Written by Kirsty Gillmore, Nutritional Therapist (BA Hons, DipCNM). www.livelovebalance.co.uk
Carbon 60 (also known as C60, Buckminsterfullerene, Buckyball and C60 Fullerene), is a recently discovered molecule that is thought to have powerful, positive effects on the human body. Since 1993, evidence of its potential health benefits has been expanding. In 2012, the “Baati Rat Study” was published, which looked at the toxicity level of C60 on male Wister rats.
Results of the famous study showed remarkable results. While olive oil treatment led to an increase of 18% of lifespan of treated rats, C60-olive oil increased lifespan up to 90% compared to controls. Lead investigator Fathi Moussa stated “We are not specialists of aging. Our goal was just to study chronic toxicity.”
What is C60?
Professor Moussa and his team also discovered that C60 acts as a powerful antioxidant. Its abilities to fight free radicals far surpass many other well known antioxidant compounds. Furthermore, the study revealed that the C60 dosing also helped to protect the rats’ livers.
How do antioxidants work?
The term ‘antioxidant’ is used to identify a compound that inhibits oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cellular components including DNA, proteins and lipids.
For this reason, it is important to keep oxidative stress to a minimum, and obtain enough antioxidants from the diet to offset damage. As modern lifestyles become increasingly exposed to environmental stressors, a diet rich in antioxidants becomes evermore important to offset free radical damage.
Processed food, alcohol, tobacco smoke, air pollution, heavy metals, pharmaceutical drugs, Wi-Fi, microwaves, electricity and pesticides are just some examples of stressors. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are highly reactive with other cellular structures because they contain unpaired electrons. They damage cellular structures through a process called ‘oxidation’.
Antioxidants (also known as ‘free radical scavengers’), are compounds that either reduce the formation of free radicals, or react with and neutralise them. Antioxidants donate to, or accept, an electron from the free radical, before it can oxidise other cell components. However, when the antioxidant neutralises a free radical it becomes inactive, meaning it is no longer able to perform further protective actions.
The ideal antioxidant is left in a stable formation after it has donated electrons. However, some antioxidants become unstable after donation, as they require another electron in order to stabilise themselves. Vitamin C is an example of an a compound that can work as both an antioxidant and a pro-oxidant.
C60 as an antioxidant
C60 stands out above other traditional antioxidants because it has the ability to both accept and donate electrons. In addition, it does not get degraded and rendered inactive by accepting or donating electrons. The oil used to suspend the C60 fullerenes in the 2012 “Baati Rat Study” study, allows the C60 to sit in the lipid bilayers of cell walls, constantly neutralising free radicals that reach the cells or mitochondria.
The Baati Rat Study also found that rats treated with C60 did not develop tumours or lung disease – complications which commonly occur in the Wistar rat species. Instead, they died of general organ failure at a much older age than the control group (who did develop pneumonia and/or tumours).
It is speculated that C60 supports longevity by maintaining the length of telomeres, components of DNA strands which prevent the ends of chromosomes from fraying and sticking together. For this reason, some people have likened telomeres to the plastic tips on shoe laces. In one study of subjects who had been taking C60 for 2 years or more, telomere length was found to be unusually long for the subject age group.
Scientist Ken Swartz theorises, “C60 awakens the mitochondria and triggers apoptosis in senescent cells and then signals the stem cell to begin replacing lost cells. Stem cells are greatly stimulated by C60 and because C60 increases signal clarity by getting rid of the oxidative burden, molecules can communicate clearly without being degraded by oxidative radicals. Ken explained that with this process, telomeres probably become longer.”
Potential health benefits of C60
C60 used topically has been linked to improved skin health, including the reduction of cellulite, protection against UV damage, reduction of wrinkles, and acne relief.
Studies suggest C60 may help improve hair growth, by protecting the cells around hair follicles from oxidative stress.
Athletes have reported enhanced performance, stamina and energy during their races, since supplementing with C60. There seems to be a link to improved recovery time, too.
It is thought that the antioxidant properties of C60 can help relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, potentially due to it’s ability to suppress the body’s natural inflammatory response.
Although research on C60 is showing promising results, much of the evidence relates to rat studies. We therefore require further investigation in order to confirm the health benefits in humans. Additionally, most research currently relates to C60 oil, rather than C60 in it’s original state. However, there is some growing evidence that indicates C60 powder when taken in capsules can have benefits for balancing the body’s pH level, by increasing alkalinity. In this way, the powder form has also shown benefits in helping reduce cellulite.
Kirsty Gillmore is a Nutritional Therapist and Nutrition & Sales Support for G&G Vitamins. Kirsty is also the Founder of LLB Nutrition, an online nutritional therapy clinic and wellness blog. www.livelovebalance.co.uk