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Antioxidant Extends Lifespan in Different Animals: Shall it Work in Humans?


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A newly discovered antioxidant shows promise of improving quality of life in the second half of the human lifespan

female scientist property of Dr. Ustinova

It is not a secret that many institutions are looking for that PILL to avoid aging and Lomonosov Moscow Sate University is not an exception. What is exceptional is the academic background of Professor Skulachev, his amazing fortune of having 4 sons and the fact that all 4 of them are the driving force behind the new innovation technology named “skulachevion” When it comes to science and technology it is hard to find as prolific of an institution as Moscow State University. Recently I was welcomed at Moscow State University by Skulachev Jr at his center “ Mitotech “ and got an opportunity to see not only great thinkers in the corridors of a university but also many well-equipped laboratories where new technology is born. Professor Skulachev is the  Dean of the school of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics at the MSU. He has an international recognition as a Discoverer of “mitochondrial electricity” and “Skulachev Ions” (penetrating ions that are electrophoretically targeted to mitochondria) (1969). He proposed a theory of programmed aging as a mechanism increasing evolvability (1997). Skulachev suggested that gradual programmed aging, seen in almost all mammals including humans, is an evolutionary tool invented and preserved by millions of years of evolution. In their latest scientific paper, Skulachevs presented, as they claim, most direct proof of this concept. In this review, they show that humans already began to switch off this program of aging and we will certainly become ageless… in several thousand or a million years. But the team of scientists and entrepreneurs is not ready to wait that long. 

Nowadays Skulachev directs the SkQ Megaproject to study the effect of cationic plastoquinone derivatives (SkQs) inhibiting effects of ROS in mitochondria, interrupting the aging program, and consequently providing potential treatment agents for various age-related diseases. He also conducted a Homo Sapiens Liberatus Workshop in Moscow to review the SkQ results and discuss aging theories. Preliminary results are exciting, especially regarding age-related diseases of the eye, such as dry eye syndrome. For this disease, clinical trials are already successfully completed. Under first stage of clinical trial his “ anti-aging pill “  an antioxidant  which shows clear evidence of aging slow down and even reversing in several preclinical studies with laboratory mice, rats and other animals..(and yes.. we could trust these studies, for example because some of the long-term experiments were done by the laboratory of former president of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Stockholm University ..supported by the Swedish Research Council and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation) In short they use mutant mice with changed genome (one letter in genome was changed which lead to speed up aging of mice..mutation made in mitochondria gene and that particular experimentation of “ speeding up “ aging is not new . What was new is to use Skulachev antioxidant -  SkQ1 for treatment ..and as the published study shows: “It is implicitly evident from several data series that in addition to the general positive effect that SkQ1 had on the general health of the mtDNA mutator mice, SkQ1 also prolonged the life of these mice SkQ1 treatment clearly increased life spine of mtDNA mutator mice “ (

This study clearly shows a therapeutic role for SkQ1 and SkQ1-like compounds in mitochondrial diseases and aging.

That also shows new evidence for  the ROS (reactive oxygen species) hypothesis of aging:

“A classical hypothesis for aging was that mitochondrial damage would result in increased ROS (reactive oxygen species ) production that in its turn would increase mitochondrial oxidative damage that then in a deleterious cycle, would augment itself. However, this idea has lost general acceptance in recent years. A not insignificant reason for this has been reports from studies of the mtDNA mutator mice that the mitochondria seemingly do not display enhanced ROS production or enhanced oxidative damage. However, studies such as the present one do imply that oxidative damage may be important for the aging characteristics observed, at least in the mtDNA mutator mice, and these studies may thus resurrect the ROS hypothesis for aging. They found increased longevity in the SkQ1-treated mtDNA mutator mice. Although these mice may correctly be considered an artificial model, the marked effects of SkQ1 treatment would imply that counteracting ROS damage could be one factor leading to prolonged life. There are indeed indications that treatment with targeted antioxidants such as SkQ1 not only are effective against specified diseases or in artificial models but may also prolong lifespan in general, in wild-type animals”. By the way, this paper already attracted much attention in the media, hitting top 1% of scientific papers cited in news, blogs, etc. (according to Altmetrics Attention Score:

The Bottom line of these not easy to understand preclinical papers is yes, a new compound coming on the market soon after clinical study done by Professor Skulachev reports that he has successfully tested the anti-aging compound on himself and hopes to make it available to the public within the next two years. Skulachev’s new anti-aging compound has already undergone substantial animal testing and is now in the first stages of a clinical trial on humans...and when I asked a direct question while visiting a Moscow State University :

-How confident could you be about the effectivity of a new antioxidant? 

I got a direct answer from Skulachev Jr :

Well 100%, if bioavailability achieved in humans will be not lower than the one we had in animals. But the chances are pretty good: it worked well in mice, rats, hamsters and even dogs. Why not add humans to this list of SkQ-friendly animals?”

Breakthroughs in longevity science are happening with increasing frequency. History, however, has shown that significant scientific advances are often met with skepticism. Hopefully, Russian professor and biochemist Vladimir Skulachev would escape that as he closes-in on a cure for one of the main factors of aging: oxidative stress. Though his claims are lofty, he asserts that there is an antioxidant compound that can substantially extend the average human lifespan. His efforts over the past forty years lend credibility to his claims. As head of the bioenergetics department at Moscow State University, Professor Skulachev has published numerous papers contributing to our collective understanding of the aging process. More recently he has studied a particular antioxidant substance, SKQ1, and shown that it functions at a subcellular level to reduce harmful oxidative effects directly in mitochondria, the major reactive oxygen species producer. If successful, his current work on a cure for aging would truly be the culmination of a lifetime of study and research..and yes, that is great to know that 2 products by Mitotech which has SkQ as an active ingredient already succeeded on the Russian market  - Aging Intervention Serum for skin MitioVitan and eye drops Visomitin. One more product is on its way..looking forward to seeing that new technology on the American market.

~By Marina Ustinova MD 

Dr. Ustinova is a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. She received her medical degree in Russia and studied Body/Mind medicine at the Chopra center in California. After her postdoctoral study at the California Pacific Medical center, Dr Ustinova spent years in Aesthetic Medicine assisting with hair transplantation surgery in San Francisco and Beverly Hills 

Dr. Ustinova believes in the value of preventive medicine and currently switched her practice to Lifestyle Medicine 

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