Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Is There Really a Fountain of Youth?

WebMD Health News

The Hype vs. the Hope of Antiaging Research

June 23, 2004 (New York) --The fountain of youth is still more myth than reality, but researchers say they're inching closer to revealing the secrets of the aging process that have mystified them for ages.

At a conference today in New York City, experts debated the hope and hype of antiaging research and warned that the market for antiaging products is growing much faster than the science to support them.

Each year, Americans spend more than $1 billion on antiagingcosmetics alone, and the demand for antiaging medicines to help baby boomers live longer, healthier lives is growing rapidly as boomers reach retirement age.

"Part of the problem with many individuals selling antiaging medicines to the public is that they are suggesting that because they can modify the risk of a particular disease that they are altering the aging process itself," says S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "What we're saying is we don't know."

Researchers say the secret to long life is more than just dodging diseases. Until that mystery is resolved, any antiaging medicine that promises long life can only deliver a lighter wallet.

"Many lay people don't want to understand that masking changes doesn't change the aging process," says Leonard Hayflick, PhD, professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco.

Antiaging Products: The Hype

Although treatments, such as human growth hormone injections, vitamin and mineral supplements, and other types of hormone therapy are widely sold as "antiaging" medicines, researchers say there is little scientific evidence to support their claims.

Olshansky says the problem is not that there isn't a potential benefit to these treatments, but that they have yet to be evaluated in clinical trials to determine their safety and effectiveness.

"In my view, these products simply should not be used until they are properly evaluated," says Olshansky, who is also a senior research associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "There are plenty of examples of products that were sold in the past before they were evaluated using clinical trials, and once the clinical trials came in, it was determined that they were indeed harmful."

Brush Up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices