Anti-aging is a hot topic - and has been for millennia.
Cleopatra, the queen of Ptolemaic Egypt, who courted Julius Caesar, was famous for her 'anti-aging' milk baths (1). The English queen Mary used wine baths to enhance beauty and keep herself young.
Today, most 80-year-olds want to be 60 again. 60-year-olds want to be 40, and 40-year-olds want to be 20.e
And if you're 20?
Well, in that case you'll think you live forever and there's no problem.
Next to cosmetics and plastic surgery many new tools are offered that may help you look (and even be) younger.
One offering is a supplement called "Qualia Life". Qualia Life is produced by a company called "Neurohacker" and aims to counter the effects of aging at the cellular level.
In this blog post I'm exploring how viable Qualia Life accomplishes its purported anti-aging purpose.
So if you're on the Neurohacker website and searching for the Eternus product, check out Qualia Life instead!
We've now renamed the product in this extensive review! Keep in mind that the formula hasn't changed with the name change from Eternus to Qualia Life...
This review of Qualia Life's ingredients is broken up into two parts. I'll review:
I'll then make a verdict whether these ingredients really help you slow down aging. The last section has a big-picture perspective and concludes.
Neurohacker, the company that produces Qualia Life, has also responded to this blog post - their response is readable here.
If you want to buy Qualia Life right away, click HERE (use discount code FERGUS to save 15% on your order).
But first, the next section discusses several theories of aging. That info helps you understand how and why aging occurs - insofar science has discovered these mechanisms.
The previous Neurohacker Eternus bottle that has now been renamed to Qualia Life!
I do want to give on caveat regarding this Qualia Life's ingredient review:
Laying bare the different biochemical pathways that are affected by a single ingredient in Qualia Life in relation to anti-aging could already take 50 pages of content. Reviewing more than 35 ingredients - which can all affect each others' effects as well, is therefore highly complex. The caveat to this review is that it's only 8,000 words long and oversimplifying at many places. An exhaustive review of the mechanism of each of Qualia Life's ingredients and their interaction would take hundreds of pages and would not be read by most people. I've thus exclusively included what I deem the most important effects that Qualia Life has on the aging process.
Before digging into all the ingredients of the Qualia Life supplement, I'll first consider what aging fundamentally is:
So what is aging actually - and how to understand it?
Examples of processes or structures breaking down during aging are:
Many more mechanisms (and theories of mechanisms) for aging exist, some having better scientific evidence than others.
In essence, aging is extremely complex, not well understood, and its scientific understanding is still developing.
It's highly unlikely though, that one single mechanism can be controlled to slow down, stop, or reverse aging. Hence: you need a multi-factorial approach that (hopefully) affects all of the aforementioned mechanisms.
This section will consider all the vitamins and minerals in this product step-by-step. For each vitamin and mineral, I've included the "Daily Value" or DV.
The Daily Value is the "Recommended Daily Allowance" - the minimum amount of a certain nutrient that you need to consume to stay healthy.
A strong case can be made that nutritional deficiencies speed up the aging process because nutritional deficiencies are associated with all kinds of health problems.
Let me explain:
You'd think that in the developed world - with plenty and even excess food availability - such deficiencies no longer exist. However, deficiencies are still widespread, because:
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are widespread, in part, because of the low-quality diets many people have. Stressors such as psychological stress or sleep deprivation also increase your need for nutrients.
Hence, Neurohacker's choice to include vitamins and minerals in Qualia Life is a sound one. Let's thus explore these included vitamins and minerals:
Why include this vitamin? Remember: many people are vitamin K2 deficient.
Vitamin K2 is the animal form of vitamin K. The vitamin is mostly found in animal products, but also in fermented soy (natto) (23).
I'd prefer to have seen a vitamin K2 Menaquinone-4 (MK4) form as this is the form most common in animal foods. I also believe the MK4 form works better precisely because it's absorbed very quickly.
The dosage of 50 micrograms is good--although some of my favorite supplements such as Thorne K2 have a 20-fold higher dose per serving.
Vitamin K2 is necessary to deposit calcium in the right places of the body (24). Disease risk such as diabetes or heart disease also goes down with this vitamin (25; 26). Vitamin K2 also supports organ functions such as that of your kidneys - although only proven in animal studies (27).
Verdict: MK7's addition is good, but could be improved upon with MK4. The dosage might also be doubled or tripled for better effects - many people are vitamin K2 deficient.
Very high dose here of thiamine HCL - or vitamin B1.
Thiamine is essential for basic metabolic processes, such as breaking down proteins and carbohydrates. As thiamine is a vitamin, you cannot survive nor be healthy without this compound.
There's no one category of foods that's great for thiamine consumption - many foods contain at least some thiamine.
The question is, should this compound be taken in such a high dose? Well, while more is not better, many people might function better on higher doses. In a condition associated with thiamin deficiency, called "beriberi", doses up to 500 milligrams are used (28).
Adding thiamin might also have benefits for overall mitochondrial function (29).
Verdict: great addition, although I'm unsure about the necessity of very high doses for otherwise healthy people.
Riboflavin has been brought into the spotlight because of its effect on MTHFR. MTHFR is related to "methylation" - the metabolism of single-carbons in the body (30). Chris Masterjohn has unified some great research on the relationship between B2 and MTHFR function.
You may think: "aren't I getting enough ribovlafin in my diet?!"
Well, liver is almost certainly the best riboflavin food on the planet, and yet, many people aren't eating that food in sufficient amounts. Other organ meats are also great riboflavin sources.
Riboflavin absorption also decreases with age, as more people have riboflavin deficiencies at old age (34). Even with sufficient intake, 25% of men and 20% of women are marginally deficient in this nutrient.
Neurohacker's use of plain old regular riboflavin, and not one of its counterparts, is great.
Verdict: great addition, but, the dosage is proportionally low compared to thiamin.
I've carried out an in-depth review of the different forms of niacin, and their effects on anti-aging, in my previous blog post on Megadosing Nicotinamide Riboside Or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Dangerous Or Smart?
In that blog post, I've made the case that higher niacin doses might give you side-effects if not dealt with properly.
Additionally, I don't favor the "niacinamide" and "nicotinic acid" versions included in this product but prefer the "nicotinamide riboside". Yes, the latter is more expensive, but may have additional benefits over the more regular versions (35).
(Neurohacker doesn't think niacin versions other than "niacinamide" and "nicotinic acid" are necessary, contrary to me.)
Nonetheless, the inclusion of niacin is an anti-aging stack very much warranted.
The reason niacin is so beneficial is that it increases "NAD+" levels in your cells. Improving NAD+ through niacin increases energy-production especially at old age when NAD+ naturally declines (36; 37).
The benefit of higher NAD+ levels in old age may also free up more energy for many processes in the body, thereby potentially slowing down the aging process.
Another anti-aging benefits of niacin are aiding DNA repair - which is one of the fundamental factors of aging (38; 39). One last benefit is that niacin also boosts overall nutrient absorption, which also declines with (40; 41). Simply put, you need niacin to be able to digest food.
Niacin thus affects many of the aging factors that I've treated in the previous section.
Verdict: it's great Neurohacker included niacin into this product, but, as Qualia Life is priced at $160 at their website, nicotinamide riboside should have been included.
First impression of Neurohacker's use of vitamin B6: great!
The active form of vitamin B6 is used, and the dose is not too high. Higher vitamin B6 doses can cause toxicity, specifically neurological symptoms (42).
Not that many people are actually deficient in this vitamin, so (extremely) high doses are unnecessary - Neurohacker got this right as well.
So how many people are deficient?
Well, about 10% of young Canadian women still have sub-optimal levels (43). Once you get older, moreover, deficiency levels skyrocket to ~50% (45). Including vitamin B6 is thus a great choice by Neurohacker.
The form of vitamin B6 included here, called "pyridoxal 5'-phosphate" (P5P), is arguably the best form of vitamin B6 on the market today. The case can even be made that commonly-used vitamin B6 supplements are counterproductive (44).
Why include vitamin B6 in an anti-aging supplement?
Simple: the older you get, the greater the (apparent) deficiency risk.
This vitamin is essential for creating certain neurotransmitters, such as "GABA" (involved in relaxation) and "serotonin" (happiness) (46; 47). Without proper neurotransmitter functioning your sleep deteriorates - serotonin converts into melatonin at night, for instance, which helps you sleep deeper.
Consistent poor sleep quality speeds up the aging process as well, of course.
And there's more: gene expression is also affected by vitamin B6 (48). Once again, this vitamin affects several of the aging factors I've treated before.
Of course, the central question is whether you could not get this nutrient from food - the answer is "yes". Grains and meats are the best vitamin B6 sources.
Verdict: vitamin B6 is supplied in the correct form and dose, and is likely (indirectly) beneficial for anti-aging purposes.
Great: two types of "folate", also known as vitamin B9.
The "calcium folinate" addition is great and well-absorbed. I would have preferred to see 200 micrograms of calcium folinate instead of the other version. Neurohacker's reasoning for including both is probably that some studies show an advantage of using both versions together (51).
The central question is whether you should supplement with vitamin B9 though...
Well, many people already have high intakes of the inferior "folic acid" version due to its use in the food fortification program. All grains in the US and other developed countries, for instance, have folic acid added to them (54; 55).
And yet, most older people do have folate deficiencies (56).
Folate deficiency, in turn, is associated with higher "homocysteine" levels. High homocysteine levels are a sign your methylation cycle - the single carbon metabolism of your body - is working improperly.
