With the beauty industry offering billions of pounds of anti-aging products every year, it is no surprise to find that the idea of a life-extending product seemed a bridge too far for some, until now. With up to date research and evidence that points to life extension being possible, we are now in a waiting game for the raft of approved drugs to be released to the market so that we can choose what to use.

What is life extension & health span extension?

Life extension is simply the process of using scientific discovery to extend the upper limit on how long people are able to survive for and aims to push the boundaries well beyond 125 years. Over the years there have been some discoveries that lead us to believe that life extension may be a genuine possibility, but they are not yet a widely marketed commercial entity and will likely prove expensive should they ever become a reality.

On the other side of this coin lies health span extension, a body of work that scientists are undertaking to make the final years of life, less frail and disease-focused. This work centres around the belief that there is now little to be gained by looking for an extended life if that time is full of illness and fragility. With over 75% of people being certain to die between the age of 65 – 95, it is an important area of discovery.

The latest discovery

Perhaps one of the most promising discoveries is that of an enzyme called adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which has been discovered by a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). AMPK has been studied both in human cells and in roundworms, with genuine successes that show improvements in both cardiovascular health and life extension.

Interestingly, this “miracle” enzyme is activated when there are low cellular energy levels, meaning that it is active when we exercise or when we have restricted our calorie intake. To get it to work as a life-extending process, the team at KAIST found that using a newly discovered enzyme called VRK-1 alongside AMPK helps to increase life extension in the roundworms being studied.

The team at KAIST is now focusing their efforts of learning more about these reactions and seeing how they work in more complex systems. If this is successful, then we can be certain that VR1 and AMPK will form part of any future, life-extending drugs that come to the market.

Are there products available yet?

While there are not many drugs on the market that offer genuine life extension, there are some and also some compounds that show promise, with more drugs being released in the not too distant future. However, for now, if a product is labelled anti-aging, life-extending or similar, then you should look to see if it has been approved by any drug regulator. If not, then it is purely a marketing ploy aimed at getting you to part with your hard-earned cash.

Regulators across the globe are cracking down on the false advertising claims made by some beauty companies and bringing their activity to light by publicly issuing warnings to the companies. There have also been notices to consumers about understanding what they are buying and knowing how to recognise when something really is too good to be true.

The best anti-aging, life extending drugs 2020

While there are very few drugs currently on the market that have scientifically-proven and approved life-extending properties, there are many more on the horizon. Some of the most popular life-extending compounds that are offering hope at the moment include:


This compound, often found in red wine, has been tested on mice and found to offer life extension. It not only offers a route to life extension but shows possible benefits in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes. Drinking lots of red wine is unlikely to have the life-extending effect that you may have hoped for, but scientists that discovered these properties have already created three potential drugs that could work to reduce the effects of aging.


Metformin is not new to the science community and has been used for many years as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes. However, new research has shown that it may also hold life-extending properties that can be successfully harnessed. It shows so much promise that it has recently been given approval for a human trial by the American Food and Drug Agency (FDA) to see if it can work when used to protect humans against the process of aging.


Rooted in Chinese medicine, Astragalus is claimed to slow down the effect of aging as well as helping with heart disease and cancer. There are many studies that have been done to prove the worthiness of this medicinal herb and the results claim that the use of Astragalus slows down the shortening of Telomeres (the genetic material that shortens as you age).

Currently, there is one drug on the market that uses Astragalus called TA-65 and many scientists are working on developing more drugs that use this ingredient as the anecdotal evidence shows a high chance of life extension being possible. TA-65 claims to slow down the impact of aging and improve the skin, bone density, immune and cardiovascular systems with a wide range of promising reviews from happy clients.


It is clear that there is a market for life extension drugs and that people are willing to pay a significant amount to lengthen the amount of time they stay on the planet. Health span extension is also seeing the same level of interest from consumers who do not want to submit to frailty and having to stop enjoying the time they have left long before they are ready. However, we must remain cautious when we take the positive results from roundworms and mice and consider if it will convert in the same way to humans.

What appears to be the most realistic mindset is one that focuses on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and engaging in a balanced diet and exercise. Also, recognising that calorific restriction is a genuine way to revitalise and detox the body, making it look and feel younger as proven by extensive testing on animals – a study that has a Nobel Prize that helps to prove its worth.

Investing in so-called anti-aging products may help you retain a youthful look, but they are unlikely to extend your time on the planet and could even make you the victim of a scam that takes your money and offers little in return. For now, at least, it appears that the most logical way forward is to enjoy every moment and watch with interest to see whether more life-extending drugs ever come to market.


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Shifting Focus From Life Extension to 'Healthspan' Extension
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Fraudulent Cosmetics and Anti-Aging Products
15 Compounds Life Extension.
Scientists Develop Life-Extending Compounds
Anti-Aging Human Study on Metformin Wins FDA Approval
Anti-Aging Implication of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic
A New Drug Slows Aging in Mice. What About Us?