Administration of pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber can reverse aging and disease, the research finds.
Israeli researchers say they have managed not only to stop the biological aging process, but also to reverse it by using only oxygen.
The study, a collaboration between Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center, administered high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber and said it reversed two processes related to aging and disease.
Using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on aging healthy adults, the researchers found that truncation of telomeres (chromosomes) and accumulation of old and failing cells in the body could be reversed.
That is, the blood cells of the adults actually get younger as the treatments progress.
About 35 adults over the age of 64 participated in the study and received HBOT for 90 minutes a day five times a week for three months.
The study was published in the journal Aging on November 1
Shai Efrati, a professor at Tel Aviv University who runs Aviv Clinics in Florida, told The Jerusalem Post that the study indicates that the cellular basis of the aging process can be reversed.
“Today, telomere shortening is considered the ‘holy grail’ of the biology of aging,” he said.
“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this and proved that the aging process can actually be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level. ”
The study, Efrati said, “offers hope and opens the door for many young researchers to target aging as a reversible disease.”
His partner at Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny, said interventions such as lifestyle changes and intense exercise have shown “some inhibitory effect on telomere shortening”, but the hyperbaric oxygen therapy is more effective.
“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to prolong telomeres with rates far beyond currently available interventions or lifestyle changes,” Hadanny said.
According to the study, the physical changes corresponded to how the participants’ bodies were at the mobile level 25 years earlier.
“We are not [just] slows down the decline – we are going backwards in time, “said Efrati.
Oxygen therapy improved the attention, information processing speed, and executive functions of the subjects, the researchers said.