Nonetheless, excess folate intake is not necessarily safe either (63). Hence, personalized supplementation would be better than Qualia Life's one-size-fits-all approach -- but such critique can be level upon all supplement stacks.
Qualia Life's B9 dose is not extremely high so it's almost certainly safe as well...
Want to get B9 from food? A wide variety of plants contain vitamin B9 - liver is the animal food highest in this vitamin.
Verdict: vitamin B9 is included in the correct dose and forms. If you're vitamin B9 deficient, this supplement will exhibit direct anti-aging effects.
Two types of vitamin B12 - a choice that is justifiable once again. Both forms are high-quality vitamin B12 as well (64).
(Neurohacker also assumes that people take both Qualia Life's and their Qualia nootropic supplement - in that case, the B12 dose would be far higher.)
So, how does vitamin B12 relate to the aging process?
There's thus lots of merit for including this ingredient...
Verdict: vitamin B12 is supplied in the correct form, but perhaps not in the correct dose. I recommend reducing the dose by at least half - especially if people also take Neurhacker's other Qualia supplement. The same can be said for other B-vitamins as well.
Biotin is frequently called "vitamin B7" and thus fits well into this ingredient list. Biotin deficiencies are rare though - especially if you're following a good diet - and the link to anti-aging is once again related to metabolic purposes (75; 76).
The (potential) effect of biotin on the aging process has not been investigated in great detail yet.
Additionally, it's hard to go wrong with low doses of this compound so it's inclusion is nice.
Verdict: good addition, but nothing special. Arguably adding biotin is unnecessary.
Pantothenic Acid is also known as vitamin B5.
You need the vitamin for mental well-being, energy production, skin health, and more (80).
Verdict: once again, good the ingredient is added but nothing special.
Many people need more magnesium. In fact, depending on the outcome you like to see on the gold standard "red blood cell" magnesium test, about 80% of people are mildly deficient and 40% severely deficient (81; 82; 83).
Many people thus have a magnesium problem.
Yes, that problem exists even in the developed world. I quote from once source that does not fully share the severity of my own interpretation of the data:
"It is currently estimated that 60% of adults do not achieve the average dietary intake (ADI) and 45% of Americans are magnesium deficient" (83).
And yet, various reasons also exist why you'd want to include magnesium in an anti-aging product:
Great, so Neurohacker did a great job adding magnesium to this supplement, right?
Well, not so quick...
Merely 48 milligrams of elemental magnesium are supplied in this product. For recovering from magnesium deficiency, I recommend 200 milligrams as a rock-bottom level. Many of my clients need 400 and sometimes even 800 milligrams of elemental magnesium to recover adequately levels.
The limitation that Neurohacker has is that if they'd include 200 milligrams of elemental magnesium, perhaps up to 2 grams of extra pills would be needed. A correct form of magnesium does therefore not fit into one or two pills.
And yet, by taking a pill approach for supplementation, instead of sachets or another dosing mechanism, Neurohacker is limiting themselves in achieving the anti-aging goal their product has.
Could you supplement with more magnesium yourself to make up for the deficiency in Qualia Life?
But for $160 you'd expect an adequate product in the first place (note, you can get your first bottle of Qualia Life for $68 if you use discount code FERGUS and purchase a subscription)
Verdict: great that magnesium is added - as magnesium has great merit for anti-aging purpsoes. Een the correct "magnesium glycinate" form is supplied. The big downside is that the dose is far too low for optimal anti-aging effects for most people.
An under-dosed product once again.
Remember that in the beginning of this blog post I argued that "98% of people living in the US have a potassium deficiency (20)"?
Well, to achieve adequate levels you need several grams of potassium per day. Fruits and vegetables are by far the best potassium sources because they contain many milligrams of potassium per calorie.
Meats or grains are also reasonable potassium sources, except for the fact that you're increasing your calorie intake dramatically if you rely on these foods to get your potassium needs met.
(Keep in mind that I'm not fully a proponent of the calories in - calories out model).
How might potassium affect aging? Potassium:
Verdict: including potassium is great, but due to its dose, it's inclusion is almost redundant. You cannot supplement potassium in adequate dosages through a pill form.
So that's it - all the vitamins and minerals in Qualia Life covered. The implications? Let's find out:
There's merit to all of these ingredients listed in this section.
The problem, however, is that if you're following a healthy lifestyle, your risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies will be dramatically lower.
Hence, the biggest value add does not come from the vitamins and minerals in Qualia Life.
Another big problem is that all of the ingredients can be bought for pennies on the dollar by taking a high-quality B-vitamin supplement. The magnesium ingredient, moreover, can be easily supplied by taking magnesium glycinate. Potassium is dosed so low that its effect is negligible.
Keep in mind that Qualia Life is a $160 supplement, as advertised by the Neurohacker website. Though you can get your first bottle of Qualia Life for $68 if you use discount code FERGUS and purchase a subscription.
