Life Extension Magazine®

Lab worker testing deprenyl and overlay of brain with affected areas

The Most Sought-After Anti-Aging Drug

Back in the 1980s-1990s, Life Extension battled the FDA to approve a European drug called deprenyl. We fought hard because deprenyl studies showed longevity benefits in animals and increases of “feel-good” dopamine in humans. The FDA finally approved deprenyl, but only for treating Parkinson’s. Compelling research shows that a green oat extract exerts the same mechanism as deprenyl to preserve brain dopamine levels.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in May 2022. Written by: William Faloon.

William Faloon
William Faloon

In the 1980s-1990s, published studies in Europe showed remarkable life span increases in animals given a drug called deprenyl.1-6

In elderly rats treated with deprenyl, remaining life span doubled in response to the drug.2 Aged dogs given deprenyl had twice the survival rate compared with placebo-treated dogs.7 Mice that were immune-suppressed lived up to about 200% longer on deprenyl.8 (Most elderly humans suffer immune suppression).9,10

Not only were life spans lengthened, but some deprenyl-supplemented animals displayed more youthful energy levels, as related to sexual activity.2

This outpour of scientific data from Europe had aging Americans clamoring to get their hands on deprenyl. It started being used in Europe to treat Parkinson’s disease in the 1970s, but the FDA did not approve deprenyl until 1989.11

When deprenyl was finally approved, it cost Americans 4 times more money than what Europeans were paying for the identical drug.12 Unwilling to pay this extortionist price, Americans began ordering personal-use supplies from Europe.

The FDA struck back and launched criminal investigations against those seeking to make deprenyl more affordable.13 The FDA did this at the behest of the drug company that owned the patent on deprenyl.

One individual made a liquid form of deprenyl that sold quite well until he was arrested by the FDA and sent to prison for almost 13 years.12,14 Back in those days, deprenyl was the most sought-after anti-aging drug.

Some of our supporters still use deprenyl, though getting a physician to prescribe it for anti-aging purposes is sometimes impossible. This article will describe how Americans can now derive the anti-aging mechanism of deprenyl in a low-cost nutrient.

Deprenyl is a drug the FDA approved to treat early-stage Parkinson’s disease. It was enthusiastically greeted by neurologists when first approved in the United States, but its therapeutic effect on advanced Parkinson’s patients was disappointing.15,16

That’s because a significant drop in dopamine occurs before symptoms of Parkinson’s disease become evident. Therefore, most Parkin-son’s patients have already lost so many dopamine-producing neurons that deprenyl is of little value.17,18

Deprenyl enhances the anti-Parkinson effects of standard drugs.19,20 Its primary mechanism is to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that destroys dopamine.

Longevity enthusiasts realized 30 years ago that if low-dose deprenyl is initiated before the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, the brain might be protected against Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

By inhibiting this dopamine-degrading enzyme, it was theorized, people might not only live longer, but behave younger.

This same enzyme (MAO-B) may be involved in the destruction of dopamine-producing neurons.

Dopamine Levels in the Brain

Prior to age 45 in people, dopamine levels remain fairly stable.21 After that, dopamine in the human brain decreases by about 13% each decade.22

When the dopamine-producing neuron content in the brain reaches about 30% of normal, Parkinson’s symptoms may be present.20

When dopamine levels reach 10% of normal, death ensues.21,23

This has led to the hypothesis that if we live long enough, we will all develop Parkinson’s symptoms due to dopamine depletion in our brains.24,25

How Deprenyl Works in the Brain

How Deprenyl Works in the Brain  

Monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) is an enzyme in the brain that degrades neurotransmitters like dopamine.26

As humans age, MAO-B levels begin to increase and degrade precious dopamine and other neurotransmitters.27-29

Deprenyl is a selective inhibitor of MAO-B.22,28,30 As little as 5 mg twice a week of deprenyl is all aging humans may need to maintain their dopamine at youthful levels.31,32

Parkinson’s patients were prescribed 10 mg a day of deprenyl. The inventor of the drug (Dr. Joseph Knoll) believed this dose was too high.31,33-35

It was long ago hypothesized that low-dose deprenyl might help prevent degenerative brain diseases and improve the quality of life.36,37 This is evidenced by increased “mounting frequency” in old male rats treated with deprenyl compared to untreated controls.38-41

Dopamine is a primary “feel-good” neurotransmitter that progressively depletes as humans age.42,43 By restoring dopamine and other neurotransmitter levels using low-dose deprenyl, aging humans may regain some of their youthful sense of well-being.44

Deprenyl has demonstrated intriguing anti-aging properties.1,45 Animals given relatively low doses of the drug live much longer than control groups not receiving deprenyl.

