Can Three Anti-Aging Drugs Reverse Aging?
and if so...
"Can We Mimic the Action of These Three Anti-Aging Drugs with Safe, Natural, Effective Methods?"
When Christopher Columbus set sail toward the West in 1492, he had no intention of landing in the Caribbean. He was on his way to China and the Orient. Unfortunately, North and South America were blocking his path. But quite unexpectedly, he discovered a new, massive land mass that Europeans, up until then, didn't know about. Sometimes when you search to find one thing, you wind up discovering something even more valuable in the process.
Immunologist Gregory Fahy, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Intervene Immune in Los Angeles, recently had a 'Columbus' experience of his own. He set out to find a novel way to rejuvenate the thymus gland, and in so doing, he stumbled upon a profound truth; that the aging process can not only be slowed, it can be reversed.
Fahy applied for, and received approval in 2015 from the FDA for a human clinical study to study the effects of three common drugs on the potential ability of growth hormone to restore tissue in the thymus gland.The thymus gland, located behind the sternum (breastbone), is an essential component of the human immune system. After our bone marrow produces white blood cells, they mature inside the thymus gland, where they are transformed into T cells, and are then programmed for specific roles in fighting various pathogens. The thymus gland begins to shrink after puberty and becomes increasingly laden with fat as we age.
The TRIIM Study Surprise
The year-long Thymus Regeneration, Immuno-restoration and Insulin Mitigation (TRIIM) trial tested 9 male participants between 51 and 65 years of age . The study was designed to determine whether growth hormone (recombinant human growth hormone, or rhGH) could be used safely in humans to restore tissue in the thymus gland. Previous evidence from lab tests and animal tests suggested that growth hormone could stimulate regeneration of the thymus.
But human growth hormone can also promote diabetes. To counteract any possible consequences related to increased blood glucose levels, Fahy and his colleagues added two anti-diabetes drugs along with the growth hormone to produce a three drug 'cocktail': recombinant human growth hormone (or rhGH) with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and metformin. Metformin is a standard prescription medication used by diabetes patients to help regulate insulin. Fahy added DHEA because he believed that a young person's higher DHEA levels might be associated with higher levels of growth hormone.
The scientists took blood samples periodically throughout the test and used MRI imaging to determine the composition of the gland. They were pleased, though not surprised, to find thymus fat replaced with regenerated thymus tissue.
Purely as an afterthought, Fahy decided to test the blood samples for any possible effect on the participants' epigenetic clocks. Epigenetics refers to the changes to DNA's structure over time. Developed by a scientist named Horvath, the epigenetic clock is a method to help determine the chronological age of a person, based on DNA characteristics. If you already know a person's chronological age, the epigenetic clock can then determine biological age, which can be compared to their chronological age. Longevity researchers use epigenetics to help determine the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of various anti-aging treatment regimens.
After testing the blood samples, Fahy discovered a significant change in each participants' biological ages. Each participant's biological age was significantly reversed over the course of the study by a net time factor of 2.5 years. Additionally, these effects remained in the subjects for six months after termination of the trial. Fahy later commented, "This told me that the biological effect of the treatment was robust. One of the lessons that we can draw from the study is that aging is not necessarily something that is beyond our control. In fact, it seems that aging is largely controlled by biological processes that we may be able to influence." 
Geneticist Steve Horvath at UCLA commented, "I expected to see a slowing down of the clock, but not a reversal. That felt kind of futuristic.
The results of TRIIM were published in "Aging Cell" . The study's abstract reported, in part:
Epigenetic "clocks" can now surpass chronological age in accuracy for estimating biological age. Here, we use four such age estimators to show that epigenetic aging can be reversed in humans. Using a protocol intended to regenerate the thymus, we observed protective immunological changes, improved risk indices for many age‐related diseases, and a mean epigenetic age approximately 1.5 years less than baseline after 1 year of treatment (−2.5‐year change compared to no treatment at the end of the study)...that persisted six months after discontinuing treatment. This is to our knowledge the first report of an increase, based on an epigenetic age estimator, in predicted human lifespan by means of a currently accessible aging intervention.