60 B-vitamin pills only cost you $15. Magnesium glycinate is also very inexpensive (and can be dosed correctly with a proper product.
The bottom line is that the inclusion of these B-vitamins and minerals certainly has merit, but it's nothing special. The anti-aging benefits from Qualia Life thus need to derive from the additional ingredients that are included. Let's look at hte other ingredients included:
Nex to some B-vitamins and minerals, Qualia Life contains a host of other ingredients.
Let's look at whether these ingredients make Qualia Life shine as an anti-aging supplement:
Creatine monohydrate - a great ingredient that helps many people. For more info on creatine, check out my very comprehensive blog on the topic and 19 reasons why you should supplement with creatine.
The reason for supplementing with creatine? Well, first of all, many people don't ingest as much creatine as they should. Creatine is mainly found in raw animal foods, especially muscle meats. Cooking destroys creatine and thus decreases your intake.
Thus: in my previous blogs, I've concluded that supplementing with at least a few grams of creatine is best for most people.
But creatine for anti-aging purposes?
Hence, sound reasons exist to include creatine in an anti-aging supplement.
Only 1 gram of creatine is provided in this supplement. Almost all people need more, and most studies show the best effects with 5 grams of creatine per day, and up to 10 grams.
Verdict: adding creatine is almost certainly beneficial for anti-aging purposes. Bravo to Neurohacker! For the best effects, however, more than 1,000 milligrams need to provided.
"β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate monohydrate" is also called "HMB" and is a supplement that's around for more than 2 decades.
Some evidence exists that HMB increases your hormonal response to resistance training, specifically the "IGF-1" and "growth hormone" (102). The functioning of these hormones goes down with age, and hence, the inclusion of HMB is valid.
HMB may also improve your blood glucose handling (103).
In animal studies, moreover, HMB may also improve muscle mass into old age as well as motor control (104).
Blood lipid levels, inflammation, and hormones seem unaffected by HMB. Overall, the inclusion of this ingredient is good but not great.
The problem once again?
Most studies use 1 to 3 grams of HMB. Qualia Life merely uses 500 milligrams.
Verdict: reasonable ingredient that is dosed lower than most human studies.
Glycine is a building block of protein, called an "amino acid". Bone broth is one of the richest sources of glycine today, even though many people don't consume that food.
And even though bone broth (and gelatin and collagen) contain many other amino acids, glycine is one of the main ones.
The Kettle and Fire brand is one good option if you don't want to make your own bone broth, for instance.
That Kettle and Fire product contains about 2,000 milligrams of glycine per dose. Qualia Life merely contains 500 milligrams.
Once again, we run into the problem of under-dosing.
(That underdosing problem probably only exists because capsules are used, instead of a powdered product. If Neurohacker didn't use capsules, they could far more easily provide an optimal dose of compounds such as creatine and glycine. With a powdered product, you could take 2-3 tablespoon-sized scoops a day, and get the dose that's supported by the science.)
The upside about glycine?
Sleep, in turn, is arguably essential for countering aging because your brain rejuvenates during that time and damaged "parts" of your cells are recycled. Hence, including glycine is warranted.
Verdict: great that glycine is added, the compound can definitely be expected to affect aging. A (much) higher dose, however, would be better.
Very interesting compound.
Ursolic acid can be found in many plants, specifically in the skins of fruits. Herbs and spices also contain ursolic acid.
Why this specific compound?
The downside is that the compound is not studied in great detail (yet). The good news? Neurohacker has used the correct dosage here!
Verdict: the potential for ursolic acid to affect aging is somewhat speculative, although some preliminary evidence in animal studies suggests the compound may reduce disease risk.
"Cacao seed extract", or simply "cacao" for regular people - because you always eat the cacao beans or seeds, and never the leaves.
I think three main reasons exist why this compound is included:
Although the dose is low, in this case, that choice is easy to justify because many other ingredients also have anti-oxidant properties. One example is the cinnamon that's considered next.
Verdict: great that cacao is added - also at the right dose.
When you age (and perhaps soon "if" you age), your body is often less and less able to properly manage blood sugar.
Sugar in the bloodstream is not taken up in your cells but keeps re-circulating instead.
Cinnamon can be a solution.
A bonus is that the cinnamon is a strong antioxidant, fighting excesses of free radicals.
Verdict: great addition of this ingredient because many people get blood-sugar dysregulation at older age.
Once again, a solid choice for an ingredient. Carnitine is (as the name already tells you) found in meats.
The compound has benefits for:
However, once again, the substance is dosed at a level that's too low. Most studies show reasonable good effects from carnitine supplementation, at doses of up to 3,000 milligrams.
Very few if any of the hundreds of other studies use dosages of 250 milligrams.
Verdict: great ingredient but dosed sub-optimally.