Need to Suppress MAO-B in Aging Brains

The enzyme monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) serves a function in youth by keeping neurotransmitter levels from elevating too high.46 As we age past 45 years, however, MAO-B levels begin a steady rise that results the depletion in dopamine seen in elderly individuals.21,22,29,47

MAO-B also may inflict toxic damage to brain cells via several well-defined mechanisms.29,48-50

Excess MAO-B not only deprives us of our youthful emotions by depleting dopamine, but also impairs cognitive functions by decreasing acetylcholine while simultaneously accelerating brain aging.51-55

People today should take steps to suppress MAO-B levels as they age past 45 years. Those who are already taking low-dose deprenyl (5 mg twice a week) may be deriving enormous benefits by protecting against MAO-B toxicity.21

The problem is that most doctors will not prescribe deprenyl to non-Parkinson’s patients. Insurance companies are unlikely pay for “off-label” use.

Green Oat Helps Facilitate Smoking Cessation
Green Oat Helps Facilitate Smoking Cessation

Nicotine addiction can be so difficult to overcome that some smokers who develop lung disease still cannot stop and slowly suffocate themselves to death with emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).61-63

FDA-approved smoking cessation drugs like Chantix® are laden with so many horrific side effects that few patients can tolerate them.64-66

One of the many mechanisms of nicotine addiction is its effect on dopamine levels in the brain.67-69 Without nicotine, dopamine levels rapidly drop in smokers,70 making quitting deadly tobacco habits unbearable for many individuals.

Green oat extract was studied on a group of male smokers. The result showed that self-reported number of cigarettes smoked per day dropped from an average of 19.5 to 8.9—a more than 50% decrease.71

These smoking-reduction results are thought to occur in response to the improvement in dopaminergic transmission induced by the green oat extract.

MAO-B-Inhibiting Nutrient

A unique extract from a wild variety of green oat has demonstrated MAO-B-inhibiting properties. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover studies have confirmed green oat’s neurological benefits.56,57

One study of 20 people aged 30 to 60 years showed increases in electrical brain activity during concentration tests in response to supplementation with this green oat extract. At two hours, there was about a 38% increase in delta activity and about a 25% increase in theta activity compared to placebo.57 Enhanced delta and theta activity is associated with increased focus and concentration, perceptual speed, and executive functioning.58

A second human clinical trial involved 36 elderly people with average to below-average levels of cognitive performance. Those taking the green oat extract showed a 65% improvement in a test of cognitive function compared to the placebo arm of the study. Even study subjects with mild cognitive impairment showed greater than 26% improvement on the overall cognitive test score.56

A third study involved 42 people with self-reported age-related cognitive decline. The mean age of this group was about 59 years. In response to supplementation with this green oat extract, a test called “global speed of performance” increased by about 180% compared to the placebo arm of the study. This same clinical trial showed small but statistically significant improvements in executive function, episodic memory, and working memory.59

After a series of successful animal studies, these human trials are showing promising results in neurological performance in response to supplementation with green oat extract.60

Winning the War against Biological Aging

There are mechanisms of aging that health conscious individuals have been able to circumvent with proper use of hormones, nutrients, lifestyle modifications, and certain prescription drugs.

A missing gap in our quest to protect against neurological aging was the inability to persuade more physicians to prescribe low-dose deprenyl to their patients over age 45. We certainly tried, running full page ads in major newspapers in the early 1990s attacking the FDA for delaying approval of deprenyl. We also berated the FDA for enabling deprenyl to become so expensive when Americans were finally allowed access to it.

With new research supporting the MAO-B-inhibiting effects of this novel green oat extract, Americans can now safely and affordably reduce their brain levels of this dopamine-degrading enzyme.

Annual Super Sale

It was back in 1988 that I realized our supporters needed an extra discount once a year so they can stock up on supplements they use throughout the year.

The response to our annual Super Sale is so overwhelming that those who wait to call on the last day are often put on hold for many minutes, something that almost never happens during any other day of the year.

Our scientific team continues to develop better products at lower overall prices.

The discounts when purchasing four or more bottles are enormous, as are the valuable Reward Dollars that are automatically credited with every purchase.

It is during the Super Sale period, however, when prices on all of our advanced nutrient formulas are most sharply discounted.

Your support enables many research projects aimed at slowing and reversing biological aging to continue and grow.

To order your supply of nutrients for the upcoming year, call us any time of the day or night at 1-800-544-4440.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon


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