·       The US Military has completed pre-clinical safety and dosing studies of an “anti-aging” pill and are gearing up for follow-up performance testing in fiscal year 2022.
·       The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is partnering with the company MetroBiotech, advised by anti-aging specialist Dr. David Sinclair, to test the NAD+-boosting supplement.

As the US Military continues investing in modern weaponry and artificial intelligence, they’re also turning to human performance research to enhance their manpower. The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) – an armed services unit that oversees special operations – will perform clinical trials for an anti-aging pill with this purpose in mind. SOCOM will team up with the company Metro International Biotech, LLC (MetroBiotech) to test the pill’s ability to inhibit the effects of aging and injury, part of the Pentagon’s broader push to improve troop physical performance.

Military Funding Sources Allow Biotech Sector Collaborations

The anti-aging supplement “has the potential, if it is successful, to truly delay aging, truly prevent the onset of injury – which is just amazingly game changing,” said Lisa Sanders, director of science and technology for the Special Operations Forces, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) in a press release. SOCOM will use Other Transaction Authority (OTA) funds to collaborate with MetroBiotech for developing the pill.

According to Sanders, the use of OTA funding has allowed SOCOM to “explore things in this burgeoning sector of biotechnology,”. The SOCOM science and technology director says that funding sources like the OTA have allowed SOCOM to partner with industry and research institutes to propel research that could result in health benefits for the troops.

The Military’s Partnership with MetroBiotech

Harvard scientist and anti-aging expert David Sinclair leads the board of advisors for MetroBiotech. Although details about the pill’s composition remain murky, MetroBiotech and David Sinclair have developed anti-aging products like MIB-626 with the molecule nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). NMN is a precursor for and boosts levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a crucial cofactor involved in over 400 metabolic reactions in cells. Falling NAD+ levels during aging are linked with age-related metabolic, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases, and increasing its levels may have the opposite effects to rejuvenate the body and enhance performance.

Boosting NAD+ for Longer, Healthier Lives

Nutraceuticals like the anti-aging pill SOCOM is testing contain health-enhancing food additives that boost NAD+ levels. According to what MetroBiotech’s business model proposes, increasing NAD+ levels during aging may help people to live longer and healthier lives.

“These efforts are not about creating physical traits that don’t already exist naturally. This is about enhancing the mission readiness of our forces by improving performance characteristics that typically decline with age,” said Navy Commander Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesperson. “Essentially, we are working with leading industry partners and clinical research institutions to develop a nutraceutical, in the form of a pill that is suitable for a variety of uses by both civilians and military members, whose resulting benefits may include improved human performance like increased endurance and faster recovery from injury.”

“We have completed pre-clinical safety and dosing studies in anticipation of performance testing in fiscal year 2022,” according to Hawkins.

Studies have already found that supplementing with the NAD+ precursor NMN improves insulin sensitivity in older women and enhances muscle performance in aged men. Figuring out whether boosting NAD+ levels can enhance troop performance will be a big step toward confirming whether NAD+ really is a promising molecular target for improving human health. If so, increasing NAD+ levels with precursors may present an exciting way to expand the number of healthy years we live.