(NaturalNews) No one can argue that Easter Island, located off the coast of Chile in the South Pacific, is one of the most mysterious places on earth. The extremely remote island is home to huge, enigmatic monoliths carved by the one-time inhabitants of the island who settled there over 1,500 years ago. The large-eyed stone figures stare out at the sea as if guarding a secret. Now scientists have uncovered another mystery of Easter Island — one that could be important for the future of humankind. New research suggests that a natural compound found in the soil of the island could be a health-promoting elixir of long life.
If this sounds like a fantasy or hocus pocus, it isn’t. In fact, a study of the compound was just published in the prestigious science journal Nature. Researchers say the biochemical, produced by soil bacteria, has such extraordinary life-extending properties it could lead to a genuine “anti-aging” pill that keeps people young.
Scientists at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at San Antonio and collaborating centers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, gave the Easter Island compound, which is called rapamycin after the island’s Polynesian name Rapa Nui, to middle-aged mice who were the equivalent, in mice years, of 60 year old people. The compound increased the animals’ expected by 28 percent to 38 percent. Place in human perspective, the scientists noted this increase in lifespan would be greater than the predicted increase in extra years of life if all cancers and heart disease could be prevented and cured.
“We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the aging process can be slowed…,” said Randy Strong, Ph.D., who directs the National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded Aging Interventions Testing Center in San Antonio. He is a professor of pharmacology at the UT Health Science Center and a senior research career scientist with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.