Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), Blood Autophagy, and Phenotypic Age

    A recent study published in Nature indicates that as mice age, the autophagy mechanism that clears old and damaged red blood cells falters, reducing the effectiveness of their blood circulation.  Further, the researchers find that when the mice are given a daily oral supplement of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), blood autophagy improves and makes the mouse blood "younger".

    Possibly related fact:  Two of the most important factors in determining the Levine Phenotypic Age in humans are the parameters MCV and RDW, the mean volume of red blood cells and the variance in the widths of red blood cells.  Why are these blood-based parameters so well correlated with human aging?   The new research suggests that it may be because blood autophagy is failing as the human subjects age.

    The GLA supplement is relatively cheap and available from a number of sources, including LEF at 30 x 400 mg caps for $16.50.  Therefore, I propose a new self-experiment:  take a daily GLA supplement for a month or so and observe whether this reduces your Levine Phenotypic Age.  I just ordered 4 bottles of GLA and plan to give it a try.

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  • I have always suspected that the mechanism that removes old red blood cells declines with age. I think that is why when people donate blood, it helps out in removing old blood cells that the body isnt removing like it should. The data for blood donors shows a large decrease in risk for heart attacks, maybe this gives us a clue why.

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    • Fred Cloud more likely it is that blood donors are healthier. One cannot make conclusions about causality from cohort or case-control studies.

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    • Steve Roedde They followed up and controlled for risk factors and determined that was not merely the case that they were healthier.

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    • Fred Cloud "controlling for known risk factors is not controlling for unknowns. That's just the way it is Fred. These are for hypothesis generation.

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    • Steve Roedde Of course. Am I saying it is proven? No, but all the evidence and conclusions of the studies points to that it is less likely to be the case that it was merely health donors rather than "more likely". Unless you have some some data, evidence or even theory that I havent seen that it is "more likely" rather than "less likely" I would love to see it. But I get the feeling you didnt even read the studies.

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      • Michael
      • Michael.1
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Roedde Fred Cloud Bodybuilders on gear with high levels of red blood cells have been encouraged for decades to donate blood. Bodybuilders on gear are one of the most unhealthy of all segments of the population.

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    • Michael I could send dozens of studies about the well known healthy donor effect. It has long been recommended that research only be done within groups of donors rather than comparing to groups of non donors. Believe what you want on whatever evidence you feel is sufficient. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21342203/

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  • I bought some LEF GLA and will report some results.  So far, no side effects whatsoever.  Been about 3-4 weeks.

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      • JGC
      • Retired Professor of Physics
      • JGC
      • 1 yr ago
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      Jimmy 

           At some point soon, you should arrange for blood tests as inputs for the Levine Phenotypic Age calculation, in order to see if the GLA you have been taking has had any "blood rejuvenating" effects on your MCV and RDW values and your Phenotypic Age.

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    • Jimmy How much GLA are you taking?

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      • Jimmy
      • Jim_N
      • 1 yr ago
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      Fred Cloud 400mg GLA from borage and 10mg from seseme oil once a day

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      • Jimmy
      • Jim_N
      • 1 yr ago
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      JGC It's going to be hard to beat my previous phenotypic age when I ate really well and exercised.  It was -16.24 years.  I'm due for my next blood test in a week or so.

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      • JGC
      • Retired Professor of Physics
      • JGC
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      Jimmy 

      After your new bloodwork, I look forward to learning what difference there is, if any, in your old and new MCV and RDW values.  If there is blood autophagy going on, these should drop.  Or maybe your blood is so good that there is nothing for the autophagy agents to "eat".

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      • JGC
      • Retired Professor of Physics
      • JGC
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      Jimmy 

      Did the -16.24 years come from my Levine Phenotypic Age spreadsheet? It's very hard to get such a low age from that calculation, because Calendar Age is one of the most influential inputs. It's much easier to get a low age from Age.AI or one of the other online bio-age calculators.

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      • Jimmy
      • Jim_N
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      JGC I was hoping someone would ask.  It didn't hit me how low my phenotypic age was until I was comparing my numbers to others.  Yes, it's from the Levine Phenotypic Age spreadsheet.  From what I have seen my results are the best I've seen anywhere.  My results from Jan 2021: 

      Albumin 4.6

      Creatinine .95

      Glucose 83

      CRP  0.2

      Lymphocyte 45.9

      MCV 87.2

      Red Cell Width 12.2

      Alk Phosphatase 58

      WBC 5.3

      Age 41.5

      Phenotypic Age 25.26 years = -16.24

      I don't expect it to be this low next time.  The last time I went super low-carb keto, resulting in a low glucose score.  Since then I've been eating carbs.

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      • Jimmy2
      • Jimmy2
      • 1 yr ago
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      JGC Took about one month of GLA pills around the March timeframe.

      Jan Test:

      MCV - 87.2

      RDW - 12.2

      April Test.

      MCV - 87.7

      RDW - 12.4

      Results got barely worse and probably within the margin of testing errors.  My MCV and RDW have been slowly creeping up.  So the GLA seems to have no significant effects after one month for me.

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      • JGC
      • Retired Professor of Physics
      • JGC
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      Jimmy2 

          Another anti-aging bubble burst!☹️

          Perhaps the blood autophagy effect requires a larger dose than 400 mg/day.  Or perhaps the problem is GLA insolubility and low bioavailability.  GLA is a colorless oil that is immiscible with water but is soluble in many organic solvents.  It dissolves well in ethyl alcohol, for example.🍸

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    • JGC Jimmy2 400mg/d is not a very high dose and 1 month is not a very long treatment duration. Based on that, I think it is a bit premature to totally write it off.

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  • Interesting I just bought a bottle of GLA last week but I haven't opened it yet.

    My Phenotypic Age is March  2021was 49.3 and chronological age is 69.9.  I eat as healthy as I can and I garden for exercise.  I take 2000gm metformin and 5mg tadalafil daily, 7 gm Rapamycin weekly, and 100gm acarbose daily at breakfast (taken with the first bite of oatmeal or oatbran).  Most months I do the Fasting Mimicking Diet using the Prolon kit. I also take many supplements - mostly herbal but some vitamins.  Screenshot of Excel spreadsheet attached.

    Albumin 4.6

    Creatinine .61

    Glucose 78

    CRP  0.35

    Lymphocyte 29.0

    MCV 99.0

    Red Cell Width 11.6

    Alk Phosphatase 55

    WBC 4.0

    Age 69.9

    Phenotypic Age 49.4 years = -20.5

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      • Jimmy
      • Jim_N
      • 1 yr ago
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      David H Thanks for sharing.  Excellent numbers you got there.

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    • David H The biggest determinants in the Pheno formula are: CRP, RDW, Albumin and to some extent Glucose. With such stellar numbers, a much lower PhenoAge is all but guaranteed. Congrats!

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  • I have not access to the study (Behind paywall). Do someone  know what dose GLA they gave the mice?

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