Monday, April 16, 2012

Soccer Molecule of Youth? Fullerene C60 Increases Lifespan by +90% and Protects Against Free Radicals

Image 1: Fullerenes are carbon molecules with a specific symmetrical structure; the Buckminster fullerene C60, for example, which is made of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, with a carbon atom at the vertices of each polygon and a bond along each polygon edge looks like a soccer ball (img. Bryn C.)
I must confess, this is not the "usual" SuppVersity news, but after making sure that the paper was not published on April, 1st, I thought that it is more than worth sharing; and that despite the fact that I am not aware of any Buckminster fullerene (C60, cf. image 1) olive oil solutions being sold at your local GNC... well, at least not as of yet.

The earliest studies on the biological and pharmacological properties of [60]fullerene, as the "correct" notation for the "soccer ball-ish" Buckminster fullerene would be, date back to the early 1990. Despite its established usefulness in DNA cleavage, imaging, UV and radioprotection, as well as its antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-amyloid (=anti Alzheimer's) activities, its ameliorative effect on allergic response and its inhibitory effects on angiogenesis and tumor growth, very little is known about its pharmacology and long(er) term safety,  the primary research interests of the French and Tunesian scientists whose recently published paper attracted my attention (Moussa. 2012).
Want to know more about C60? How it works? How this study relates to the Free Radical Theory of Aging and if anti-oxidants are actually good for you? In that case, you should listen to my interview on Carl Lanore's Super Human Radio, which aired on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 (click here to dowload the MP3 file).

Put some "soccer balls" in your olive oil and live into your late 150s

Since study was designed as a general investigation - not as a test for the longevity effects of the "soccer fullerene" - the actual study consisted of a couple of experiments designed to...
  • test the preparation technique - 50mg of C60 dissolved in 10ml of virgine olive oil
  • pharmacokinetic and biodistribution studies - after oral and intra-peritoneal administration
  • chronic toxicity effects - 0.8mg C60 every day for the 1st week, then weekly until the end of the 2nd month, then every two weeks until the end of the 7th month
  • anti-oxidant effects - 0.8mg C60 pre-treatment for 7 days before administration of a single dose of CCl4 (1ml/kg bw) as an oxidative stressor
...where the result that the staggered administration of an olive oil + C60 mixture to eighteen 10-months old rats could increase their lifespan by up to 90% was more or less an incidental side-finding of the experiment that had been designed to elucidate the chronic toxicity effects (see above).
Figure 1: Estimated median life-span of healthy rats (left) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT; liver enzyme) values of control (oil, C60+oil) and CCl4-intoxicated (C60+oil, oil, water) rats (data adapted from Moussa. 2012)
As you can see in figure 1 the life-prolonging effect of the treatment with 0.8mg/day C60 in olive oil for every day for the 1st week, weekly until the end of the 2nd month and then every two weeks until the end of the 7th month (figure 1, left), from which the scientists estimated the survival distributions for C60-olive oil-treated rats and controls by the non-parametric Kaplan-Meier estimator to be 42 months (estimated median lifespan, EML) for the C60-treaded animals and 22 and 26 months for the control rats and olive oil-treated rats, were not the only beneficial effects.
Figure 2: Oxidized to total glutathione ratio (GSSG/TGSG, left) and images of the livers of the rodents that were pre-treated with olive oil or olive oil + C60 (control) for seven days before administration of a hepatoxic dose (1ml/kg body weight) CCl4 (data adapted from Moussa. 2012)
The alanine transferase (a liver enzyme used to judge the "workload" of organ) and the ratio of oxidized (GSSG) to total glutathione (TGSH), where lower levels are indicative of less oxidative damage, in figure 1 (right) and figure 2 (left) and probably even more evidently, the images of the livers of the CCl4 intoxicated rodents clearly indicate that C60 is probably one of the most potent liver-protectants we know. In that,
[t]he number of necrotic areas observed in the liver sections of [intra-peritoneally treated, i.p.] animals was significantly lower than that observed in the [orally treated animals]. As C60
concentrations in the livers of [i.p. treated] animals are probably about 10 times higher than those of the livers of [orally treated animals], these results confirm the dose effect relationship
reported previously (Gharbi. 2005).
Moreover, the prevention of GSH depletion in the absence of insignificant changes in hepatic CYP2E1 activity, the reduction of which would reduce the occurrence of reactive CCl4 metabolites and thusly evidence only drug-specific, yet not general protective effects of C60, suggest that C60 exerts it hepato-protective and longevity effects via a free-radical scavenging mechanism.

