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Subtle Changes Can Be Yours, for Fifty Dollars a Month

Several people have sent me a link to Elysium Health, and I can’t say that it’s improved my morning. This is a supplement company founded by (among others) Leonard Guarente of MIT, who is of course well-known for his work in the study of longevity and aging. The company advertises a large and impressive board of advisers, and states that it:

. . .serves as a novel platform for Lenny and 30+ scientific advisors, doctors, and researchers to shorten the time between discovery and impact on human health. This collaboration allows Elysium to leverage the latest technologies and most significant research to pioneer a new approach to health in our everyday lives.

By “shorten the time”, I think that they mean “set ourselves up in the supplements space so that we don’t have to go through the FDA so much”. That may sound uncharitable, but when I start reading about the company’s first product, “Basis” for “metabolic repair and optimization”, my mood darkens (and see below – that actually is the whole reason). Here’s how Basis is described:

Science has enabled us to intervene at the cellular level to achieve optimal health, beyond what can be accomplished with diet and exercise. Basis focuses on NAD+ levels and sirtuin function in our cells to support vital metabolic processes like detoxification, inflammatory response, energy production, and DNA repair.

Detoxification? Really? There’s one of my biggest objections to this whole venture, summed up in one word. In general – and this has been long noted – anyone who starts talking about “detoxification” and “toxins” is likely to be a quack. It’s a buzzword, something that plays to peoples’ mistaken ideas about medicine and biochemistry, that there are all these toxins from the environment that have to be flushed out somehow for you to be healthy. And I know that Guarente is an excellent scientist, and that the people on the company’s board are, too, which is what upsets me. Why go there? Why sound like something advertised in the back of a cheap magazine?

Reading further, one finds that Basis contains nicontinamide riboside and pterostilbene. The first is an NAD precursor, and is already on sale at your local vitamin shop. (On the scientific end of things, I’m certainly willing to believe that NAD levels could be involved in aging, by the way – I just don’t know what the best way to go about dealing with that might be). And pterostilbene is a close cousin of our old friend resveratrol, and it’s also available down at the shop, too. (This is one of my lesser problems with Elysium, that so far its products are already on sale from other people. I have not compared prices, nor purities).

This article at MIT’s Technology Review lays things out pretty well:

The problem, Guarente says, is that it’s nearly impossible to prove, in any reasonable time frame, that drugs that extend the lifespan of animals can do the same in people; such an experiment could take decades. That’s why Guarente says he decided to take the unconventional route of packaging cutting-edge lab research as so-called nutraceuticals, which don’t require clinical trials or approval by the FDA. . .

. . .“You have high-end prescription drugs up here, which are expensive,” says Guarente, gesturing upward. “And you have the nutraceuticals down there, which are a pig in a poke—you don’t know what you’re getting and you don’t know a lot about the science behind them. There’s this vast space in between that could be filled in a way that’s useful for health maintenance.”

As the article mentions, Guarente has been down the small-biotech route before in this area – the situin story is a long, complicated one (and can be partially explored by going backwards in this archive). And I can understand his point about clinical trials in this area. But it still seems like a big leap from that to the nutraceuticals industry (here’s more on the company’s founding). To quote from the web site: “Subtle changes in overall feeling of well-being, sleep quality, energy consistency, cognitive function, and skin health are often reported within 4-16 weeks of starting. . .” and that’s about as specific as the law will allow you to get. That, and talk about “detoxification”, I guess. When Guarente says that “you have the nutraceuticals down there”, he’s pretty much right about the direction – and now he’s down there with them. It just seems sad, somehow. It makes the legitimate research in this field seem a bit less respectable, which isn’t good, and it makes the supplement hawkers seem a bit more respectable by association, and that’s probably not what Elysium was planning on, either.

Oh, and just as an aside about the name: Elysium itself, according to the ancient Greeks, was indeed a wonderful place populated by the righteous and worthy. After they died.

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80 comments on “Subtle Changes Can Be Yours, for Fifty Dollars a Month”

  1. steve says:

    It’s amazing how much crap is out there. Someone was just asking me about a company that cells enzymes and EDTA to “disrupt biofilm matrix” embedding potentially pathogenic bacteria and yeast in the GI tract (http://www.klaire.com/enzymes_cat.htm). This is all potentiated by the Orin Hatch/Tom Harkin bill and subsequent laws promulgated by Hatch to support Utah’s alternative medicine industry. Doesn’t matter if it works as long as it makes money.

    1. steve says:

      whoops – “sells enzymes”!

      1. a. nonymaus says:

        She sells sea cells?

