The U.S. military is testing a new ‘anti-aging’ pill that could inhibit or reduce the effects of getting older.
Being developed by Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the pill is part of the Pentagon’s goal to ‘improve human performance.’ reported Breaking Defense.
The medication would help boost levels of a compound which it hopes can decrease inflammation, slow neurodegeneration and rejuvenate cells.
SOCOM is expected to begin clinical trials next year.
If results are successful, the pill could have the potential ‘to truly delay aging, truly prevent onset of injury – which is just amazingly game changing,’ Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for Special Operations Forces, acquisition, technology & logistics (SOF AT&L) told Breaking Defense.
To create the pill, SOCOM is teaming up with private biotech laboratory Metro International Biochem.
Navy Cmdr Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesperson, told Breaking Defense that the pill is based on a ‘human performance small molecule.’
‘These efforts are not about creating physical traits that don’t already exist naturally,’ Hawkins said.
‘This is about enhancing the mission readiness of our forces by improving performance characteristics that typically decline with age.’
‘Essentially, we are working with leading industry partners and clinical research institutions to develop a nutraceutical, in the form of a pill that is suitable for a variety of uses by both civilians and military members, whose resulting benefits may include improved human performance – like increased endurance and faster recovery from injury.’
A nutraceutical is a product derived from food that contains health or medicinal benefits in addition to the nutrients and minerals it provides.
Examples of nutraceuticals include dietary supplements, fortified dairy products and antioxidant additives.
Metro International Biochem’s website explains that it focuses on pharmaceuticals that enhance Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide+ (NAD+).
NAD+ is a coenzyme, which is a non-protein compound that is necessary for an enzyme to function.
It is is involved in energy metabolism and energy production, mainly converting food into energy that cells use.
Previous studies have shown that boosting levels of NAD+ can extend the lifespans of mice and worms, reported the Scientific American.
In addition, animals research found that increasing NAD+ levels helped rejuvenate the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – in old mice.
SOCOM and Metro International Biochem hope similar outcomes can be seen if levels are raised in humans.
‘We have completed pre-clinical safety and dosing studies in anticipation of follow-on performance testing in fiscal year 2022,’ Hawkins told Breaking Defense.