Ibuprofen depicted as key to longevity — if you’re a worm or fly

OK for steady diet or a danger?

A British newspaper story caught the eye of a quarter-miler friend of mine. It told of how regular intake of Ibuprofen, the pain reliever, can “allow people to live up to 12 years longer.” Bullfeathers, said many of the comments that followed, including my favorite: “[The reporter] will find salvation in hell. Ibuprofen after 7 days, following regular dosages, turns your liver into pudding. Check the internet for the number of people who die from Ibuprofen.” The story quoted a Dr. Brian Kennedy of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California as saying: “There is a lot to be excited about. The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in ageing, giving us a new way to study and understand the ageing process. Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people’s medicine cabinets. There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact health span and we need to be studying them.” Well, lemme think about it. I have a hard time trusting people who spell the word “ageing.”

Here’s the bulk of the story:

Regular doses of ibuprofen could allow people to live up to 12 years longer.

In tests, the drug appears to hold back the ageing process as well as helping fight disease.

Ibuprofen, which is used every day at home by people to treat inflammation, pain and fever, may be the key to developing a long sought after anti-ageing drug.

Lead researcher Professor Michael Polymenis of Texas A&M University agreed.

He said: “It should be possible to find other drugs like ibuprofen with even better ability to extend lifespan, with the aim of adding healthy years of life in people.”

In laboratory tests, ibuprofen was found to extend the lives of worms and flies by the equivalent of about 12 years in human terms.

The creatures not only lived longer, they appeared to maintain their fitness and health as they got older.

Despite the huge evolutionary gap between worms and people, the researchers believe they have found a new aspect to ageing that could have major implications for humans.

It should be possible to find other drugs like ibuprofen with even better ability to extend lifespan

Professor Polymenis said: “We are not sure why this works but it is worth exploring further.

“This study was a proof of principle, to show that common, relatively safe drugs in humans can extend the lifespan of very diverse organisms.”

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, sold under its own name and under a variety of brand names such as Nurofen, Advil and Motrin.

It was developed by the Boots company in the 1960s and became available over the counter around the world in the 1980s.

The World Health Organisation includes the drug on its list of “essential medications”.

Although considered relatively safe, high doses can have harmful side effects.

In the new research, scientists exposed three test organisms – baker’s yeast, the lab worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly – to ibuprofen.

The doses used were broadly the equivalent of those taken by humans.

The treatment added about 15 per cent to the lives of the different species, which in human terms amounts to an extra dozen or so years of life.

It was also considered to be healthy living time.

Both the treated flies and worms appeared healthier in old age than those left untreated, the scientists reported in the online journal Public Library of Science Genetics.

Dr Kennedy said the study opens the door for a new exploration of anti-ageing medicines.

He added: “Our institute is interested in finding out why people get sick when they get old.

“We think that by understanding those processes, we can intervene and find ways to extend human health span, keeping people healthier longer and slowing down ageing.

“That’s our ultimate goal.”

Earlier this year, researchers at Newcastle University found that the cheap anti-inflammatory drug could also help fight a host of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and dementia.

They discovered that chronic inflammation may accelerate ageing and trigger disease by stopping the body’s cells regenerating.

Once a patient suffers inflammation from one disease, it increases the risk of them developing other conditions.

The drug should be taken with or after food because it can damage the stomach lining.

The NHS advises that anyone with questions over the use of ibuprofen should speak to their GP.

Meanwhile other research published yesterday said ibuprofen could also cut the risk of developing the second most common form of skin cancer for those with pale skin.

The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, says aspirin may have the same effect.

Australian scientists found that the pills could reduce the risk by as much as 15 to 20 per cent.

Print Friendly

December 21, 2014

17 Responses

  1. Tommy Aunan - December 22, 2014

    Any claim or study with a claim like this “live up to 12 years longer” with a product that has the liver disclaimers and warnings on the bottle I think I would say thank you, but no thank you…and the study was probably sponsored by the drug company! They want to sell more pills!

  2. Milan Jamrich - December 22, 2014

    Aspirin is definitely good for you. Other anti-inflamatory drugs probably as well, but have your liver and kidney function checked on a regular basis. I do not believe that this study is supported by drug industry, but even if it were it does not necessarily mean that the results are not correct. I am taking aspirin for decades on a daily basis and other anti-inflamatory here and there. Once thing we know, inflammation is not good for you.

  3. Bob White - December 22, 2014

    You just can’t extrapolate much from studies on worms. However, there is reason for masters athletes to think about using ibuprofen: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23539318

    There is a risk of GI and liver disease, though the statement that your liver becomes pudding after 7 days should be considered with the same degree of skepticism as worm studies.

