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Ibuprofen Extends Life In Lab Species, Study Finds (Humans, Too?)

Non-prescription ibuprofen — pills that scores swallow to soothe headaches or sore backs — might add vigorous years to our lives while erasing the pain of our days, asserts a study released Thursday. Regular doses were found in lab experiments to extend lifespans — with healthy bonus time — in worms, flies and yeast, report researchers from Texas A&M University and the Buck Institute for Researching on Aging in Northern California.

The ibuprofen administered to test subjects was comparable to recommended amounts for humans, said co-author Michael Polymenis, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research biochemist. The treatments gave the organisms roughly 15 percent more life — equal to about 12 human years. The study was published in the journal Public Library of Science-Genetics.

Why ibuprofen pushed those lifespans remains unclear. But Polymenis theorizes it may rest with the drug’s interference in the ability of cells to absorb tryptophan, an amino acid in proteins.

“There are open questions. For example, is it the low tryptophan amounts inside the cell that extend lifespan, perhaps akin to dietary restriction?” Polymenis said. The researchers do not recommend daily doses of ibuprofen based on their results. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research paid for the study.

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