A pill used to help with diabetes has anti-ageing effects and can make mice live for longer, according to a new study.
The drug extended the life of mice
The drug metformin, which is prescribed for type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, can mimic the outcome of an extremely low calorific diet.
This diet regime is believed to encourage the healthy ageing of the body, whether this could be replicated in humans as well as mice remains unclear.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications and was led by Rafael de Cabo of the national Institute on Ageing in Baltimore in the US.
According the World Health Organization (WHO) the average life expectancy for people in the UK is 80 years of age.
His team applied two different doses to male mice approaching old age and discovered that lower doses of the drug increased the average lifespan by 5% and delayed the development of age-related diseases.
However the higher of the two doses was found to be toxic and reduced the average lifespan of the mice. Metformin has been found to prolong the life of basic life forms such as worms but previous studies on mammals and insects produced different results.
Dr de Cabo believes that further clinical studies were needed to judge whether the results found in mice could have an effect on human health and lifespan.
Dr de Cabo, speaking to BBC news, said: “"These are very promising results that need to be translated to humans via clinical studies.
"Right now the best that we can say is probably what your grandmother told you.
"Eating a good diet and exercising are the only two things that we know for sure that they work very well in humans."
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