Israeli scientists claim that they have managed to not only successfully stop the biological aging process but to reverse it, using only oxygen.

There are many uses of hyperbaric oxygen chambers in the medical field. As they can be used to treat wounds and can place a human under enough pressure that oxygen can be forced directly into the tissue without the need for blood flow. 

A new study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Shamir Medical Center in Israel indicates that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can stop the aging of blood cells and reverse the aging process using the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

The researchers found that using hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) on aging healthy adults, the researchers found the shortening of telomeres (chromosome ends) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body could be reversed. 

During the study, the researchers investigated if oxygen therapy in a pressurized environment would reverse the effects of aging in some 35 adults over the age of 64 who took part in the study and were given HBOT for 90 minutes a day, five times a week for three months.

The team studied the impact on senescent cells, which are associated with tissue and organ deterioration. Researchers also measure the length of each participant’s telomere, which is a molecule linked to premature cellular aging.

The study discovered a lengthening of up to 38% of the telomeres, as well as a decrease of up to 37% in the presence of senescent cells.

According to the team of scientists, that’s the equivalent of being 25 years younger. Participants in the trial weren’t required to change their lifestyle, diet, or medications, all things that have been proven in the past to impact a person’s biological age.

Researchers, including doctors from the Shamir Medical Center, believed that the pressurized chamber triggered brief oxygen shortages, causing cell regeneration. The team says it’s remarkable that they achieved such significant telomere elongation in only three months of therapy.

“For many years our team has been engaged in hyperbaric research and therapy – treatments based on protocols of exposure to high-pressure oxygen at various concentrations inside a pressure chamber,” Professor Efrati explains. “Our achievements over the years included the improvement of brain functions damaged by age, stroke or brain injury. 

“In the current study we wished to examine the impact of HBOT on healthy and independent aging adults, and to discover whether such treatments can slow down, stop or even reverse the normal aging process at the cellular level.”

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Professor Efrati says. “Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening,” Dr. Hadanny adds. “But in our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications. With this pioneering study, we have opened a door for further research on the cellular impact of HBOT and its potential for reversing the aging process.

The study was published in Aging magazine on November 18.

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