BioVin is a full-grape extract that uses all parts of the plant (128).
The compound is recommended to be used at "100 mg, 3 times daily". So in that respect, Neuorhacker interprets the dosage correctly.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, no specific high-quality studies have been carried out on this compound instead of regular grape extracts, such as "grape seed extract".
Beneficial effects of this compound may be logically derived by looking at the literature on grape seed extract, however.
Just like cacao, grape seed extract has benefits for your overall blood flow and for your cardiovascular health (129; 130; 131). Blood pressure decreases by taking this compound, for instance - blood pressure is a good predictor of heart health (243; 244).
The resveratrol in this compound? 10 millimgrams is a very low dose. I know that many anti-aging proponents who take reseveratrol take doses of 300 - 1,500 milligrams per day. So if BioVin® is included for the resveratrol in the product, it's underdosed.
Verdict: good ingredient choice at the right dose. Compliments!
Once again, Neurohacker focuses on blood sugar control and/or insulin signaling with their inclusion of "myo-inositol" or "inositol".
The dosage at 200 milligrams is on the low end of the equation, but works. A very high 2-20 gram dosage, which has benefits in multiple studies, might not be needed because many other ingredients for blood sugar control have already been included.
Weight loss, more control over your eating patterns, and a better blood lipid profile (i.e. cholesterol and triglycerides) might be other benefits of inositol.
Verdict: including this ingredient can be justified for anti-aging purposes.
Peat and apple extract...
Another "fruity" ingredient, just like cacao (which can also be interpreted as a bean) and grape extract.
Most of the benefits are found in relation to better adaptations to exercise.
However, as the name "ElevATP®" already suggests, the compound may play a role in increasing "ATP" production. ATP - or "adenosine triphosphate" is a substance that's integral to energy production in your body.
Remember that your energy levels typically go down as you age -- your mitochondria work less efficiently, for instance.
Those increases in ATP may be why studies show that this peat and apple fruit extract improves workout performance (136).
ElevATP® may be one reason why many people feel good taking Qualia Life.
Verdict: ElevATP® is dosed correctly and may affect your energy levels during aging. More research is needed to definitively confirm that statement.
Ashwagandha: a staple in any biohacker's toolbox. Aswagandha is an "adaptogen" - a compound that normalizes your stress levels.
Adaptogens may lower excess cortisol or increase it if you're too low, for instance.
Ashwagandha, in turn, has potent effect on lowering stress:
The dosage of this compound is also great.
Sure: if you're already too relaxed naturally, this compound may have fewer benefits and can even be counterproductive. To understand that principle, imagine giving a dog that already sleeps all-day supplements to make it even more relaxed.
Verdict: ashwagandha is great addition to the Qualia Life stack, lowering stress and anxiety that plagues so many people.
Citric acid is found in citrus fruits.
Although not tested in high-quality studies in humans, the compound may lower the aforementioned "oxidative stress" (146; 147; 148). Excess oxidative stress almost certainly speeds up aging, even though it has other roles in the body as well, such as a signaling function.
More evidence is needed to establish that citric acid does affect the aging process.
I also think the compound was listed as an ingredient because Neurohacker wanted to add potassium to their stack. In other words, citrate was added as a byproduct of "tripotassium citrate"
Verdict: citric acid's potential effect on aging is currently largely speculative.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum is an Asian herb that is not well studied today.
However, in Neurohacker's defense, the compound was almost certainly included because of the "ginsenosides" - active ingredients of the "ginseng" adaptogen plant.
These "ginsenosides" should not be confused with "gypenosides", which seem unique to the Gynostemma pentaphyllum plant.
Lost the flow of my argument?
Well, in that case let's simplify then:
The "gypenosides" almost certainly have very positive effects on the way your body handles blood glucose (151; 152; 153). Controlling your blood sugar averts diabetes in old age, which is good, as aging is one of the main risk factors for getting diabetes.
Secondly, the "ginsenosides", if included in this extract, may have additional anti-stress effects similar to the ashwagandha which I considered earlier.
Verdict: good compound that may improve both handling of blood sugar as well as working as an adaptogen.
Yet another adaptogen...
This plant is also ginseng-like and even commonly called "Thai ginseng". Not much research has been carried out on this compound though...
One study does demonstrate that the Thai ginseng has antioxidant properties (154). Such a conclusion is somewhat dangerous, as you can also eat some chocolate and blueberries to get a great dose of anti-oxidants.
In defense of Neurohacker, however, most people don't really eat sufficient high-quality plant foods to really boost their antioxidant profile. So yes, a stack with many differnet plants may have additional benefits.
Other studies show benefits for some aspectes of physical performance due to the Thai ginseng (155; 156; 157; 158). Increased performance implies that energy production goes up somewhere in the human body.
