The “anti-aging” marketplace has long been a pit of fraud, lies, hopes, and dreams, and blatantly so. Whatever the supplement sellers and cosmetics companies that dominate that industry have to say about the capabilities of their products is essentially nonsense, and this play-acting is accepted by the public as just another part of the backdrop of everyday life. Scientific studies are cherry-picked, and outright lies are told. Whatever works and can pass muster to move products from shelves.
It used to be the case that we could draw a bright line between what worked what didn't work when it came to interventions targeting the mechanisms of aging. If someone was selling something, then it didn't work. That was a simpler era. Now that the first rejuvenation therapies exist, in the form of senolytic drugs, and numerous other approaches are under development, it becomes somewhat harder to pick apart the snake oil from the legitimate science. One actually has to look at the details, and become a knowledgeable consumer.
Ultimately, the therapies that work will largely drive out the therapies that do not work. At this point, however, it remains the case that all too many new entries into the longevity industry are following the old supplement sellers' playbook, in which marketing is much more important than effect size, and science only exists to provide a thin cloak of legitimacy.
Our field is divided into two groups of people. The first group consists of the snake oil salesmen peddling unproven supplements and therapies to whoever is foolish enough to buy and take things on faith without using the scientific method. The hucksters have long been a plague on our field, preying on the gullible and tainting legitimate science with their charlatanry and nonsense. One example is a “biotech company” evading the FDA by setting up shop in countries with few or no regulations. They make bold claims yet never deliver on those claims in practice, using poorly designed experiments and tiny cohorts that are statistically irrelevant.
Another example is the supplement peddler selling expensive supplement blends with flashy names, which, on inspection, turn out to be commonly available herbs and minerals that are mixed and sold at a high markup with questionable or no supporting data. These sorts of people have plagued our community and given the field a reputation of snake oil.
The second group are the credible scientists, researchers, and companies who have been working on therapies for years and sometimes more than a decade or two. Some of these therapies are following the damage repair approach advocated by Dr. Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation over a decade ago. The basic idea is to take an engineering approach to the damage that aging does to the body and to periodically repair that damage in order to keep its level below that which causes pathology. Others including Dr. David Sinclair are focusing on partial cellular reprogramming and believe it may be possible to reset the cells in our bodies to a younger state using reprogramming factors.
While it will be some years yet before all therapies to end age-related diseases are here and available, and the hucksters are still peddling their wares, you can arm yourself with knowledge and protect yourself and our community from these people. Learn to evaluate science rather than taking things at face value, and avoid expensive scams and bad science. Here is a useful checklist to consider when reading an article, looking at claims made by supplement makers, or evaluating any science in general.
Source: Fight Aging!