Study finds hyperbaric oxygen treatments halt the aging of blood cells and reverses the aging process


Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
Credit: Shamir Medical CenterAnti Aging Tips Study finds hyperbaric oxygen treatments halt the aging of blood cells and reverses the aging process

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.

In the biological sense, the adults’ blood cells actually grow
younger as the treatments progress.

The researchers found that a unique protocol of treatments with
high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber can reverse two major
processes associated with aging and its illnesses: the shortening of
telomeres (protective regions located at both ends of every chromosome)
and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body.
Focusing on immune cells containing DNA obtained from the participants’
blood, 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.

The study was led by Professor Shai Efrati of the Sackler School of
Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU and Founder and
Director of the Sagol Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at the Shamir
Medical Center; and Dr. Amir Hadanny, Chief Medical Research Officer of
the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Shamir
Medical Center. The clinical trial was conducted as part of a
comprehensive Israeli research program that targets aging as a
reversible condition.

The paper was published in Aging on November 18, 2020.

“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.”

The researchers exposed 35 healthy individuals aged 64 or over to a
series of 60 hyperbaric sessions over a period of 90 days. Each
participant provided blood samples before, during and at the end of the
treatments as well as some time after the series of treatments
concluded. The researchers then analyzed various immune cells in the
blood and compared the results.

The findings indicated that the treatments actually reversed the aging
process in two of its major aspects: The telomeres at the ends of the
chromosomes grew longer instead of shorter, at a rate of 20%-38% for the
different cell types; and the percentage of senescent cells in the
overall cell population was reduced significantly – by 11%-37% depending
on cell type.

“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.”

Reference: “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases telomere length and
decreases immunosenescence in isolated blood cells: a prospective trial”
by Yafit Hachmo, Amir Hadanny, Ramzia Abu Hamed, Malka Daniel-Kotovsky,
Merav Catalogna, Gregory Fishlev, Erez Lang, Nir Polak, Keren Doenyas,
Mony Friedman, Yonatan Zemel, Yair Bechor and Shai Efrati, 18 November
2020, Aging.