Verdict: research on this compound is sparse, and benefits are mostly unconfirmed. Yet, Kaempferia parviflora may have benefits for your antioxidant profile and physical performance.
Alpha-lipoic acid, and it's related compound R-lipoic acid, are two very similar compounds.
"R-lipoic acid" is the more bioactive version of "Alpha-lipoic acid".
Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid and its derivatives are one of the better-studied compounds that potentially affect the aging process, so its inclusion is justified.
Dosage is good but could be somewhat higher. Neurohacke has chosen the better-working premium versoin of the ingredient this time (as opposed to with niacin and CoQ10 further down the road.)
Verdict: solid compound that aids blood sugar control and the antioxidant system.
Another compound that acts as an antioxidant. N-acetyl-L-cysteine also boosts the body's detoxification system, which is a big plus.
Cysteine is a building block of what it is frequently called the "master antioxidant" of the human body: glutathione (164; 165). Another great benefit is that this compound is very thoroughly investigated because of its fundamental role in glutathione.
As a result, you can increase your antioxidant levels with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) (166; 167). So theoretically, if you're low on cysteine, your antioxidant system will suffer. The question, of course, is whether further increasing your levels has additional benefits.
For instance, above a certain threshold, more vitamin C is not necessarily better for you.
Additionally, due to its major role in detoxification, NAC also helps your body clear toxins more efficiently - although high-quality human studies are sparse (171; 172; 173; 174; 175). Such a benefit is potentially very worthwhile.
And there's more:
Your risk for several conditions of old age, such as Alzheimer's, COPD (a lung condition), bone problems, cancer, and others, may also be lowered by NAC.
Hence, overall, the inclusion of this compound is great.
Only 100 milligrams of NAC is provided.
Many studies use 600 to even 5,000 milligrams per day. The 100 miligams will have benefits, but not maximal benefits. In defense of Neurohacker, taking grams of NAC daily for months or even years may not be optimal either because it will cause amino acid imbalances.
Verdict: adding N-acetyl-L-cysteine is great for countering excess oxidative stress, improving organ function, and aiding detoxification. However, this ingredient is almost certainly underdosed and won't have maximal effects.
Tryptophan - another "amino acid" or building block of protein.
I'll be very direct: I'm not convinced this compound needs to be included in an anti-aging stack.
Of course, many potential reasons exist for using tryptophan, such as increasing your "serotonin" levels (a brain signaling compound), aiding sleep quality, and helping the body improve the amount of niacin that's endogenously produced (183; 184; 185; 186; 187).
However, it's reasonable to assume that with a proper diet, you'll be getting all of the tryptophan you need on a daily basis. And if you don't follow a proper diet, there's (almost) no reason to take an anti-aging supplement.
Let's look at such foods:
3 ounces of salmon or beef supply you with ~200 milligrams of tryptophan, for instance. The same amount of cheese gives you 50% more than that. Grains such as wheat and oats also contain reasonable amounts of tryptophan.
Hence, you're very unlikely to be deficient if you consume at least some high-quality animal proteins on a daily basis.
Verdict: there's probably very little reason to include tryptophan in an anti-aging stack.
Once again, a compound that almost certainly affects the aging process: Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Of course, you may know CoQ10 from anti-aging skin creams and other backgrounds. There's sound reason that substance is used for anti-aging purposes, although taking the compound through your skin may be less beneficial.
CoQ10 is both an anti-oxidant (yes, once again) but also plays a vital role in creating energy in your mitochondria. Recall that your mitochondria are the energy-producing factories of your cells.
Let's start with the problem this time:
Neurohacker as (once again) used an inferior form of a substance. Instead of using the superior "ubiquinol" version - that works especially better during aging - they've used the "ubiquinone" version that's absorbed less well (188; 189; 190; 191).
Some studies disagree though (192).
CoQ10 does have many potential benefits for affecting the aging process, such as improving your energy levels (in old age), countering heart and blood vessel disease, blood sugar control, maintaining a healthy nervous system, lowering oxidative stress, and much more (193; 194; 195; 196; 197; 198; 199).
Neurohacker did the right thing by including CoQ10 - your body's own production of this compound goes down with age.
The dose of the ubiquinone form of CoQ10 is on the low side though: 100 - 200 milligrams is standardly used in many studies, if not more.
Verdict: including CoQ10 into an anti-aging supplement is very justifiable, although the dose and form of CoQ10 included in Qualia Life is somewhat controversial.
Back to plant compounds...
The reason this plant was included is that it contains "quercetin", a certain "polyphenol". In fact, the "rutin" compound contains a specific type of quercetin.
So why take quercetin?
Not many high-quality studies have investigated the effects of quercetin yet though.
Neurohacker doses quercetin at 50 milligrams max (and probably less because not all of that Sopharae Japonica is made up of active substance). Many studies, however, use dosages approximating 1-2 grams.