        1. DCRogers says:

          Where?

          1. Frank says:

            On the beach..

          2. Anonymous says:

            At the Sea Shore

    2. Joseph Lister says:

      Does anyone have a view on this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MitoQ

  2. Am I Lloyd says:

    The fact that there are about ten Nobel Laureates on Elysium’s board is enough of a red flag for me.

    1. Mark Thorson says:

      Is Henry Kissinger one of them?

  3. b says:

    Also love the fact that the quote from MIT Technology Review is on the website, appearing as if it’s a third-party review of the product/company and not a direct quote from the founder in said publication. It just reeks of dishonesty.

    1. anon says:

      MIT Technology Review is a PR medium for MIT-based start-ups and other companies.

  4. Hap says:

    The problem, Guarente says, is that it’s nearly impossible to prove, in any reasonable time frame, that drugs that extend the lifespan of animals can do the same in people; such an experiment could take decades. That’s why Guarente says he decided to take the unconventional route of packaging cutting-edge lab research as so-called nutraceuticals, which don’t require clinical trials or approval by the FDA. . .

    Translation: “It’s hard and takes too long to actually prove my stuff does what I think it does, so I’ll just throw it out there to people who don’t know any better or care and get some money for it.” Boy, that sounds like the working definitions of science and drug development that I learned. Good job, guys.

  5. anonymouse says:

    Smells like BS. Sorry to see Lenny got over to the dark side.

    The following article seems particularly relevant. It suggests that since one is supposed to eat the nicotinamide riboside, one would get the same effect simply by eating (much cheaper) nicotinamide.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6218262
    J Nutr. 1983 Feb;113(2):412-20.
    Digestion and absorption of NAD by the small intestine of the rat.
    Gross CJ, Henderson LM.

    A number of preparations of varying complexity have been used in an effort to elucidate the reactions by which NAD is hydrolyzed to nicotinamide during intestinal digestion. NAD labeled with 14C in the adenine or pyridine moiety was the substrate used with perfused rat intestine, live rats, perfused live rats, with collection of portal flow, intestinal contents, mucosal tissue, or pancreatic juice. The conclusions reached are that a pyrophosphatase present in the intestinal juice and to a much lesser extent in the pancreatic juice releases 5′-AMP and nicotinamide ribonucleotide. The 5′-AMP was rapidly converted to adenosine then to inosine by bacteria-free intestinal contents. Perfused or intact intestine rapidly hydrolyzed NMN to nicotinamide riboside, which accumulated, but was not absorbed. It was slowly cleaved by an enzyme associated with the mucosal cells to nicotinamide, which was the major if not the only labeled compound absorbed.

    1. Jacob says:

      To play devil’s advocate, I believe direct NMN digestion is associated with “flushing” due to binding of GPR109. So, NR may be a better supplement considering the reduced side effects.

      See Canto 2012, Cell — The NAD+ Precursor Nicotinamide Riboside Enhances Oxidative Metabolism and Protects against High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity.

      1. Jessica says:

        This only applies to niacin/nicotinic acid, not nicotinamide.

  6. Lyle Langley says:

    Man, I would be all over this if he (Dr. Guarente) and all of the science advisors looked like they were in their 20’s. But, they all look old. Doesn’t seem to me their stuff works.

  7. SirWired says:

    “Subtle changes in overall feeling of well-being, sleep quality, energy consistency, cognitive function, and skin health are often reported within 4-16 weeks of starting. . .”

    Translation: “Some of our customers have self-reported minor improvements in several wildly fluctuating subjective measures. If you think that smells strongly like worthless testimonials about placebo effects, you’d be right.”

    I suppose they should earn points for not claiming implausibly massive improvements in health (such is all-too-common in the supplements industry), but certainly that sentence does not make me want to go out and purchase their products.

    “There’s this vast space in between that could be filled in a way that’s useful for health maintenance.”

    And these very same products, taken over the decades they claim they need to be taken, could just as likely prove to have deleterious effects as they could beneficial ones. Calling this “health maintenance” is going a bit too far…

  8. Pessinist says:

    funny thing — if you click in to any of the “Scientific team” profiles you get an error (the kind that should be a 404 but they went out of their way to make sure is wasn’t)

    and for (at least) some them they clearly took the image off google — usually in the first row
    less nutraceutical more Helena?

    Or is there no longer much difference?

  9. Mark Thorson says:

    You can get the most powerful detoxifier at the supermarket. It clears out the toxins accumulated in your tissues from putrefaction of food in your intestines. According to the Asparagus Advisory Board, you just keep eating raw asparagus until your urine doesn’t stink anymore, and you’ll be totally cleansed. I’ve been doing it daily for 3 years now, and it’s really amazing how much toxins can be stored in your tissues!

