Are you ready to become immortal? How about just slowing down your aging process to almost a standstill? Would you agree to either if it required you to join a branch of the U.S. military? Would it depend on the branch? If you’re interested, as the old recruiting ads used to say, “Uncle Sam Wants You” … to try an anti-aging pill designed to inhibit or reduce some of the degenerative affects of aging and injury while improving human performance. Oh, and it involves being a member of the Special Operations Forces first. Still interested?
“(The pill) has the potential, if it is successful, to truly delay aging, truly prevent onset of injury — which is just amazingly game changing”.
That announcement on the BreakingDefense.com website comes from Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for Special Operations Forces, acquisition, technology & logistics (SOF AT&L). The ‘pill’ is a ‘nutraceutical’ – a dietary supplement developed in cooperation with Metro International Biotech (MetroBiotech), a developer of “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)” which it says “is critically important to the function of all living cells”. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme central to metabolism that is found in all living cells, and NAD+ is an oxidized and reduced form of it. Navy Commander Tim Hawkins, a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesperson, gives some details.
“These efforts are not about creating physical traits that don’t already exist naturally. This is about enhancing the mission readiness of our forces by improving performance characteristics that typically decline with age”.
OK, that sounds more like marketing, which may be the case since the ‘pill’ is to be made available to the public as well as the military. However, Popular Mechanics points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate nutraceuticals like it does prescription drugs. Would you depend on the U.S. military to assure you that the anti-aging ‘pill’ it’s offering is safe and effective? (For many Americans, that would depend on which celebrity spokesperson the use.)
In non-military applications, MetroBiotech offers NAD+ as a treatment for mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondria are cell parts that produce energy for the cell in the form of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). NAD+ is supposed to help cells manufacture more ATP in people where it has declined due to mitochondrial diseases (which often have neuromuscular symptoms -- you can get more info here) or aging. Aging is not a disease, so using something as powerful as NDA+ to help slow the aging process in otherwise healthy (or in the case of special ops – very healthy) personnel is controversial. Offering it to the general public – not known for being discerning about what they put in their bodies – takes that concern up a magnitude.
The military is obviously intrigued by MetroBiotech’s claim that NAD+ can help maintain mental speed and reaction time in aging personnel – intrigued enough to have “spent $2.8 million on” it since 2018, according to Hawkins. Will the NAD+ nutraceutical ‘pill’ work in stopping or stalling age from reducing key skills and health characteristics in military personnel? Will they get a choice in the matter? Would YOU take them? Here’s someone who might know the answer.
When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know
-- White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)