by Nils Osmar. January 5, 2022
I spent this morning listening to David Sinclair’s new podcast. It’s a good one, worth listening to. I’m glad he’s doing it. His co-host, Matthew LaPlante, is both sharp and funny and contributes a lot to the discussion.
The first episode focuses on why we age (from Sinclair’s POV). It’s a review of the so-called information theory of aging and the possibility of reversing the aging process through medical intervention – not just once, but perhaps hundreds of times in a human lifespan.
Sinclair touches again on the activation of sirtuin genes with stressors such as hunger, exercise, heat and cold and the possible life-extending benefits of keeping AMPK activated and keeping mTOR activation (for the most part) subdued.
“The first person who will live to be 150 has already been born.” – David Sinclair.
Sinclair’s commentary is a good reminder of the importance of AMPK and how its activation appears to be associated with greatly increased lifespans.
I tend to think he gives too short of a shrift to mTOR, which is also an essential enzymatic process. Some mTOR activation is essential if we want to (1) prevent sarcopenia and (2) have strong immune systems. But I do understand why he views AMPK activation as a key thing to keep focusing on if our goal is extreme longevity.
Listening to him has convinced me to resume taking metformin (for a while anyway). It’s not a perfect drug, but it does lower blood glucose, activate AMPK and (according to some, though not all, studies), it has an anti-cancer effect. I was taking it for a while on exercise days (in the evening, ten hours after exercising); I’ve stopped doing that, but will be taking it on my fasting days in the mornings (along with NAD boosters) for a couple of weeks to see if I notice any differences from doing so.
Side Effects of Metformin
I do wish that when Sinclair is talking up the possible benefits of metformin, he would warn people about its possible side effects. Some are mild but some are serious and can even be life-threatening. According to this Healthline article, the most common side effects of metformin include:
- stomach pain
- nausea or vomiting
- weight loss
- unpleasant metallic taste in mouth
A more serious, though rare, side effect is lactic acidosis, which can be fatal. According to the Mayo Clinic:
Under certain conditions, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and quick to appear. They usually occur when other health problems not related to the medicine are present and very severe, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. The symptoms of lactic acidosis include abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast, shallow breathing, a general feeling of discomfort, muscle pain or cramping, and unusual sleepiness, tiredness, or weakness. If you have any symptoms of lactic acidosis, get emergency medical help right away.
A more common, though also very serious, side effect is that metformin can interfere with absorption of B12. According to this 2019 study, up to 30 percent of the people taking metformin show signs of not absorbing B12 properly. I’ve had problems absorbing B12 in the past, so have increased my intake of B12 since going on metformin as an anti-aging drug. I take it on days when I’m not taking metformin.
So I wish he would at least advise people to research the possible side effects.
Apart from that, I liked the podcast. It would be a good one to share with friends and family if you’re trying to educate them about the anti-aging world.
See article: Metformin and Fatal Lactic Acidosis