    1. Karl says:

      I’m pretty sure this gets “Best Comment” …

    2. Me says:

      Your sh*t is bunk. I’ll raise you tap water you snake-oil-shilling clown!

    3. Smut Clyde says:

      you just keep eating raw asparagus until your urine doesn’t stink anymore, and you’ll be totally cleansed

      This also works for garlic. Still detoxing.

    4. loupgarous says:

      The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board makes various claims for why (in addition to how) eating asparagus is good for you.

      It’s unlikely that the flack shop representing farmers in one of the states who gave Trump his big win will be invited by FDA to prove or disprove these claims until the also-rans in the Presidential and last few Congressional elections join with the press to educate the public on the difference between flackery and valid research results. It’s a case where adversary politics can be harnessed in the public interest (although I notice that the Obama administration stopped asking uncomfortable questions like this in its first couple of years, so there’s probably little partisan difference in tolerance for flackery).

  10. placebo says:

    The Elysium website is great: the basis for Basis “metabolic repair and optimization” is that it is “informed by genomics”. Clearly, that’s all the information and validation one could ask for. The Sirtris-Westphal playbook remains alive and well. It’s hard to argue with a business model predicated on the psychology of longevity, apparitional pharmacology and no validated clinical biomarkers. If it’s efficacious on Pharma executives, it can also liberate $$ from a gullible public with disposable income. What is it with Boston merchant-scientists and the Fountain of Youth?

    http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/gsk-orders-sirtris-execs-to-stop-selling-resveratrol

    1. Hap says:

      I think there were $720M reasons for that one. Why stop if it keeps working?

      On the other hand, I guess Dr. Guarante figures that there’s more money to be made going direct to the marksXXXXXpublic than there is in going through the pharma C-suite. Maybe the gambit has stopped working, which would be a ray of hope for pharma if it were true.

      1. dbcooper says:

        $720M! I had no idea …

        No wonder GSK is in trouble.

  11. milkshake says:

    the “detoxification” meme was originally invented by mountebanks selling laxatives as dieting aids

  12. Curious Wavefunction says:

    But…but…Ray Kurzweil who takes 120 pills a day has convinced us that he’s going to live to at least 120 (after which his consciousness will be downloaded into a computer). On a more serious note, it’s likely that some of these supplements have minor but perceptible effects and in synergy they have measurable effects, but bypassing the FDA to demonstrate this is not the way to go (the FDA also needs to modify its criteria for efficacy, but that’s another discussion).

    1. loupgarous says:

      The Trump administration could seize a rare opportunity to show how it plans to “drain the swamp” by closing the “nutraceutical” loophole. In fact, it could shine a harsh, unforgiving light on how FDA’s deal-making under the past three presidents has hurt Americans, reduced their access to life-saving drugs and made those drugs much more expensive.

      Not that additional research didn’t need to be done on grandfathered compounds like colchicine to determine their efficacy more closely (important in a potent, but also highly toxic drug), but Trump could show America how few favors the FDA’s done Americans under previous presidents and Congresses. That’s not a partisan issue – we’ve seen over the past eight years how prices have skyrocketed on old drugs because of policies going back decades, when either large political party could have contained the damage but chose not to.

      At this point, we’ll see whether Donald Trump can drain the swamp at FDA – and whether he will. He’s got a real chance to prove people wrong on this and other points.

  13. qvxb says:

    Each product contains all-natural organic GMO-free placebo at no extra cost.

  14. Barry says:

    Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 created a category that–under the FDA–is neither a “food” nor a “drug” and is subject to none of the standards expected for either category:

    “The deal that DSHEA and NCCAM made with the public was this: Let the supplement industry have free reign [sic] to market untested products with unsupported claims, and then we’ll fund reliable studies to arm the public with scientific information so they can make good decisions for themselves. This “experiment” (really just a gift to the supplement industry) has been a dismal failure. The result has been an explosion of the supplement industry flooding the marketplace with useless products and false claims.”[15]

    1. steve says:

      Yup, that’s what I mentioned at the beginning of this thread with regard to Hatch/Harkin.

      1. Barry says:

        right you are. I had forgotten the Bill was sponsored by Hatch and Harkin

  15. Dr. Manhattan says:

    @placebo
    “The Elysium website is great: the basis for Basis “metabolic repair and optimization” is that it is “informed by genomics”. Clearly, that’s all the information and validation one could ask for. ”
    What? No CRISPR-Cas?

  16. Anon says:

    I’ve given up being angry at this sort of thing. Instead I console myself with the concept of natural selection: eventually there won’t be enough stupid people with enough money left to screwed.

    1. Anon too says:

      Anon, you have way too much confidence in humanity.

      1. @Norsely says:

        No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby. (said HL Mencken)

  17. Skirteptic says:

    Derek, I respect and enjoy your writing, but I fundamentally disagree your claim to know that “Guarente is an excellent scientist. Anyone who’s read Retraction Watch recently will be aware that he is anything but. Readers of PubPeer (who care to search for Guarente or his stable-mate Sinclair) are in for even more examples of such excellent science. Even the editorial pages of Science have contained some pretty damning critiques over the years.

    Then there are the various “dissenting opinions” on the caloric restriction aging hype (Partridge/Gems – background strain matters). Plus the quagmire of Sirtris/Westphal, and the problems with the fluorescent sirtuin assays. Now this Elysium gig?

    The whole “sirtuins are important determinants of aging” field is looking more and more like a giant steaming pile, with Guarente/Sinclair at the helm. At some point we have to look beyond the place of work (Harvard/MIT), beyond the journals where most of this is published (Cell/Nature/Science), beyond the whole Boston VC/Biotech circle-jerk, and call a spade a spade. Referring to the architect of this mess as an “excellent scientist” is a disservice to your readers.what does it take to downgrade your opinion of someone?

    At this point, the best we can hope is Elysium will do for Guarente what Rejuvenon did for Bruce Ames. Founder of scientific field? Meet 10ft pole.

  18. johnnyboy says:

    This is exactly the same gambit that Neurochem did with their failed AD drug – founded a new company, marketed the drug as ‘cognitive enhancing’ nutraceutical. It failed miserably. The new company name was Bellus, named after the Neurochem founder Bellini – a la Mannkind. I guess we can only be grateful that this company is called Elysium, rather than Lennysium…

  19. watcher says:

    Looks like a duck, acts like a duck……must be a solution to all the world’s ills.

  20. Blunderbuss says:

    Sadly aged academic biologists are prone to go down this path. Basically they reach a certain age and realize that their life’s work is bullshit, perhaps even reailzing their entire subdiscipline has only a toe hold on reality. They have a large mortgage, ingrate kids who studied at Barnard, or worse grandkids there, some insane wife or maybe exwife. They make the last big push and do something like found a company or author a horseshit grant to be reviewed by their cronies so they can ride that one last wave somewhere. Maybe to wax philosophical to doe-eyed honeys at the Kiwanis Club. Madoffian science. Not one true believer. Tent revivalists passing empty kfc buckets.

    1. Kaleberg says:

      This is something aging scientists do, but I don’t think Linus Pauling was pushing vitamin C for the bucks. Different people have different motives. This one seems to be about the benjamins.

      1. Blunderbuss says:

        “The Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine was founded in 1973 and operated under that name until 1995 [20]. The institute was dedicated to “orthomolecular medicine.” For many years, its largest corporate donor was Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical giant that produces most of the world’s vitamin C. Many of the institute’s fundraising brochures contained questionable information.”

        http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pauling.html

  21. Andre says:

    Seems to me that Elysium Health is a prime acquisition candidate for Nestlé’s push into the nutraceutical market. For details, go to this link:

    https://www.statnews.com/2016/03/30/nestle-drug-supplements/

    With so many Nobel Prize Winners on board nothing can go wrong with Elysium Health….

  22. JBstein says:

    It’s somewhat honorable that some of you guys are trying to pin this down scientifically, but then you could try to reason why the $ bills are green as well. indeed there is a probability of effect in taking food supplements … either when you have an unbalanced diet / are sick or when you’re taking too much of them (Vitamin D trials are just one case http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2165869) Look into WHO statistics and you’ll find the most longevity in parts of the world without war, a functioning health system and some sort of “cultural habit” around food uptake …

  23. Krölp Möbrö says:

    >peoples’ mistaken ideas about medicine and biochemistry, that there are all these toxins >from the environment that have to be flushed out somehow for you to be healthy

    Why is it wrong? Love to be educated.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      First thing is that our body already does a pretty good job of clearing things out, via the liver and the kidneys. The second point is that while there are some environmental toxins that people should worry about (like lead or radon), these are actually pretty rare. A third point is that very few of these things accumulate in the body, anyway, and that brings up the biggest problem with the whole idea – that there’s some way to “flush” such things out. It’s especially strange to see people thinking that they could do something like that with juices and the like. Foods get digested and broken down, for one thing, and whatever “toxins” there are aren’t stuck inside the intestines (although I did hear a radio ad that once claimed that they were!)

