Ask Dr. Raffaele — 07 November 2013

“I am 80 years old and in good health. I have taken TA 65 for one year without apparent results. According to the Patton protocol at my age I should take four capsule a day but I cannot afford more than one a day: This dosage could still be useful as preventive measure or it would be useless, unless I increase it?”

This is a very good question that boils down to this: How do I know if it is working? The short answer is that you need to measure the effect. This gentleman says that TA-65 is “without apparent results.” By this he likely means no subjective results such as improved energy, mood, libido, memory, etc. On the surface, this seems like a perfectly reasonable judgment. However, there are two problems with employing subjective measures to determine the effectiveness of a telomerase activator.

The first is that he doesn’t know how he would feel over the past year if he were not taking TA-65. At 80, one’s state of health can change quickly and dramatically, so it is possible that an illness or significant functional decline would have taken place had he not been on TA-65. I often liken it to the effect of a blood pressure or cholesterol lowering medication: it is hard to get excited about the subjective feeling of the absence of a stroke or a heart attack, but it sure beats the alternative feeling.

The second problem is that there may be objective changes that you are missing if you are not measuring the effect. If the immune system is being remodeled toward a more youthful state, you won’t know it unless you measure this effect. If your telomeres are getting longer, what does it feel like ? Not much unless perhaps you ask your identical twin not taking TA-65 what he or she feels like and compare notes. I may sound like I’m being a bit flippant, but I am often asked the question, Do I really need to measure my telomeres and immune function tests before I take TA-65? Would you take a blood pressure medication without checking your blood pressure? It wouldn’t make sense.

This leads into the second part of my 80 year old’s question. How do I know if the dose I am taking is working? There’s only one answer: you must obtain a baseline before starting TA-65, even though the company and many physicians don’t require it, and then do a follow up measurement. Here’s why. TA-65 has quite variable absorption from one person to the next. The single capsule dose achieves blood levels capable of activating telomerase at the tissue level in a majority of the subjects tested in a small pharmacokinetic study, but in a number it didn’t. If our 80 year old inquirer is in the former category, then he’ll be just fine on the dose he can afford and should see changes in his immune cells and telomere length over time (more on this later). In contrast, if he is in the latter category, then he is probably wasting his money. Assuming his financial limitations haven’t changed, a better strategy would be to take 2 capsules a day for 6 months and check for objective changes. The beauty of telomere therapy is that unlike with blood pressure or cholesterol lowering, the objective changes are very gradually reversed during the 6 month holiday he takes from therapy and when he restarts, he can add to them. If there are no changes at 6 months, then he needs to either give up or shorten the interval and increase the dose further.

What kinds of objective measures do I recommend for assessing the effectiveness of TA-65 (or any other telomerase activation strategy be it astragalus root, Product B, lifestyle changes, or a comprehensive age management program)? I measure telomere length and senescent suppressor T-cells in panel of lymphocyte subsets. The type of telomere length measurement and how it stacks up against the other options will have to be the subject of another post that will come out shortly (likewise for the immune function panel). These recommendations are based on monitoring telomere length and immune function for the past 6 years in hundreds of patients, some of whom have been on TA-65 for years. Moreover, we have over 2000 telomere length and immune function measurements in our database which are yielding interesting insights into the clinical practice of telomere and immune function therapy.

Before I sign off, I want to say another word about cost. Patients often say that they cannot afford (or at least don’t want to pay for) any telomere or immune function testing. “TA-65 is expensive enough”, they add. Here’s some food for thought. As I will discuss, the telomere test I recommend costs about $400 and the immune test $250. That’s about 2 months of TA-65 at the one capsule a day dose. If that dose is not working and you don’t know it, then you are wasting $2400 a year. Doesn’t it make sense to spend the $1300 to make sure you’re getting an effect or to inform you that you need to change your strategy as suggested above with the 6 month double dose then holiday approach? It makes even more sense when if you are older and you are faced with the recommendation of 4 capsules a day–$9600 a year. I have seen many older patients have very good results (lengthening of telomeres) on one or two capsules a day. If they adhere to the recommendations, then they are spending up to $7200 more on their therapy than necessary.

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Joseph Raffaele, MD is an expert in Age Management Medicine, and founder of PhysioAge Medical Group, in New York City. He is also a world-renown speaker, writer, and instructor in Age Management techniques.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. This is fantastic news. I think that temrleoe testing might not necessarily apply to a conventional Spa environment where the focus is merely on “pampering” type treatments. The value could be to educate therapists so that they in turn can advise clients about this. Clients might not be aware of the impact of stress on their lives, for example.It will of course have huge benefit in a wellness retreat or medi Spa. Here it should become standard procedure as part of initial consultation. Congratulations and well done on this ground breaking work and all the best for the future.Kind regardsIzak

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