    My take on this is that if chronic aches and pains are interfering with your activities, especially strength training/maintenance, ibuprofen is worth considering as long as you are careful about dosage and timing and have a doctor check your GI and liver status on a regular basis.

  4. Milan Jamrich - December 22, 2014


  5. Jeff Davison - December 22, 2014

    Instead: There are food groups that can provide anti inflammation help.

    Aspirin and IBP should be taken carefully. Even paramedics ask people ” can you normally take aspirin or IBP with no problems ….”

  6. Peter L. Taylor - December 22, 2014

    Well, the “newspaper” in which this appeared is a bit of a rag, what we would call a tabloid. This does not gainsay, however, the fact that the arguments may have some merit.

    Regardless, from past experience and considering their backgrounds, I do pay a lot of attention to what Prof. Jamrich and Dr. White have to say (see above).

    I had never heard of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and so I went to its website. Checked out a couple of the faculty — very impressive indeed.

    Finally, I had to chuckle about the spelling issue. The distinguished medical journal The Lancet recently ran a Series on Ageing, including an interesting article on “Health in an ageing world — what do we know?”

    I’m sure the editors of The Lancet would be aghast at seeing people spell the word as “aging”, which is how we spell it on this side of the pond.

  7. Mike Sullivan - December 23, 2014

    Short story …… a few years back I was taking a bit to much Ibuprofen….I believe it caused major problems with my fascia in quadriceps……think taking the Ibuprofen inhibited inflammation that may have been needed for recovery of the fascia from the workouts…so I was continually damaging my fascia and did not let it recover by its normal process……Eventually it felt like I had extremely tight pants on all the time ….Hard to explain the feeling, not the muscles being tight ..I believe the fascia covering the muscles were damaged and tight. Almost year to recover….
    Bottom line …….Finally back to training full time.
    Happy Holidays from Arizona,
    Sully…..ps no spell check ho ho ho ho

  8. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - December 24, 2014

    Ken – “ageing” is the preferred spelling outside North America. So while the entire thing is probably bunkum, the spelling is correct in context. I think we shouldn’t colour our thinking by our perspective and should honour cultural (and orthographic) differences.

  9. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - December 24, 2014

    And here’s a web reference on the “correct” spelling of “ageing” in the rest of the English speaking world:


  10. george mathews - December 26, 2014

    Sully, check out John Barnes in Sedona . http://www.myofascialrelease.com

  11. JackaLoupe - December 26, 2014

    Too bad no one once mentions actual dosage: 600 mg. Ibu = 1 (old Rx) Motrin; most occasional users keep w/in the 1-2 Motrin range, despite true anti-inflammatory properties not really kicking in before 1200-1400 mg.
    My personal experience, having sensitive skin was hives breakout after the latter dosage–both at the (neoprene-braced) knee site and across the chest.
    I switched to natural anti-inflammants (Zyflamend) and haven’t looked back.
    Latest discovery is a combo of Hyaluronic Acid (a natural component of both synovial fluid and interstitial cell space) and Boswellia Serrata, aka Frankincense.
    Those WiseMen were on to something, it appears (in the East;~)

  12. Christel Donley - December 28, 2014

    This is right “up my alley”
    After taking ibuprofen – on and off – over some years, to combat injuries, or after my shoulder surgeries,I took a diclofenac at lunchtime (after we returned from the convention) had a few sips of champagne that night( I forgot that was a NO-NO) since I hardly ever drink alcohol – and guess what: woke up and the right side of my face was swollen, eye almost shut, and problem swallowing. I blamed it on the medication.
    Took 2 days to fully disappear.
    What do I take now? The Dr. has me wait a while…
    if it really was the culprit?

  13. Milan Jamrich - December 29, 2014

    I know some people think natural products are always better than medication…

    For example, people like to use Hyaluronic acid. Typically maybe 100mg a day.

    The average 70 kg (154 lb) person has roughly 15 grams of hyaluronan in the body, one-third of which is turned over (degraded and synthesized) every day. So how much difference is your 100 mg a day going to do? However, you might have a placebo effect..

  14. Milan Jamrich - December 29, 2014

    Christel maybe it was just a bad champagne 🙂

  15. Christel Donley - December 29, 2014

    Milan, that’s cute, made me laugh! I wish I knew!
    I truly think it is Ibuprofen, BUT, in connection with some (so very little) alcohol, it can create big problems,I read it on Google …..
    Happy New Year!

  16. Milan Jamrich - December 30, 2014

    Happy New Year everybody!

  17. Milan Jamrich - December 30, 2014


Leave a Reply