      There are metabolic byproducts that come on with aging that would probably be good things to get rid of (glycosylated proteins, lipofuscin, and others), but nothing you can buy at the supermarket is going to help with those, unfortunately.

      1. Chris Akins says:

        Is it not possible that the body’s natural cleansing systems could become overwhelmed by modern levels of toxins? Surely these systems did not evolve during a time of such high toxicity as we experience in the modern Western world?

        1. Derek Lowe says:

          No evidence of this, though – see Bruce Ames’ article “Misconceptions on the Causes of Cancer” for a discussion of this point as regards the liver, kidneys, and so on.

  24. Michael J Corey says:

    I see four objections in your article:

    1. The word “detoxification” is often associated with procedures and supplements that are not supported by science.

    This is true, but it doesn’t seem like a strong objection to me. Yes, the word is frequently misused, but that doesn’t make the process insignificant. Are you seriously arguing that detoxification is unimportant? Some of the health effects of vitamin C are related to free-radical scavenging. If a firm selling supplements advertised vitamin C as involved in “detoxification,” the claim would be absolutely true, yet presumably you’d still label them “quacks.” Monooxygenases are among the most important enzymes involved in detoxifying organic molecules by oxidizing them and thereby rendering them easier to excrete. NAD+ and NADP+ are cofactors for monooxygenases. Is your evidence that NAD+ is _not_ involved in important detoxification processes as strong as Guarante’s evidence that it is?

    2. The products Guarante is selling are already available and are considered safe.

    Again, this doesn’t seem like a very powerful criticism. The very fact that the available profit is small, since no patent is available and the products are already on the market, makes me think it’s _less_ likely to be a scam. You acknowledge that you haven’t checked prices. I did and I found the Elysium subscription price of $50 a month to be modestly above the sum of the very lowest available prices for the two products, so quality issues would probably affect a buying decision.

    3. “Subtle” effects are claimed.

    This seems like another weak objection to me. Claims of powerful and remarkable effects are much less likely to be valid, in my experience. If one tries a new anti-aging regimen today and it’s successful, what effects would one expect to see? Surely it would take at least five years to know whether the regimen was efficacious, and the effects would be subtle, as the effects of aging are subtle year-to-year.

    4. There are many Nobel-Prize winners on the board.

    This also seems like a weak objection to me, for reasons that should be obvious.

    Finally, here is a statement from one of your replies above: “There are metabolic byproducts that come on with aging that would probably be good things to get rid of (glycosylated proteins, lipofuscin, and others), but nothing you can buy at the supermarket is going to help with those, unfortunately.”

    This is incorrect. Energy metabolism is “hot,” chemically speaking. Lots of reactive intermediates are produced in the course of digesting food and obtaining energy from it. Of course they don’t “accumulate” — they’re highly reactive and they damage DNA, cell-membrane components, and other molecules quickly. Vitamins and other antioxidants you can buy at the supermarket do indeed appear to lower the toxic effects of natural energy metabolism. There are literally hundreds of peer-reviewed articles indicating anti-aging effects of the antioxidant lipoic acid, which can indeed be purchased in a supermarket. There’s a great deal more work to be done, as Guarante points out. Measuring life extension in people takes a really long time. But your dismissal of a first-tier scientist who appears to be making a sincere attempt at life extension, based on a great wealth of peer-reviewed evidence and sound logic, seems shoddy, under-researched, and poorly reasoned.

    Michael J Corey, PhD (Biochemistry, UC Berkeley)

    Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in Elysium or its products, I’m not acquainted with Dr. Guarante or his colleagues, and I haven’t tried the product or any products containing NAD+ precursors or resveratrol derivatives.

    1. Mark says:

      After reading Derek’s commentary, I, too thought his critique’s were superficial and poorly reasoned.

      Certainly, the burden of proof is on Guarente and his team to demonstrate that their product is effective and, at this point, there is no evidence that Elysium slows aging in humans, despite the anecdotal claims.

      However, is equally important for skeptics to make evidence-based claims, lest the whole damn thing become a quagmire of opinion.

      I have been taking Elysium for 7 months. I am investing $50/month on the slight possibility that aging can be slowed with this product. As much as I would love to age more gracefully (I’m 46), this is the first and only supplement I’ve ever purchased and I don’t like being scammed.

      I am in search of evidence – one way or the other.

