Can Elysium Health’s Basis Pill Change Your Life?
When scientist Leonard Guarente first identified the gene that controls aging in yeast cells some 25 years ago, he realized something amazing: It could open the door to understanding, even influencing, how our own cells age. A cofounder and the chief scientist at Elysium Health, the prominent MIT biologist is leading the charge to change how we think about getting older.
While some might think the holy grail is the ability to live forever, Guarente isn’t looking for the secret to immortality. “Of course we’re interested in extending life span, but no one really wants to extend life if it’s not at a high quality,” he explains. That’s why his focus is instead on maximizing health span — the period in our lives when we feel well, have a sharp mind and aren’t suffering from any major diseases.
Whether we feel our prime is at 18 or 42, extending the years in which we’re able to enjoy life and be active with friends and family without worry is something we can all get behind. Here’s what you need to know about Guarente’s groundbreaking research, the innovative supplement developed by Elysium Health and what it all means for your future.
What Our Bodies Are Missing
As we get older, everything from our skin to our hair to our body systems changes — plus, of course, we become more susceptible to injury and disease. So what can we do? One of Guarente’s most exciting discoveries has been the role played by sirtuins, a group of seven proteins that contribute to longevity. He and some of his peers, including members of Elysium Health’s Scientific Advisory Board, believe the key to slowing aging and increasing health span is keeping these sirtuins active (they slow as we age).
That’s where a key compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) comes in. We all have this compound in our cells, and it helps power hundreds of metabolic processes: It’s essential for regulating when our bodies sleep and wake, for instance, and it’s needed to help fix glitches in our DNA.
Importantly, Guarente’s lab found it also activates sirtuins. NAD+ levels decline naturally with age, no matter how cleanly you eat or how long you run on the treadmill. But recent research from Elysium Health shows that it’s possible to increase NAD+ levels even after they’ve fallen — and once they get back up to higher levels, they’ll help cells stay healthy and activate sirtuins again. Win-win!
Cutting-Edge Research At Your Fingertips
Guarente wanted to develop a safe product anyone could take that would increase NAD+ levels and activate sirtuins. Enter Elysium Health’s daily supplement, Basis, which has been proven to boost NAD+ levels. It has shown promising results in preclinical and clinical trials, targeting conditions beyond even what Guarente predicted.
In an eight-week study, people taking the supplement as directed (two capsules every morning, with or without food) increased their NAD+ levels by an impressive 40%. Guarente explains that the boost merely brings people’s levels to what they would previously have reached naturally. And the quality of Basis, thanks to the many esteemed scientists working on it, sets it apart from run-of-the-mill supplements. Elysium Health produces and tests its product according to strict internal standards, including third-party testing for purity and quality.
How Basis Affects Your Cells
Basis is also NSF Certified for Sport, which means products are tested on an ongoing basis to confirm, among other things, that their content matches label claims. One member of the scientific advisory board, Jim Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, explains that this research-based approach is one reason he was excited to join the team (which includes eight Nobel Laureates). “They’re taking the hard road — they’re actually doing clinical trials,” he says.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Because NAD+ is required for so many processes in our bodies and sirtuins have the potential to keep us healthier longer, Basis could have wide-ranging benefits. Researchers at Elysium Health are exploring the effect that boosting NAD+ and activating sirtuins can have on a number of conditions, with several clinical trials underway or planned for the next year.
One trial will target fatty liver, a precondition which affects upwards of 100 million Americans and can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes; another is assessing the ability of NAD+ supplementation to prevent acute kidney injury, a sudden-onset condition that can affect people after surgery and may lead to chronic kidney damage or disease.
There’s also an upcoming skin health trial, designed to measure the effect of Basis on skin elasticity, wrinkles and more. This is where Dr. Kirkland thinks aging research is heading — providing solutions for illnesses where there have been none before. He says, “What I hope might be transformative over the next five years is that for some incurable conditions, treatments targeting aging processes might become available and help people who previously had no hope.”
Taking Control of Your Future
Guarente and Elysium Health are excited about the possibility of not just finding interventions to solve age-related issues but also using diagnostic tools to prevent them. One of their goals is to help people manage their health and take control of their bodies as they age. They are working to develop tests to give us insight into things like our NAD+ levels, how quickly our cells are aging and even whether our biological age matches our chronological age.
It’s all in service of not just living, but living well. Guarente and the rest of the board share a similar sentiment. He explains it with a laugh: “You don’t want to live to be 120 if you feel like you’re 120 years old!”
Expert Q + A: The Science Behind the Supplement
Learn more from the scientists rewriting the conversation around getting older.
Q: What is a common mis-conception about helping people live better?
A: Targeting just one age-related disorder (like Alzheimer’s disease or stroke) isn’t the solution. We need to go after the root cause: aging. Older people either are generally very healthy or have several age-related conditions, not just one. — Jim Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic
Q: What interested you about the field of aging?
A: It was one of the first things I wondered about: Why did my grandfather look the way he looked? Why did my father look different? It’s been a lifelong thing. — Dr. Kirkland
Q: Is it ever too late to start taking things like Basis?
A: It’s still too early to say what might be “too late,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if people at any age could benefit from products that proactively support health. — George Church, Ph.D.,professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School
Q: What is your ultimate goal with Basis?
A: I’ve adopted a new title for my scientific seminars: “Adding Life to Years.” That’s what we’re trying to do, and I really believe in that. — Leonard Guarente, Ph.D., cofounder and chief scientist at Elysium Health
Find out more about Basis, including how to buy, at elysiumhealth.com. Exclusively for Good Housekeeping readers: Receive one complimentary month of Basis when you purchase an annual plan with code EHGOOD19.
This story originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Good Housekeeping.