Nad is rad
Imagine a stranger offers you a miracle dietary supplement—a pill that you take 1 time a day—that could boost your vigor, improve your body’s ability to mend its DNA, and keep you fitter as you get older.
A leading biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with backing from five scientists who are Nobel prize recipients, is wading into the murky world of longevity dietary supplements with a real anti-aging pill that is said to restore muscle tissue, improve brain function, and increase energy levels by improving “metabolic health.”
Leonard Guarente, one of the best-known antiaging researchers in the region, and the roster of eminent scientists have formed Elysium Health, which on Tuesday will debut its first product, a pill called Basis. They say it will enable the body to produce more of a natural compound that supports a healthy metabolism.
Many products in the supplement business are launched with questionable science, but Elysium said studies in mice show a clear connection between increased levels of this compound, called NAD, and improved health in older mice.
The active ingredients in Basis are nicotinamide riboside, a substance that makes NAD and is found in traces in many foods such as milk, and pterostilbene, an antioxidant found in blueberries. Both substances are available individually as dietary supplements.
At a recommended dose of two gel caps daily, a month’s supply of Basis will cost $60 ($50 with a membership) and will be available online only. The company’s chief executive is Eric Marcotulli, previously a partner at the Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital.
Among the scientific heavyweights advising Elysium Health are Martin Karplus, emeritus professor of chemistry at Harvard and a 2013 Nobel Laureate; Tom Sudhof, a Stanford School of Medicine professor who received a Nobel in 2013; Eric Kandel, a biochemist and biophysicist at Columbia University and a 2000 Nobel Laureate; Aaron Ciechanover, distinguished research professor at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and a 2004 Nobel recipient; and Jack Szostak, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who received a Nobel in 2009.