Updated 10/13/2010 09:07 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBS 2) — We all want to stay healthy and keep looking youthful as we age. For centuries, different products have promised to stop the clock on the aging process.
Now a new supplement promises to make your cells young again.
But does it really work?
Dr. Holly Phillips has the latest on a pill some say is the secret to “eternal youth.”
Billy Turon said he is seeing more clearly these days.
“I was very impressed with your report about your eyes.
“Basically you went from having eyes equivalent to the age of 66-year-old to a 40-year-old,” Dr. Florence Comite said.
And it’s not just his eyes. The 66-year-old heart attack survivor said he feels great and his gray hair was even coming in darker. He said he believes it’s all because he’s taking TA-65, a dietary supplement.
“The energy that you get from using TA-65 and the eye improvement that I had is just remarkable,” Turon said.
The little pill claims it increases energy, boosts the immune system, improves sex life and aging skin, making it more radiant.
“I think that TA-65 is wonderful addition to our ability to protect our DNA and hopefully keep us in good health as long as we live,” Dr. Comite said.
Comite, an endocrinologist, has been taking TA-65 herself for about eight months. She said she’s already noticed physical changes.
“I stopped using reading glasses over the past year and that was a complete shock,” Dr. Comite said.
“You can feel the difference like running up or running down the stairs. I mean I don’t hesitate to run up the stairs,” Turon added.
We all know what youth looks like on the outside, but the real metamorphosis happens on the inside. The pill works on the premise that our chromosome ends or “telomeres” become shortened and frayed with age.
Researchers believe damaged telomeres make people more vulnerable to diseases linked to aging, like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. And if the telomeres can be preserved the hope is health will be extended.
“Instead of waiting for disease to happen I am a strong believer in figuring out what’s emerging and trying to prevent it,” Dr. Comite said.
TA-65 comes from the astralagus plant. It’s extracted from the root, which is used as an immune enhancer in traditional Chinese medicine. But not everyone is a TA-65 supporter.
“We have no large trials for this new supplement to measure what it says its doing,” Dr. Roberta Lee said.
Lee, an internist, is an expert in botanical medicine.
“What happens if you take it every day for 15 years? In theory it’s a great idea. In practice it’s a big question mark,” Lee said.
Lee recommends fighting the clock by eating antioxidant-rich foods, getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
“All of those things put together is probably 10 times more powerful than this new supplement, if not more,” Dr. Lee said.
And while TA-65 may not be the fountain of youth, Turon said, “If you’re aging and you feel like you’re ready for the wheelchair I say take some TA-65.”
More research on TA-65 is needed, but Turon said he is a believer.
TA-65 is not cheap. It can cost $200 a month and up depending on the dosage. We should also mention the Food & Drug Administration regulates dietary supplements — like TA-65 — differently than drugs.