Promising, if not exciting, but not yet market-ready

Image 2: Even without C60 Jeanne Louise Calment who was born on February, 21, 1875 in Arles, France reached the biblical age of 122 years and 164 days. This raises the question: What are we going to do with all those old-age pensioners, when C60 does work as this study suggests? I mean, this handsome lady could have been 232 years old with some additional C60 in her olive oil!
Although this may indeed sound as if we had found the magic bullet (and you know about my general skepticism towards its existence ;-), the scientists are right to point out that...
[t]hese results obtained with a small sample of animals with an exploratory protocol ask for a more extensive studies to optimize the intestinal absorption of C60 as well as the different parameters of the administration protocol: dose, posology [determination of appropriate dosages], and treatment duration.
Specifically with respect to the increased life-expectancy, it must also be stressed that the treatment was stopped after 17 months and the EML, i.e. the estimated median lifespans, as well as the corresponding figure +90% are statistical numbers -- just as the COX hazard ratios in other studies are, by the way. So no reason to start crying "fraud", especially if you also take into account the established health-benefits (anti-cancer, anti-heart disease, anti-Alzheimer's ,etc.) that will come from the reduced oxidation alone. The only 'downside' therefore seem to be that we would probably have to cope with a whole new problem soon after C60 hits the over-the-counter marked: I mean, what do we do with all the 150y+ old-age pensioners on C60?


  1. Questions like this: " we would yet have to cope with a whole new problem: I mean, what do we do with all the 150y+ old-age pensioners on C60?" are symptomatic of the death cult called "the Left". Why wouldn't people stay healthy and productive until ~120yo, allowing Governments to postpone benefits and delay or prevent the demographics-driven unfunded liability fiscal tidal wave that is about to crash on Western economies? It was always part of the Left's dark fantasies to euthanize the elderly population, one way or another, wasn't it?

    1. while they are politically incorrect, questions like this must be addressed in a society where family is worth nothing and individualism is everything. If we still had >2 children and lived in larger families this would not be an issue - they way it is now, it is however

    2. That is the way many of us choose to live. In fact, there is every reason to believe that the remaining causes of aging will be addressed within the time allowed by this breakthough. I'm planning on having many families, with hundreds of children over the many thousands of years I hope to live, as we expand into the solar system and beyond.

  2. It is amusing when a discovery (whether by accident or not) causes certains types to vocalize the ideology that they have been directed to spout and then they start pointing fingers. Oh my, oh my.

  3. Humans have a funny way of solving problems. I look forward to living as long as possible.

  4. One question, where do I buy this Fullerene c60 to try on myself?

    1. you can find it easily by just googling it. But I strongly caution against playing human guinea pig, we still know WAY too little about this molecule

    2. If you look here you'll see that the going rate on this stuff is $600 for a 5g sample. The mice were being given 0.8mg of this stuff, and according to the FASEBJ's article Dose translation from animal to human studies it would seem that the equiv. human does would be about 7 mg.

      Thus the 5g sample should be able to last you about 714 days or $0.86 p/day unless I've got my math wrong (which has happened in the past...often) which seems like a pretty good deal to double life span. I might just pick up a vial myself.

      It doesn't seem likely that one is going to pull a Marie Curie by taking a token amount of carbon soccer balls each day. On the other hand, I remember from my G-Chem Lab that anything that the lab instructors were paranoid about anything that had to do with organic compounds. Something about humans being organic organisms and "like being attracted to like" and stuff.

    3. On second thought...maybe I'll let someone else take the risk on this one. A cursory reading though this nanotechnology report seems to indicate that professionals are concerned that this stuff can scramble your DNA.

      Dunno why the rats didn't die sooner if that's the case though. Maybe at very low doses it's a good thing but at high doses it's a bad thing?

  5. Fullerenes or C60 is found in nature, i.e. soot turns into c60 after each thunder bolt, there is c60 in molasses, so every time you eat dark bread coloured with molasses you are consuming c60. But pristine fullerenes are not water soluble. My Ukrainian colleagues are the only one in the world who discovered how to make them water soluble…ie hydrated fullerenes or c60-HyFn’s
    Approved by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health as a dietary supplement and as a high antioxidant health drink

    IP protected by patents in Ukraine so far. Considered a dietary supplement in Ukraine, marketed as high anti-oxidant….but has many other claims in preclinical studies and research areas below

    Approved as dietary supplement as high anti-oxidant

    Ministry of Health of Ukraine approved the industrial use of Concentrate Solutions of Hydrated C60 Fullerene as an antioxidant in food, fragrance and cosmetic, biotechnological and microbiological industries. Sanitary and hygienic conclusion of Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine No 05.03.02-04/89993 d/d November 19, 2010.

