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Common drug may extend your life 15-percent

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A new study on animals shows that Ibuprofen helps to extend the life of animals as much as 15-percent, and it may do the same for humans.

Do you want to live more than a decade longer? If so, ibuprofen may be the answer.

A new study by researchers from Texas A&M University and the Buck Institute for Researching on Aging in Northern California showed that giving animals a regular dose of ibuprofen, equivalent to a standard human dose, extended the life of those animals by 15-percent. In humans, an increase of 15-percent would lead to an average of 12 years of additional life, according to NBC News.

The study was published in the Public Library of Science-Genetics, and it is the first step in what will likely be a long research process. The study focused on a handful of animals, and more will likely be brought in. Given that ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug sold over the counter as Advil, Motrin, and several generic versions, human testing could begin anytime. A proper test case will take years though.

The researchers also aren’t exactly convinced as to what it is about ibuprofen that extends the lifespan, but one theory involves the repression of tryptophan. Ibuprofen inhibits a cells’ ability to absorb tryptophan and other amino acids, and cells need tryptophan to create the calming hormone serotonin. Ibuprofen doesn’t stop the absorption of the acids, but it regulates it, which could help to extend the life of those cells.

Another key factor in extending lifespans is controlling inflammation, something ibuprofen is designed for. Inflammation can reduce the length of the caps on the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres. Controlling inflammation on this cellular level can lead to a longer life for these telomeres, which also helps to extend a life.

Despite the positive results in animals, researchers are not yet willing to recommend the daily intake of ibuprofen for everyone. Like any drug, even relatively harmless ones found over the counter, too much of it can be a bad thing. Another example of this is coffee, which can be beneficial in certain amounts, but too much can leave you with new problems. More research into the drug’s effects on aging will continue.

“We should err on the side of caution now, until further testing is done,”  Brian Kennedy, PhD, the CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging said. “However, like people taking an aspirin a day as a preventative measure, it’s not that crazy to think ibuprofen could provide some protective benefits.”

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