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another compound called resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine that a company called Sirtris Pharmaceuticals studied for potential therapeutic applications. Guarente, who served on the scientific advisory board of the now shuttered Sirtris, says that PT is a better compound than resveratrol because it’s more stable and is also more easily absorbed by the body.
Elysium markets Basis as a health supplement, not a drug, so it did not need clinical trials before entering the market. But Guarente says that because Elysium wants to back up its products with science, the company tested its pill in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study—the same way a drug developer would test an experimental therapeutic. The study enrolled 120 patients, between 60 and 80 years in age, divided into three groups: a placebo arm, a Basis arm, and an arm that received a double dose of Basis. The goals of the two-month study were to measure for an increase in NAD+ levels, as well as to test whether those elevated levels were sustained over a long period of time.
The trial data are still being studied now. But Guarente says that the group that received Basis saw NAD+ levels increase about 40 percent from baseline levels; the increase was even higher in the double dose group. NAD+ levels were unchanged in the placebo arm. Marcotulli says that the trial results mark the first time that a compound has been shown to sustain NAD+ levels. Those results will become the subject of a scientific paper that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, he says.
In the meantime, Elysium is working to build sales of Basis. A bottle of 60 pills (recommended dosage: two pills a day) costs $60. Elysium also offers Basis through subscriptions that range from $50 monthly to $480 a month for an annually. The company only sells its product through its website, which Marcotulli says allows Elysium to interact directly with consumers and provide them information about the research behind Basis. Though Basis is not regulated like a drug, Marcotulli says the company is trying to bring more transparency and scientific rigor to health supplements.