      1. Renee Stark says:

        I bet I speak for many when I ask if, after 7 months, you can tell a difference in your before-Elysium self and your after-Elysium self. The question of actual longevity is a tricky one–there isn’t a valid way to determine if taking or not taking this product affected how long one lived. The more potent factor in deciding to spend the money/take the supplement is, can you demonstrate an improvement in your day-to-day functioning, i.e., greater energy levels, notable improvement in mental clarity, evidence of weight loss (presumably resulting from more efficient energy creation within the mitochondria)? THESE are the evidentiary factors to which the purchasing public will respond,

  25. Natalie Golovin says:

    I read the articles & ordered Basis. First reaction was the unprofessional packaging & directions. It appeared to be made in someones garage. After a few days I developed diarrhea & watery stools. I dropped dosage down from 2 to 1 capsule (I’m 108 lbs) but it continued so I stopped completely. As an experiment I waited until system back to normal & started back on 1/2 dosage or 1 capsule-thinking the diarrhea might have been from other causes. Bang-it came right back & I emailed Elysium website asking if any other customers had experienced this side effect. Never heard from them. Contamination or the product itself? Don’t trust these charlatans.

    1. Jack Slonin says:

      I have been taking the product, as prescribed, for a little over a month. I have suffered absolutely no ill side effects. You might consider that you contracted an intestinal virus. As for evidence of efficacy, I have observed enhanced memory recall. Names and events that were difficult for me to extract in the past seem to be quickly accessible. Granted, this is purely anecdotal reporting. The product requires strict experimentation and controls and stringent peer review. This is obviously difficult to conduct given that the aging process is gradual and any clinical evidence of the slowing down or prevention of age related pathology requires a significantly extended timeline. It does seem to me that short term testing of cognitive improvement and muscle performance could be quantifiable.

    2. Mgk says:

      Interestingly I also experienced severe diarrhea and watery stools for one day. Did not recur. Wasn’t sure if it was due to Elysium or something I had for breakfast! Aside from this one incident, I have experienced very intense, vividly detailed dreams and find I need 9+ hours of sleep since starting Elysium one month ago.

  26. Chuck D. says:

    Congrats to Placebo….. “apparitional pharmacology” is the most apt name for a pseudo-science I’ve come across in a long, long time 🙂

  27. V Picola says:

    As a layman, I’ll speak only from my personal experience. I’m 42 years old, 170lbs., in good health with no medical issues, don’t exercise much any more due to busy work schedule. I don’t take any medication. I’ve been using Elysium Basis for over a year now and have witnessed the following:

    – Increased energy throughout the day, as if I had a ‘reserve’ tank of gas
    – Sustained improved focus. I feel more mentally sharp.
    – Near elimination of daily ‘aches and pains’ that started a few years ago – don’t need shoulder rubs any more. . .
    – Better deeper sleep
    – Better looking, healthy skin
    – Last year when I was working out, I could recover from workouts much faster than before. Usually within a day, rather than 2 or more days of stiffness/soreness.
    – While my weight has stayed stable, it feels as if I’ve lost weight around mid-section.
    – More definition in my muscles, particularly around upper arms and shoulders.

    If this is a placebo effect, it’s one helluva placebo effect. If it continues this way, I’m willing to continue paying Elysium regardless if this is imagined or not.

    1. Robert Fosdahl says:

      I too have been taking Basis for a little over 2 months and there has been great improvement in long and short term memory recall and my physical stamina during gym workouts is noticeably enhanced. Maybe placebo, but I doubt it. The improvements are could be ascertained by clinical evaluation. Something is going on and whatever it is, it is good.

  28. Fred H says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m 54 and have been taking it for about 4 months, BID as directed.

    For the first 6 weeks or so I noticed no effects at all.

    But since then, I feel a more energetic and mentally focused. No noticeable changes to sleep or skin.

    It’s not dramatic; could be placebo effect. But the stuff is pretty cheap, and may be helping.

    Usually I’m as skeptical as most of the posters here, but the big names involved convinced me to give it a try. In principle there ought to be substances that help, at least at the margin, with the effects of age. And I’m *very* sympathetic to those who lose patience with FDA process.

    Yes, I’d feel a lot more confident if I saw hard data showing results. But FDA approval does not magically make something that doesn’t work suddenly work.

  29. AJ Khan says:

    Not sure if this supplement will work or not, but here’s what i know for sure. Do not be duped by the number of Nobel Laureates on the advisory board. They’re there because they get paid. Plain and simple…(and somewhat sad).

  30. Justin says:

    Shenanigans.

