In today’s weird-but-pretty-freakin’-cool news, a recent study has found that a common ingredient found in many face creams could also be the secret to longevity. And no, they’re not just talking about your skin’s longevity. Yep, it could actually have the power to make people live longer.
A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool has discovered that allantoin, an ingredient found in many skin-care products, like those from Simple and Shiseido Revitalizing Cream, is part of a group of compounds that are able to imitate the effects of a starvation diet on the body. A starvation diet (which entails restricting calorie intake) has been proven to extend a person’s life span by slowing down the aging process. But because anything involving the word “starvation” sounds completely miserable, this new science has an obvious appeal.
When the researchers tested the effects of allantoin—a botanical extract derived from the comfrey plant—on nematode worms, they found that it mimicked the calorie-restriction process and increased the life span of the worms by 20 percent. But while the main researcher of the study, João Pedro de Magalhães, has been studying the longevity effects of restricting calories in animals’ diets, the likelihood that a human would be able to actively restrict themselves of calories is pretty slim. “Calorie restriction has been shown to have health benefits in humans and, while more work is necessary, our findings could potentially result in human therapies for age-related diseases,” says de Magalhães in a statement. “The next step for us is to understand the mechanisms by which allantoin extends life span, as this could reveal new longevity pathways,” says his colleague Shaun Calvert. If allantoin is proven to also increase longevity in humans, the next step would be turning it into a pill. The worms ingested the compound and the researchers believe that just putting it on your skin will most likely not reap its longevity benefits.
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