seeing in so many people today.

Dr. Barzilai is one of two people who have spent the most time studying centenarians–or people who reach 100 years of age. Many centenarians pass the hundred-year mark almost effortlessly; whereas most people are ill for an average of five to eight years prior to death, centenarians tend to maintain most of their abilities and are ill for only about five to eight months before their death. Dr. Barzilai shares what he discovered about how these SuperAgers live such long lives in remarkable health, and he breaks down what can and can’t be attributed to environmental and lifestyle factors.

We then dive into Dr. Barzilai’s research on the drug Metformin and how it is being used to target aging and prevent age-related disease. We discuss Metformin’s effects on the gut microbiome, muscle mass, and delayed aging, and I share my current thoughts on whether it’s something I would take. Dr. Barzilai also shares his thoughts on whether the intake of phytochemicals and other natural compounds might provide similar benefits to Metformin. And we close our conversation with Dr. Barzilai’s personal longevity routine. If you’re interested in living to 100 and beyond, like me, this is a conversation for you. 

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