Though it’s true that our interest sometimes gets piqued by a product that claims to promote health and wellness without any real evidence that it actually does, when scientists and clinicians from MIT, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge are behind something, we drop what we’re doing to learn more.
We first read about Elysium Health on Facebook, but when we discovered that about two dozen leaders in science and technology advise the company, we knew it was selling much more than a hope in a jar.
Founded by Dr. Leonard Guarente, director of the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging Research at MIT, Elysium wants to help people live healthier for longer by supporting cellular health. Dr. Guarente and his team study why and how humans age, and they’ve created a supplement called Basis that increases and sustains levels of a coenzyme called NAD+. (Stay with us. This is important.)
What is NAD+?
NAD+ is a compound found in every living cell. It is required for essential biological processes: energy creation, DNA maintenance, circadian rhythm regulation, and hundreds of other vital functions. NAD+ declines as you age and — as you’ve probably noticed without knowing why — those functions start to break down. Energy flags, sleep becomes more difficult, and that dreaded feeling of falling apart begins to creep in. The amount of NAD+ in your body falls no matter how much you exercise or how well you eat — it’s a fundamental consequence of aging.
“Natural selection works to get us to a reproductive age where we can have progeny,” Dr. Guarente says, describing the evolutionary purpose of aging. “Once we reproduce, we have succeeded with regard to the species: We’ve given rise to the next generation. So the selective forces that kept us in good shape to the point of reproduction start to wane. Health isn’t maintained at the same level. There’s a decline. That’s just the way it is.”
Dr. Guarente has spent his career studying aging and looking for ways to counteract the natural deterioration associated with aging, and it would appear that he’s on the right track. Taken daily, Basis has been proven in a human study to increase declining levels of NAD+.
How is Basis different?
Backed by 25 years of research, Basis is a powerful combination of two ingredients. One is similar to resveratrol (touted as a miracle by beauty companies, though we didn’t notice a thing when we took it), but more easily absorbed by the body.
In the company’s first round of clinical trials, 120 participants between the ages of 60 and 80 were divided into three groups. The first group took the recommended daily dose of Basis, the second group took double the recommended daily dose, and the third group took a placebo. After four weeks, blood tests revealed that the first group’s baseline levels of NAD+ had increased by 40 percent, which was sustained for the remainder of the eight-week trial. Participants taking double doses of Basis saw a 90 percent baseline increase, which was sustained for 30 days before leveling off at 55 percent at 60 days.
Those impressive numbers make Basis seem like the real deal in the pursuit of health. Though it’s key to remember that much is still on you: “There are lifestyle choices that are extremely important: diet, exercise, how well you maintain body weight, do you smoke, drink to excess, do drugs,” Dr. Guarente says.
“Probably attitude is important: That very elusive thing called optimism is probably playing a role. I don’t think the data is compelling to prove something like that, but I think it will turn out to be important.”
To learn more or subscribe, go to elysiumhealth.com. Get the first month of a 6- or 12-month plan free with the code FINELINE1.