The compound is thus 20-40 fold underdosed in Qualia Life.
One counterargument why that lower dose might not be problematic is that many other (hormetic) antioxidants are already provided for in this stack, such as cacao and Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (number 23 on the list).
Verdict: Sopharae Japonica L. is almost certainly underdosed, but in Neurohacker's defense, Qualia Life contains many other polyphenols as well. Adding Sopharae Japonica L. for the "quercetin" polyphenol and antioxidant is good for anti-aging pruposes.
Citrus Sinesis is commonly known as the orange fruits and includes blood and sweet oranges.
Neurohacker seems to have included the plant specifically because of the "nobiletin" compound.
High-quality research into this compound is lacking though.
Verdict: potentially beneficial compound, although even indirect evidence is mostly lacking right now.
Another plant compound...
The active ingredient, "trans-tiliroside", has many purported benefits but most of these are not studies in high-quality research (once again).
For instance, the compound has alleged benefits for lowering inflammation, countering allergies, improving heart and blood vessel health, protecting organs such as the liver, and increasing the antioxidant activity in the body (212).
Of course, strawberries and strawberry seeds contain polyphenols - the most likely reason for including this compound (once again).
Verdict: research on strawberry seed extract and the "trans-tilroside" compound is sparse. It's probable that the extract has similar benefits as other polyphenols treated in this section.
Citrus Grandis, commonly known as "pomelo", is probably also included because of its polyphenols.
One other reason is that grapefruit-like fruits such as pomelo contain "furanocoumarins", compounds that make the effect of other medications or plant materials stronger (213; 214) Pomelo very likely also contains such compounds.
Additionally, the apigenin compound also has potential health benefits.
A single animal study also posits that apigenin may increase NAD+ (221).
Apigenin is found widely across the plant-kingdom. Once again, high-quality human evidence is sparse, but adding the ingredient is reasonable.
Verdict: interesting compound although (much) more evidence is needed to establish anti-aging properties.
I'll be honest:
Adding "Pyrroloquinoline Quinone" (PQQ) to the Qualia Life anti-aging stack is a great choice!
Mitochondrial biogenesis entails that your cells can increase their number of mitochondria. Exercise is one way to increase the number of mitochondria - taking PQQ is another one.
Most of these effects have only been proven in animal studies though...
This PQQ compound has frequently been called "exercise in a pill". Once again: PQQ's addition to Qualia Life is a great choice.
Verdict: PQQ affects many variables influenced by aging, such as mitochondrial function and (chronic) inflammation, and its addition to Qualia Life is therefore (highly) warranted.
More inositol, after the regular myo-inositol was also included...
The benefit of this inositol version is that it may absorb better than its regular counterpart.
The D-chiro-inositol compound is not really well understood today though (231). The D-chiro version does make the myo version more effective if the PCOS condition is present. Most of the D-chiro research is actually targeted towards that condition.
Inclusion of this ingredient is justified though. Inositol, as stated before, has stress-lowering and blood sugar-regulating effects.
In animal studies, the compound also literally slows down aging (232). A lot more research is needed to draw any conclusions though.
Verdict: including D-chiro-inositol in an anti-aging stack can be justified.
Almost 40 different compounds reviewed for their purported anti-aging effects.
After the last two very elaborate sections you may think:
"Well, what do these results mean? Do I really add 5 years to my lifespan (or healthspan) by taking Qualia Life every day?"
Let's find out:
So let's consider the fundamental question: "will Qualia Life really slow down my aging process, and if so, by how much?"
It's hard to answer that question unequivocally for the following reasons:
Right now, it's very hard to quantify the results Qualia Life is having on your aging process. Having said that, many of the ingredients are proven to have some beneficial effects.
The question then becomes whether Qualia Life justifies the $160 price tag (though you can save 58% with code FERGUS when ordering a subscription)
If you've not mastered the basics of taking care of your health, I think you should forget about taking Qualia Life. Examples of such basics are:
So if you're not getting enough movement and you're staying up until 4 AM on Saturdays while drinking lots of alcohol, Qualia Life is probably not for you. In that case, you need to focus on the basics before taking an anti-aging supplement.
But what if you've already got many healthy habits and want to take your anti-aging protocol to the next level?
In that case, Qualia Life might be a viable option for you.
But should you?
The most damning counterargument against taking Qualia Life is that many of the ingredients can be bought much less expensively.
For instance, a high-quality B vitamin complex costs you around $11 for 100 days. Almost half of the Qualia Life stack is replicated by taking one pill.
The polyphenols in Qualia Life? Eat some dark chocolate or blueberries and you'll ingest a far higher dose than you'd get in this supplement. You can also buy a polyphenol supplement such as "resveratrol" - which is found in grapes - for $25.
So why take Qualia Life then?
So would I recommend this supplement?
Yes, depending on the context.
