A new study says buckyballs—aka Buckminsterfullerine, an organic compound composed of 60 carbon atoms studied by many a high school chemistry student—could be a fountain of youth…or at least, a pretty good anti-aging solution. In fact, some hope that a teaspoon a day could help us live to 150. (But first they’ll need to test it out on animals besides rodents.)
The study, published in Biomaterials, is based on clinical trials conducted at Université Paris Sud in France, whereby rats were fed Buckminsterfullerine to gauge its toxicity. Researchers compared three groups of rats: One was a control, one was fed olive oil, and the third was fed a combination of olive oil and Buckminsterfullerine. The control group lived an average of 22 months, the olive oil-only group lived 26 months (go olive oil!), and the group that dined on buckballs lived a jaw-dropping 42 months on average. Not bad for something researchers thought was toxic, right?
Researchers suspect that the Buckminsterfullerine works like an anti-oxidant, which prevent aging through reducing oxidative stress on cells and DNA. The research has a long way to go before it can be applied to humans (and it’s somewhat disconcerting that the researchers were originally testing the compound for toxicity, not health benefits), but we’re curious: If scientists do develop an anti-aging treatment that could help you live to 150, would you want to?
Tell us why or why not in the comments section below.