Two Supplements...Two Answers The Wrong Molecule
Several years ago, scientists with the University of California's Riverside campus, and with the University of Wisconsin at Madison, began a lifespan study using lipoic acid in a long-lived strain of mouse.120 Unfortunately, the study was begun before the drastic differences between the two enantiomers became widely understood … and before the dramatic effects of R(+)-Lipoic Acid on mitochondrial function were available. As a result, the researchers used the common racemate for their "lipoic acid" supplement.
The results of the Riverside/Madison study have not been published, but the word in the research halls is that we won't be hearing of any miracles. That's just what you'd expect, based on the results from the first lifespan study, which found that there was no life extension benefit associated with the racemate. 119 But the health and nutrition reporter for your local TV news won't know the difference. So the headlines - if there are any - will likely read, "No Effect of Lipoic Acid On Lifespan of Mice" - instead of "No Effect of Common Racemate Lipoic Acid On Lifespan of Mice."
The Truth is Out There
Fortunately, however, there's another lifespan study already underway - a study which will yield the kind of answers we seek. After looking at the astounding rejuvenation of mitochondrial function achieved by researchers using R(+)-Lipoic Acid - and especially the R(+)-Lipoic Acid/ALCAR cocktail - the National Institutes on Aging are now convinced of the need for a new R(+)-Lipoic Acid lifespan study. 77, 86 Unlike the Riverside/Madison study, this experiment (run by Drs. Hagen and Ames) will be done using the right molecule: R(+)-Lipoic Acid. And unlike the first, published study, 119 it will use the right rodent, too: a long-lived strain of rat. There will be no ambiguity in these results.
It's taken Hagen and Ames some time to get started. There were problems getting the animals, and also problems getting the R(+)-Lipoic Acid: 86 until very recently, the only sources in the world were two German pharmaceutical companies, who have been very jealously guarding the precious stuff. But the funding is in place, the animals are housed, and the diets prepared. In a couple of years, we should know if R(+)-Lipoic Acid pills are seeds stolen from the Tree of Life.
A "One-Mouse" Experiment
No matter what the results of the Riverside/Madison experiments turn out to be, they'll give us the wrong answer - because they'll have asked the wrong question, having used the wrong molecule. Like millions of life-extensionists and other health-conscious people, these researchers have mistakenly used a schizoid supplement, with two personalities warring within it. No great good can come from a supplement which contains a stowaway that undoes the very wonders which it works. No one can be healed by a medicine which is laced with an opposing poison.
So we're still left searching for answers to fundamental questions. Fortunately, the experiments which will yield up the answers to these questions are already underway. But in the meantime, there's another experiment to be run: the grand experiment of life. We don't yet know if R(+)-Lipoic Acid slows intrinsic aging. But we do know a lot about what it can do - from improving glucose metabolism, to providing powerful antioxidant protection, to preventing damage associated with neurological dysfunction, and on to restoring the vigor of functioning cellular "power plants." R(+)-Lipoic Acid has proven itself again and again to be powerful support against the countless imperceptible injuries that we face every day - injuries that surely keep us from savoring sweet drops of life's nectar.
After years of only being available to academic institutions in the tiny quantities required for scientific research, R(+)-Lipoic Acid is now available as a pharmaceutical-grade dietary supplement. We'll have to wait just a little while for the rodents to tell us clearly about R(+)-Lipoic Acid's effects on lifespan - but you don't have to wait to feel what your own body can experience.
You're the scientist - and the guinea pig. You choose which supplement gets used in this experiment. And you won't just read about the results - you'll live them.
Maybe you enjoy reading a good "evil twin" tale. The question is: will you choose to live in one?