Providing pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber could reverse aging and disease, research shows.
Israeli scientists say they have managed not only to successfully stop the biological aging process, but also to reverse it with oxygen.
The study, a collaboration between Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center, administered high-pressure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber and said it reversed two processes related to aging and disease.
Using hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in aging healthy adults, the researchers found that the shortening of telomeres (chromosome ends) and the accumulation of old and defective cells in the body can be reversed.
That is, the adult blood cells actually get younger as the treatments progress.
About 35 adults over the age of 64 participated in the study and received HBOT 90 minutes a day, five times a week, for three months.
The study was published in the journal Aging on November 18.
Shai Efrati, a professor at Tel Aviv University who runs the Aviv Clinics in Florida, told The Jerusalem Post that the study shows that the cellular basis for the aging process can be reversed.
“Today, telomeres 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 will allow telomeres to elongate. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this and prove that the aging process can actually be reversed at the level of cellular molecules. “
The study, Efrati said, “gives hope and opens the door for many young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease”.
His partner at Shamir Medical Center, Amir Hadanny, chief medical research officer, said interventions such as lifestyle changes and intense exercise had “shown some inhibitory effect on telomeres shortening,” but hyperbaric oxygen treatment was more effective.
“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to extend telomeres at rates well beyond currently available interventions or lifestyle changes,” said Hadanny.
According to the study, the physical changes corresponded to the state of the participants at the cellular level 25 years ago.
“We are not [just] Slowing down the decline – we’re going back in time, ”said Efrati.
The oxygen treatment improved the subjects’ alertness, information processing speed, and executive functions, the researchers said.