While I'm a huge fan of Qualia Mind because of the perfect formulation and great (quantifiable) results I'm getting, I'm slightly less convinced of Qualia Life.
If you've got the money to spend on the supplement, however, it's almost certainly better to take it than not to.
I've been as honest as possible with my Qualia Life review, telling you about both the good and the bad.
To simplify that message:
The good about Qualia Life is that most of the ingredients are well established to have effects on your health and potentially on aging by scientific studies. The bad is that the specific effects of these ingredients upon aging are hard to quantify. Additionally, many of the ingredients can be bought individually for a far lower price and some doses and/or ingredient choices could ipmrove for Neurohacker.
Having said that, I do have to compliment Neurohacker for developing their anti-aging supplement.
I also have to reiterate that I'm not just being critical here: Neurohacker's Qualia Mind products works amazingly for me - I've quantified the results extensively.
Additionally, Neurohacker has worked on its Qualia formula over the years. Several ingredients were removed from their first two-step formula, such as curcumin, green tea extract, and noopept. Other ingredients were increased in dosage, such as choline.
The end result was a far smoother experience with much better results. Hence, Neurohacker's product line seems to evolve for the better over time.
I, therefore, do think that Neurohacker will continue developing its Qualia Life formula, and I hope my review of the ingredients contributes to that.
Make no mistake: slowing down and countering aging is a very lofty goal, as aging is probably the most important risk factor for getting many complex and chronic diseases. Anyone supporting a disease-free world deserves my support.
So if you want to buy Qualia Life, click HERE and be sure to enter code FERGUS to save.
Neurohacker e-mailed me one day after publishing this article with the following response to my findings.
Dr. Greg Kelly writes:
"1. Vitamin K2: He mentions he likes the Thorne Vitamin K2 which is a 20-fold higher dose. They use MK4 which is dosed typically from at least 1mg but more commonly at about 45mg (and has been given clinically at even higher doses). MK7 is dosed in studies at 100-360 mcg (so at least 10-fold lower dose) because it is way more bioactive by weight than MK4. I would be concerned if someone misinterpreted his point and decided to take a 20-fold higher dose of MK7 than we use.
2. Thiamine: We included this 25 mg dose primarily because advanced glycation endproducts are a big issue with cellular aging and thiamine (at doses much higher than the DV) is an antiglycating agent. Research indicates the nootropic and ergogenic range for thiamine is 50-100 mg (see here and here as examples) so we are actually below this but we assume many users will also be taking Qualia and wanted to make sure the combo of both products puts them in this range.
3. Riboflavin. Adding a supplemental dose of 1.6 mg has been sufficient to improve functional B2 status in elderly in several studies (see here and here as examples) so unlike thiamin and niacin, low doses of B2 (close to the DV) seem to be sufficient when dosed chronically.4. Niacin: He mentions that "nicotinamide riboside should have been included" (because of the price of Qualia Life). Chromadex holds the patent rights to NR and won't sell it to us (our understanding is they won't sell it to anyone they weren't already selling it to prior to launching TruNiagen). So we can't include it without running a legal risk. As he mentions we think differently than him on nicotinic acid and niacinamide vs. NR and we seem to be in the minority. But so far in human studies NR has failed to live up to the hype, failing to improve blood pressure, BMI, body composition, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance (HOMA-insulin)l lipids, grip strength, mitochondrial performance etc (essentially everything they've looked at so far) and in the most recent human study it down-regulated the salvage pathway (decreased NAMPT protein) which is not good since activity of this rate limiting salvage enzyme is one of the main reasons that NAD+ levels decline with aging. It does increase NAD+ but so does everything with niacin activity (see here as an example)."
First of all, thanks for the extensive reply - really appreciate the in-depth response. I'll react to your points listed above one by one:
Additionally, discussing these dosages of vitamins and their included types obscures the fact that many other "critiques" of mine have not been answered.
Three of my arguments (among many) listed above are, for instance:
Again, I must admit I'm a highly critical person and I'm not suggesting by any means that Neuorhacker doesn't have the right intentions with this product. Instead, I think that the development of an anti-aging product (line) is highly beneficial for humanity, as aging is a major risk factor for almost any disease. Hence, Neurohacker's push for Qualia Life should not only be applauded but also celebrated. Of course, we should ensure that the best ingredients are included for a $150 product so that users most effectively counter aging.
I, for instance, would have opted for 500 milligrams of trans-resveratrol instead of using many different polyphenols. If you disagree with me, that's great and we can talk about this more in the comments section below!
And if you want to try Qualia Life for yourself, click HERE and be sure to enter code FERGUS to save.
This is a post by Bart Wolbers. Bart finished degrees in Physical Therapy (B), Philosophy (BA and MA), Philosophy of Science and Technology (MS - Cum Laude), and Clinical Health Science (MS), and is currently the chief science writer at Alexfergus.com.
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