    I won’t pretend to know the science but on the other hand, I do know human behavior quite well. The way everything is written/advertised, Basis is questionable at best. Could it work somewhat? Perhaps, I’ll bet but mosts’ time/money would likely be better spent on larger returns (like a gym membership).

    The problem I have with this sort of endeavor is that, although I respect those who will challenge the institution of conventional science/wisdom (that’s where our greatest leaps of discovery are often found), there are too many self-serving individuals aware of that and intend only to leech a profit. If you’re a scientist and already quite successful with a high standard of living (which I presume Guarente fits), this is nothing more than a business trying to turn a profit for its investors. Elysium is not doing so out of kindness to make the science that wont be validated for decades available right now, it’s doing what any and all businesses seek: profit. There’s nothing wrong with creating a business, but masquerading it behind science, current scientific uncertainties and relying on your established credentials/status to sell false hopes (as part of product marketing) to the masses by shrouding scientific doubt with clever language is a disservice to humanity.

    It’s brilliant business marketing strategy because it appeals to authority, scruples be abandoned. At least the pharma industry requires fairly rigorous validation on their claims in order to cash out. Hand waving that your approach works but is in one word: shenanigans.

  31. Chuck Hollis says:

    I am by nature incredibly skeptical of most claims, as are most people here.

    However, I’m now 57, and I can feel age creeping in around the edges. After reading and researching as much as I could, I decided to buy 30 days worth.

    Everyone is different. For me, many of the same results as mentioned by others: less fatigue, greater clarity and sharpness, better energy levels, sleep better, better blood sugar control (I’m a type 2 diabetic) and so on.

    Nothing big, just lots of subtle improvements. Sort of like a tune-up for my body.

    After 30 days, I stopped. Within a few weeks, the improvements subsided and I was back to before. Got another 30 day supply, benefits returned. OK, that was enough experimentation for me. I now am on a perpetual subscription.

    Like someone else said, if it’s a placebo effect, it’s one heck of a placebo effect — one that I’m willing to pay for.

    1. Keith Gardner says:

      Many of the negative comments here remind me of Clarke’s Law: “If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

      Your comment (C. Hollis) reminds me of my one-time test of Strattera, when I was diagnosed with ADD years ago. I was given a prescription for the stuff, and was on it for a month. I found similar effects to what you describe here with Basis. Then I stopped it for a month, and they faded. I went back on it again for a month, and the good effects returned. (Also the negative effects, which are beside the point of this comment, but they were the reason I did not continue to use the drug).

      These observations clearly do not constitute a clinical trial, but they’re our own personal reality check. Some people, for example, can’t get through a day’s work without smoking a joint at lunchtime. For me, on the other hand, that would be the end. Regardless of “the science,” when all is said and done, I think it’s YOUR results that matter.

  32. David Fletcher says:

    Don’t bother with this product. They are just another unproven subscription scam. I took the product every day for two months, and experienced no changes. When I tried to cancel my subscription they kept sending it to me for two more months, and said they couldn’t accept returns, even though the packages had never been opened.

  33. karen says:

    I tried Basis by Elysium and it made me quite ill with nausea and stomach cramps. There is no way to return the product so I am out $50.

  34. P. M. says:

    Someone said that taking Basis was a bust except that it did improve their skin. Little did that guy know how some of us will do anything to improve our skin. So I have taken it for six months and all of the responses that V. Picola outlined in his comments above have been my experiences too. My husband was skeptical of the whole thing until he saw how fast I was recovering from intense physical workouts, and tennis games with him. He would need a day or two to loose the aches, and by the time we got home I would be ready to do something else. He is taking it now. So glad I gave it a chance.

  35. MR says:

    I appreciate Dr. Corey’s thoughtful response above.
    As a retired physician and researcher myself, I have often been amused at the biases and negative placebo effect so common among my peers. The lack of an open mind as pathology can be as common to our profession as gullibility can be to those with less education. That said, my partner and I, both in our 70s and gym regulars, have also taken Basis for the past three months, expecting nothing current but hoping for long term effects and perhaps a longer life span. Going over finances last week I realized that my spouse, whose memory has not permitted this for the past three years, had taken an interest and was taking part in calculations and decisions. This was a profound objective difference in mentation for her. I pointed this out to her, and she responded that I was now hiking 1-2 miles 2-3 times a week and not taking pain medicine for arthritis — also unnoticed, also quite different, though less clearly quantifiable. We had not been looking for these benefits.
    I am so glad NOT to have read the above smug and incurious opinions of my peers before these unexpected and unsought discoveries. I wonder how many of their patients, or the patients of their students, lose opportunities due to the negative placebo effect of physician attitude.

