Slow aging with a pill? | Nir Barzilai, MD

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In a new YouTube-exclusive bonus episode, I’m joined by Professor Nir Barzilai to examine the possibility of a drug that could slow aging.

“If you target the biology of aging, which is the risk factor for each one of those diseases, then you don’t prevent one disease – you prevent all the diseases.”

In this episode, Dr Barzilai joins me for an exploration of a potential drug intervention for aging: the diabetes medication metformin. Is it possible to comprehensively target the biomarkers of aging? How much benefit can a medical intervention have over lifestyle factors? Where is the science now, and where is it heading? We discuss these questions and many more in this conversation.

Dr Nir Barzilai is a geroscientist, chaired Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and principal investigator of the Einstein Nathan Shock Center and the Glenn Center in the Biology of Aging Research. His paradigm-changing studies focus on families of centenarians, providing genetic and biological insights on the protection against aging. Dr Barzilai has authored over 300 peer-reviewed papers and received a number of prestigious awards, and is now leading the TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) study, among other research.

“If you actually harness the biology of aging, you can prevent all of those diseases.”

You will learn about the potential functions of metformin as a treatment for aging from a pioneer in the field. We discuss how we can slow aging and increase health span, including the effect metformin could have on a population level. We also cover longevity genes, the significance of growth hormones, and much more.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Can we slow down or even reverse aging? (01:54)
  • The secret of centenarians (05:36)
  • Can genes be the key to unlocking longevity? (12:18)
  • What safe interventions look like (15:53)
  • Treating ageing vs treating diseases (26:07)
  • TAME – Targeting Aging with Metformin (30:24)
  • Effective indicators of health and disease risk (52:04)
  • Can Metformin protect against cognitive decline? (54:44)
  • Metformin and exercise (1:06:40)
  • How promising is Metformin? (1:13:46)
  • Expectations for TAME trial (1:22:50)
  • Tips for achieving good health and targeting hallmarks of ageing (1:25:24)
  • Protein and ageing (1:31:52)
  • Can supplements combat ageing? (1:35:03)
  • Outro (1:38:10)

On The Proof, we often cover lifestyle changes people can implement to improve their health – and this was a very interesting opportunity to examine where the drug-based science is headed for aging. Aging is an intriguing field of study, and I’m glad to have had Dr Barzilai on the show today to offer his insight into the TAME Trial and more information about metformin.

To connect with Dr Nir Barzilai, you can find him on Twitter. Read his book, Age Later: Health Span, Life Span, and the New Science of Longevity, to learn more. Discover the TAME Trial at

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Dr Nir Barzilai

Dr. Barzilai is a Geroscientists, he is a chaired Professor of Medicine and Genetics and Director of the biggest Center to study the Biology of Aging and the principal investigator of the Einstein Nathan Shock Center and the Glenn Center for excellence in Biology of Aging. He was the recipient of an NIH Merit Award aiming to extend the healthy life span in rodents through biological interventions. He also studies families of centenarians that have provided genetic/biological insights on the protection against aging. Several drugs are developed based, in part, on these paradigm-changing studies. He now leads the SuperAgers Initiative ( to recruit 10,000 centenarians and their families to validate and discover new longevity genes. He is also leading the TAME (Targeting/Taming Aging with Metformin) multi-center study to prove that multi-morbidities of aging can be delayed in humans and change the FDA indications to allow for next-generation interventions ( He is also leading an initiative to discover biomarkers of aging (FAST) that are changing with gerotherapeutics.

He is the author of over 300 peer-reviewed papers and a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2010 Irving S. Wright Award for Distinction in Aging Research. He is the 2018 recipient of the IPSEN Longevity award.  He is on the board of AFAR, its scientific director, and a founding member of the Academy for Healthspan and Lifespan and, The Longevity Biotech Association, and the Healthy Longevity Medicine Society. He co-founded CohBar and Lifebiosciences. He has been featured in prominent papers, podcasts, TV programs, and documentaries (3 TEDx and TEDMED). He has been consulting or presented the promise for targeting aging at The Singapore Prime Minister’s Office, the Prime Minister’s office in Israel, several International Banks, The Vatican (x2), Pepsico, Milken Institute (X3), Davos Economical Forum, and featured several times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist and Wired Magazine. His book Age Later was published in the June 2020

Supporting studies

  • Association between metformin and neurodegenerative diseases of observational studies: systematic review and meta-analysis • PMID: 32719079
  • Association of Cardiorespiratory Fitness With Long-term Mortality Among Adults Undergoing Exercise Treadmill Testing • PMID: 30646252
  • Benefits of Metformin in Attenuating the Hallmarks of Aging • PMID:32333835
  • Can people with type 2 diabetes live longer than those without? A comparison of mortality in people initiated with metformin or sulphonylurea monotherapy and matched, non-diabetic controls • PMID: 25041462
  • Deciphering the Roles of Metformin in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Snapshot • PMID: 35153733
  • Effect of Metformin and Lifestyle Interventions on Mortality in the Diabetes Prevention Program and Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study • PMID: 34697033
  • Metformin alters skeletal muscle transcriptome adaptations to resistance training in older adults • PMID: 33071237
  • Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging • PMID: 27304507
  • Metformin blunts muscle hypertrophy in response to progressive resistance exercise training in older adults: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial: The MASTERS trial • PMID: 31557380
  • Metformin inhibits mitochondrial adaptations to aerobic exercise training in older adults • PMID: 30548390
  • Reassessing the evidence of a survival advantage in Type 2 diabetes treated with metformin compared with controls without diabetes: a retrospective cohort study • PMID: 36287641
  • Relationships between memory decline and the use of metformin or DPP4 inhibitors in people with type 2 diabetes with normal cognition or Alzheimer’s disease, and the role APOE carrier status • PMID: 32803865
  • The role of muscle loss in the age-related decline of grip strength: cross-sectional and longitudinal perspectives • PMID: 2335723

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