Sara Hagg, a molecular epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, after reviewing the study's findings, commented; "It has never been shown before that predicted biological age...can be reversed over time in the same individuals, and especially so after an intervention of this kind" .
Fahy's findings come with a long list of caveats. For one thing, it was a small trial with only nine males. It was also not a controlled study. And there are questions pertaining to the inclusion of metformin, and especially DHEA. What role, if any, did DHEA play in the process of winding back the participants' biological clocks? Fahy commented, "It's so exciting that we're able to ask these questions now, even if we can't answer them."
Animal Studies Confirm Findings from Anti-Aging Drugs
Studies conducted prior to Fahy's TRIIM appear to confirm that reversing the aging process might indeed be a possibility. One such study conducted at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, reversed the aging of both mouse and human cells in vitro. They were also able to extend the life of a mouse with an 'accelerated-aging' condition, and able to promote the recovery of another mouse, suffering from an injury. These findings were reported in a 2016 study published in 'Cell' .
The study provided more validity to the idea that aging is a process of epigenetic changes to cells, with the accumulated breakdown in cell structure and function leading to aging-related symptoms and disease. It also suggests the possibility that these changes can be reversed. "Aging is something plastic that we can manipulate," commented Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, genetics expert and senior author of the study. Scientists at Salk were able to rejuvenate cells by activating four genes that have the ability to convert adult cells back into an embryonic state.
Using this approach, they were able to rejuvenate the pancreas and damaged muscles in a middle-aged mouse. They also extended the life span of another mouse, afflicted with a genetic mutation responsible for a disease which causes rapid aging in children.
Matt Kaeberlein, a biologist at the University of Washington who studies aging, said that these results did not surprise him, because these effects had been previously demonstrated in lab experiments. But the fact that they have now been demonstrated in animal studies focused on age-related diseases, and that it not only slowed the aging process, but actually reversed it; "That's the wow factor", he said. He went on to say, "That's really exciting—that means that even in elderly people it may be possible to restore youthful function" .
Is It Possible to Mimic These Results with Natural Methods?
Steven Fahy's TRIIM study incorporated three components: human growth hormone (synthetic), metformin (diabetes medicine), and DHEA (natural hormone/supplement). In order to recreate his test, and his results, there are natural ways we could go about it.
- Growth hormone - Our own native growth hormone begins to decline after puberty. But there are evidence-based, natural ways to increase this hormone, including;
- Lose the body fat  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690428/
- Fast occasionally 
- L-arginine, especially for people who don't exercise enough 
- Cut down on sugar 
- Don't eat at bedtime 
- Take GABA supplement 
- High-intensity exercise 
- Beta alanine before exercise 
- Get a good night's sleep 
- Take melatonin before bedtime 
- DHEA – DHEA is a human hormone that scientists believe is a precursor to other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. It is available over-the-counter as a dietary supplement.
- Metformin alternatives – Research has shown that there is a link between human growth hormone and blood glucose levels . The link between synthetic HGH and insulin levels has been established by science. To date, no definitive link has been established scientifically between our natural growth hormone and insulin imbalances. However, anyone who has a history of blood glucose imbalances, and who is working to increase his natural growth hormone, ought to consider addressing the glucose/insulin issue by way of natural means. Two herbal supplements in particular, berberine and amla, are excellent choices [19,20].
The Truth of Science
Steven Fahy set out to find the answer to one question; can the thymus gland be rejuvenated with three anti-aging drugs? He not only found the answer to that question, he discovered a profound truth which was already embedded in nature; that the aging process can be reversed in humans. Like so many other explorers and scientists before him, he discovered a natural principle that has always existed, awaiting discovery by inquisitive scientists. How many other profound discoveries in the field of anti-aging will science stumble upon in the years and decades ahead?