Many of us involved in extending life span and preventing disease are very excited about rapamycin right now. This is because low-dose rapamycin can slow, or even reverse aging. It is the best thing we have to date when it comes to extending life span. There is considerable research in motion on rapamycin and its role in human disease. I am particularly interested in its role in cardiovascular prevention, especially in reversing arterial disease and heart disease.
What is Rapamycin and How Does it Work?
Rapamycin was discovered on Easter Island in 1965. It is made by a bacterium called Streptomyces hygroscopicus and was first used as an antifungal. Because it is a naturally occurring compound it is a naturopathic medicine. It is now used in conventional medicine to prevent organ rejection, after vascular surgery, and as a cancer treatment. There can be considerable side effects of rapamycin with the high doses given for these conditions. The lower doses used for cardiovascular prevention and aging mean that side effects are rare.
The treatment of middle-aged mice with a rapamycin has been shown to extend lifespan and reduce several age associated diseases. Rapamycin works by inhibiting mTOR, a protein that regulates cell growth and survival. Excessive activity of mTOR is directly involved in type 2 diabetes, the growth of cancer, obesity, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Other ways of controlling the expression of mTOR also lead to increased lifespan. These include taking metformin, NAD, fasting, exercise cryotherapy (cold plunge), and sauna.
In groundbreaking work by Randy Strong and molecular biologist David Sharp, it was discovered that when older mice (20 months old which is equivalent to about 60 human years) were given rapamycin in their feed they lived between 28% and 38% longer than the mice that did not get rapamycin. This would be the equivalent of six to nine extra years in humans. Scientists have proven that rapamycin can extend the life of yeast, flies, and worms as well.
Rapamycin for Cardiovascular Disease Treatment and Prevention
Heart attacks and stroke are still the main causes of death in humans. Aging is a risk factor for these conditions because aging damages the integrity of the vascular system. Arteries become more susceptible to scarring, plaque buildup, tearing with subsequent clotting and healing, loss of elasticity, and increased stiffness.
Aging arteries are generally more susceptible to all imaginable insults: air pollution, elevated blood sugar, high LDL, high cortisol, oxidative stress, physical stress, toxins in the diet, and inflammation.
Aging arteries have increased mTOR activation and this can be reversed with rapamycin. In a 2017 study rapamycin reversed arterial aging in mice . In this experiment endothelial function improved. The endothelium is a critical protective layer within the inner lining of the artery that acts kind of like a shield against all insults. Nitric oxide levels also increased after rapamycin in this experiment. Nitric oxide release is an important protective mechanism.
Rapamycin reduces oxidative stress within the artery wall and improves the ability of the artery to dilate, therefore increasing blood flow. It was found that rapamycin can mimic the effects of lifelong calorie restriction on arterial stiffness by reducing collagen and making arteries more flexible. Flexible arteries improve blood flow and make it easier for blood pressure to stay optimal.
Rapamycin can also improve cardiac function and cardiac muscle structure. Rapamycin has been shown to be cardioprotective in pressure-overloaded and ischemic heart diseases by regulating the mTOR signaling network.  Human studies are rapidly underway on patients with heart failure and vascular diseases.
Rapamycin Dosage for Cardiovascular Disease
The dosage schedule for life extension, the treatment of cardiovascular disease, and optimal aging is individualized and typically given just once a week. It is better to suppress mTOR in a pulsatile fashion, not all the time. Side effects from rapamycin when given at a low dose, though rare, can include stomach upset, dizziness, sore throat, lack of appetite, and increased sweating.
Whether you are considering rapamycin for anti-aging properties, or for cardiovascular treatment and prevention, the data shows it is worth looking into.
NatureMed is currently accepting patients for rapamycin treatment, call today: 303-884-7557.
 Lesniewski LA, Seals DR, Walker AE, Henson GD, Blimline MW, Trott DW, Bosshardt GC, LaRocca TJ, Lawson BR, Zigler MC, Donato AJ. Dietary rapamycin supplementation reverses age-related vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress, while modulating nutrient-sensing, cell cycle, and senescence pathways. Aging Cell. 2017 Feb;16(1):17-26.
 Gao G, Chen W, Yan M, Liu J, Luo H, Wang C, Yang P. Rapamycin regulates the balance between cardiomyocyte apoptosis and autophagy in chronic heart failure by inhibiting mTOR signaling. Int J Mol Med. 2020 Jan;45(1):195-209.