Researchers from Israel have found that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can prevent blood cells from aging and reverse the aging process.
"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," says Professor Efrati, one of the study's authors. "Our achievements over the years included the improvement of brain functions damaged by age, stroke, or brain injury."
For the study, the researchers exposed 35 healthy individuals aged 64 and over to a series of hyperbaric sessions for 90 days. Prior to, during, and after the treatment, the researchers took blood samples from each participant to analyze their immune cells.
In the end, the researchers found that HBOT reversed aging in two major aspects. To begin, they saw that the telomeres at the ends of the participants' chromosomes (a common biomarker for aging) grew longer rather than shorter, as is usually the case over time. Their telemeres grew at a rate of 20%-38% for different cell types.
The researchers also found that the percentage of senescent cells in their blood (higher levels of which are associated with aging) reduced by between 11% and 37% depending on cell type.
"Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening," says Dr. Amir Hadanny, an author of the paper.
"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."