Study Shows Ibuprofen May Hold the Key to Antiaging

December 30, 2014
Krystle Vermes

A study conducted by researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging shows that ibuprofen can extend the lifespan of yeast, worms, and fruit flies. The research indicates that the drug holds clues for living a longer, healthier life.

A study conducted by researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging shows that ibuprofen can extend the lifespan of yeast, worms, and fruit flies. The research, which was published in the December 18 edition of PLoS Genetics, indicates that the drug holds clues for living a longer, healthier life.

“There is a lot to be excited about,” said Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute. “Not only did all the species live longer, but the treated flies and worms appeared more healthy. The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in aging, giving us a new way to study and understand the aging process.”

Michael Polymenis, an AgriLife Research biochemist from Texas A&M, worked with the team to examine the baker’s yeast in the study. He moved it into worms and flies, then looked at the impact over the course of 3 years. Polymenis found that ibuprofen interferes with the ability of yeast cells to pick up tryptophan, an amino acid.

“We are not sure why this works, but it’s worth exploring further,” said Polymenis. “This study was a proof of principle, to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms. Therefore, it should be possible to find others like ibuprofen with even better ability to extend lifespan, with the aim of adding healthy years of life in people.”

Ibuprofen, which was created in the 1960s, was initially available through prescription. It did not become an OTC drug until the 1980s.

“Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people’s medicine cabinets,” Kennedy continued. “There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact health span, and we need to be studying them.”