    1. loupgarous says:

      I’ve had essentially the same positive effects (much better memory, more tolerance for exercise, better control over blood sugar as demonstrated by HbA1c measurements over a year) simply by following a <2500 calorie diet and taking a multivitamin, along with a Schedule IV opioid agonist for long-term cancer pain (which also happens to be a SSNRI) and supplemental sustained-release niacinamide.

      One data point, but just as valid as the anecdotal reports of efficacy, lack thereof and/or adverse events associated with Basis. It's time to get back to science-based medicine. The idea that anything else is "real world" is a fallacy. Real phenomena can be demonstrated in controlled scientific experiments. Calling anecdotal reports "real world" phenomena just adds a Fourth Big Lie to the three we all know from the joke.

  36. James says:

    I suffer from chronic fatigue, I’ve tried everything in the book. I haven’t tried basis but I have trialed nicotinimide riboside and pterostillbene .
    The changes for me were quite dramatic, worth noting that I also responded well to niacin but not to this amount.
    It meant I could get in a few minutes of exercise, this increased , within 3 months I was walking an hour a day without paying for it the next day, I still have crashes in energy but these are of significantly less effect.
    Cognition and endurance is up, no bowel changes.
    Stopping for a few days has an associated drip in energy.
    As others have noted above if its a placebo effect I’ll have more of it thanks.

    1. Matthew Crook says:

      My two thoughts:

      1. Maybe you can’t prove BASIS improves longevity in humans in a reasonable timeframe BUT you could get a peer reviewed study that proves this actually works in animals. At least it would confirm that part of the claim.

      2. Regardless of longevity BASIS website claims that in 4-16 weeks you many notice a “Subtle changes in overall feeling of well-being, sleep quality, energy consistency, cognitive function, and skin health are often reported within 4-16 weeks of starting. . .”

      Ok….let’s get a blind 16-week comparison with 100-200 people divided into a blind study group and blind control group, run by an independent reviewer. (Control group is given an identical looking placebo – the participants don’t know if they’re getting the real thing or the placebo). A study like this wouldn’t even be that expensive. Heck, you could probably get volunteers and promise only a year supply of BASIS as compensation.

      Side comment – I’ve taken BASIS now for 7 months, I can’t claim I notice a difference. I’m quitting now and (hoping) I notice a difference after stopping. But I’m also doubtful. I’m happy to volunteer for a blind study however – I would love more evidence this actually works other than simply the opinions of impressive PhDs….

      1. cancer_man says:

        Elysium conducted this study over the summer and released the preliminary results a few weeks ago: 120 adults ages 60 to 80 with BMI under 30 and healthy were divided into three groups: 250mg NR/50 mg pterostilbine (what they recommend), 500 mg NR/100 mg pterostilbine and a placebo group.

        After 8 weeks, the first group saw NAD+ levels rise 45%, the second group saw NAD+ levels rise 90% and the placebo group none.

        The results of blood pressure, glucose levels, pain tolerance, 6 minute walk test and a sleep survey will be published in a peer reviewed journal according to Guarente.

  37. John Rowe says:

    I am 80 years old and decided to try Basis to gain more energy. It did nothing for me except make me sleep 12 hrs/day. I noticed in a lot of reviews that younger people seem to have some imagined benefit, but being in the 40 to 60 years active age group, maybe it really has no effect at all. Mother nature will take care of 99% of our problems, it is the other 1% we need help with, but even that is severely limited by the absolute complexity of organic science. Any “discoveries” are a crap shoot for sure.

  38. zhi says:

    there is website longecity.org, a lot user left their experience with this supplement.
    there are many NR product out there. you can find cheaper alternate product in amazon. but I am not sure product quality.
    such as pureNR and proHealth NAD+ 333
    you just need to buy Resveratrol separately. CVS sometime has buy one get one free with their supplement. CVS Health Resveratrol Plus 100mg, 90CT
    otherwise get them in amazon

    i only took elysium basis about a week… only thing i notice now is I sleep better and sleep more like 10+ hours per day. funny thing is when i was at my early 20s. I did sleep more than 10+ hour per day. someday i slept like 18 hours. This supplement did turn me back to my early 20s for this sake.

    another thing may be placebo is i feel a short moment muscle vibrating during day time after few hours taking the pill. also has brain discomfort or pain for just few seconds…

    I subscribed 3 bottles per month for a year for my family. I also will try cheaper alternate product like pureNR and prohealth NAD+ 333. if they also work similarly, I will cancel elysium basis by the end of this subscription.. the alternates will save me $300 per year

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