The fountain of youth has long been a common trope of pop culture. Over the years, literature, film and even tourist attractions have all been built on the foundation that taking a sip from the fountain will provide rejuvenation if not eternal life.
For all the fiction and false promise the fountain has given us, new research has shown the reservoir of youth might be less fantastical than we think.
It all has to do with Buckminsterfullerene, a molecule composed of 60 carbon atoms, bonded together in the shape of a geodesic sphere. The substance has potential medical applications in the treatment of cancer and HIV, and even in the creation of body armor.
But could Buckminsterfullerene — also known as buckyballs — be used make us live longer? Some new research out of the Université Paris-Sud suggests so.
In a clinical trial, three groups of rats were fed different substances. The first was given a control, the second was fed olive oil and the third was fed a combination of olive oil and Buckminsterfullerene. The control group had a lifespan of only 22 months while the strictly olive oil group lived an average of 26 months.
However, researchers got quite a surprise with the olive oil/buckeyball group. Rats that ingested that mixture lived an astounding 42 months.
No research has been done on humans yet, but as the crow's feet start to carve their way into the corners of my eyes, a man can dream can't he?
The researchers published their findings in the April 10 edition of Biomaterials. According to thier findings, Buckminsterfullerene works by reducing the oxidative stress that causes aging.
"These results of importance in the fields of medicine and toxicology should open the way for the many possible applications of fullerene, including cancer therapy, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing," the article explains.
Whatever cup you use to drink from the fountain of youth, above all, make sure you choose wisely.