Rapamycin, a drug currently undergoing clinical studies at Columbia University, could delay ovary aging and, in turn, delay menopause, while also reducing future symptom severity.
The Columbia clinical study marks the first time the drug has been tested on humans, as it has previously been tested on animals at several clinics, which showed that it could extend lifespan and slow aging. The trial, led by Dr. Zev Williams, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University Fertility Center, and Dr. Yousin Suh, director of the reproductive aging program at Columbia, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study looking at the effects of weekly low dose rapamycin on women ages 35 to 42 over the course of three months. After three months, patients will be monitored for an additional nine months.
The average age of a first-time mother in the USA and UK is 30 & 31, respectively, with more women leaving it later in life to bear children than ever before. This age is considerably higher than the average age of 21 in the 1970s. There are many reasons why this exponential increase has occurred over the last 50 years. However, it can be largely attributed to (1) the cost of rearing a child , (2) education/career aspirations, or (3) failure to meet the right partner. It is also well established that females decline in their ability to successfully bear a child as they age, with a 98% reduction in reproductive cells/egg (termed ‘oocytes’) from birth to age 37 (~2 million to ~25,000). This is further worsened as oocytes decline to ~1,000 by age 50 and the start of menopause .
Therefore, several research groups worldwide have sought to determine methods to understand and prolong a woman’s reproductive lifespan, enhance ovarian health, and mitigate biological age’s detrimental effects on the female reproductive system.
One noteworthy therapeutic is rapamycin, a well-established anti-aging & longevity compound. Among the several benefits of rapamycin to human health, recent research has begun to demonstrate that rapamycin may have significant benefits for women’s health, particularly in preserving ovarian function, fertility, and delaying menopause.
So, what does the science say? In this article, we discuss these exciting findings and how rapamycin may be utilized to enhance reproductive health and longevity in women.