What is Rapamycin?
Rapamycin (sirolimus) is a compound produced by the soil bacterium Streptomyces hygroscopicus and was first discovered at Easter Island in the 1970s. Rapamycin has the ability to suppress the immune system and is used in the prevention of transplant rejection.
What are some of the uses and applications of rapamycin?
Through its immunosuppressive effects, rapamycin also is an mTOR inhibitor. By inhibiting mTOR, rapamycin disrupts cell division and the proliferation of cells. This induces metabolic and stress responses, which seem to improve longevity. It is not known how rapamycin increases lifespan, however, there are two different explanations: 1) rapamycin increases lifespan by slowing aging, 2) rapamycin inhibits detrimental metabolic disease, independent of aging effects.
Recent Medical Trials:
There have been a few trials of rapamycin and everolimus to date.
Novartis conducted a trial on everolimus where the results raised the possibility the mTOR inhibition may have beneficial effects on the immunosenescence in the elderly. It also suggested everolimus may increase the potency of vaccines in the elderly by about 20%.
Also, there is a pilot trial on low dose rapamycin in adults with coronary artery disease, however no improvement with frailty was noted. More research is needed.
A mice trial from the National Institute on Aging Interventions discovered rapamycin fed mice had an increase in survival, where female mice had a 14% increase in mean lifespan and male mice had a 9% increase in mean lifespan.
What are the possible side effects?
Due to its immunosuppressive abilities, rapamycin has some serious side effects when used in high doses. However, when used as a non-immunosuppressive low dose weekly medication, it has more benefits than side effects.
It is still important to be aware of the side effects of high doses. These include increased risk of infection, poor wound healing, kidney problems, lung or breathing problems, and blood clotting problems. There is the possibility of allergic reaction, weakness, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches. Additionally, there can be less serious side effects, such as muscle pain, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, or mouth sores.
If any of these are concerning you while taking rapamycin, it is best to consult a doctor.