    What are Fullerenes or Buckeyballs?

    Research areas

    Walter Derzko

    1. Have you seen their price for ml?

  6. This article is wholly incorrect. I quote:

    "It must also be stressed that the treatment was stopped after 17 months and the EML, i.e. the estimated median lifespans, were indeed just that estimated!"

    This is pertinently untrue. The article mentions times that the rats died of natural causes and lists how many months each rat lived.

    I understand that it may be difficult to believe such extraordinary results but I urge journalistic honesty and rigor when commenting on these findings.

    1. I don't know if you even have access to the fulltext, Sarah, but if you had, you would certainly have read the text in the paragraph beneath the graph depicting the lifespan that says:

      "The survival distributions for C60-olive oil-treated rats and controls were estimated by the non-parametric Kaplan–Meier estimator (Fig. 3) and compared by a log-rank estimated test. The estimated median lifespan (EML) for the C60-treated rats was 42 months while the EMLs for control rats and olive oil-treated rats were 22 and 26 months, respectively. These are increases of 18 and 90% for the olive-oil and C60-treated rats, respectively, as compared to controls."

      Estimation is a mere necessity if you are dealing with a study size like this.

    2. maybe I should add: This does not mean that no rodent lived so long. It's just as the COX hazard ratio estimates just probability data.

    3. I refer to the study on our site:

      Page 6, graph a, survival in months for the C60-in-oil treated rats.

      So no estimations whatsoever - the study lasted 5.5 years because that is how long it took for the final c60-treated rat to die.

      You mistook the 17 months of treatment with the monitoring time of the rats. The rats were monitored until their natural deaths. You mistook the sentence about the estimation of the survival *distribution* with the actual survival of the rats in the study.

      I have to add that the graph I refer to has been slightly altered in an updated release of the study, but the number of months the rats lived has not been changed.

    4. Ah, I see, I guess we have a misunderstanding here and must admit that the sentence you quote is maybe not formulated adequately. I am not suggesting that the the lifespan is a projection, but that the assumption that lifetime will increase +90% for everyone is estimated based on that. I am going to change the wording here

    5. You are of course rightfully sceptical as to the longevity benefits for humans or even rats in general, since the test group was so small and there was only one experiment.

      It would be very interesting to see more studies with C60 on mammals, using much larger test groups. I do not think that humans will derive the same longevity benefits as rats, because humans are more complex and partly due to the added complexity, already live much longer than rats.

      I assume that in the worst case scenario, since humans live 20 times longer than rats, the longevity benefit may be 20 times shorter. Rats lived nearly 100% longer, so humans may live only 5% longer.

      However, those Wistar rats usually die of tumors or immune system issues leading to pneumonia. But the C60-treated rats died of generalized old age. So that could point to a general cancer-protective effect. Other studies show a renuvenating effect on the brains of mice. It's all very interesting, but we likely will in our lifetime not know what the effect on humans is. I think it would be a safe bet to assume it will be much less dramatic in terms of longevity, but it may delay or prevent some types of cancer, to give but an example.

    6. a very fair estimate. If we simply assume that the #1 reason we don't live longer is that we cannot fully exploit our genetic potential and estimate that the latter would be somewhere between say 85-100 years, I would say that a 10% increase could even be realistic for those who don't do almost everything right already. A 10% increase towards your "genetic limit"; so if you plotted that as a curve you would probably see a logarithmic graph whith "distance in years you would die before genetic limit due to exuberant oxidative damage" on the X axes and "years you can add to your live by loading up on C60" on the Y-axes.

      And on a side note, I can hardly imagine that no rich "longevity enthusiast" has already bought some of this stuff and used it ;-)

  7. This is the most recent video interview with Professor Fathi Moussa on C60 Olive Oil in the University of Paris study:


  8. A company called Maxam Nutraceutics sells c-60 in an oral form. stuff is going to make dinosaurs young again

  9. Logan Fisher

    Hey everyone there's a naturally occuring mineral called shungite whch is made of 99% C60, C70, other bucky balls and carbon nano tubes. Do some research shungite has many other beneficial properties and is in no way harmful to living things. I've been using it for over a year.

    You can buy a pound of it for about ten dollars on ebay and several other sites. Don't waste your money on solutions with trace amounts of C60, its not rare or expensive.

    Now that you know how to get more C60 than any one person could need let me remind you that if everyone in the world lived to be 150+ we probably wouldn't have enough space or resources to live as comfortably as we do now.