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Stimulating the body to repair itself
Nichola Conlon: Nuchido Laboratories
BY PETER BOWES | DECEMBER 30, 2020 | 18:52 PT
The body’s unique ability to repair itself, with a little outside help, is the focus of a growing sphere of longevity science. One area of research concerns a molecule, known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which plays a key role in many biological processes. NAD+ declines as we age, but research has shown that, through supplementation, youthful levels can be restored, helping us to age better. In this episode, Dr Nichola Conlon, a molecular biologist and co-founder of Nuchido Laboratories, based in North East England, discusses her mission to develop nutraceuticals to stimulate rejuvenation. In conversation with Peter Bowes, Nichola explains her passion for nutritional interventions designed to enhance healthspan; she addresses the need to educate people about the relevance of biogerontology research and the new products that could significantly improve our quality of life.
Recorded: December 3, 2020 | Read a transcript
Topics covered in this interview include:
- A career in science driven by Nichola’s fascination with the human body – how “it’s so intricately designed and perfect to make us tick.”
- How do drugs work – from consumption to the cells where they need to work.
- The steep learning curve involved in aging research.
- Is it a good thing to try to slow aging and should it be done through supplementation?
- What is aging?
- Translating the science into consumer products.
- What does Nuchido mean?
- Explain the role and complexities of NAD+
- The benefits of elevated NAD levels, related to aging.
“Everything from increased neuronal function to reducing muscle wastage and loss as you get older to regenerating and stem cells to improve insulin tolerance and less insulin resistance, improving cardiovascular function, the list goes on. And it’s not surprising because NAD, is in every cell in your body.”
- Why reverse a process (declining NAD) when it appears to be a natural part of aging?
- Why we are very good at being young but not so good at being old.
- Being a successful female scientist and entrepreneur in a male-dominated world.
- The importance of tracking your own health through regular blood tests.
- Why the sky’s the limit in biogerentology.
“We’ll get to a point where we can almost preserve what we have and preserve our minds and our body and … just continue living a really good, healthy life.”
- This episode is brought to you by AgeUp, a new product that helps fill in the financial gaps that are often created once you’ve mastered aging and achieved an exceptionally long life. Small monthly payments to AgeUp stack over time to create a secure income stream for your 90s and beyond. Contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings, and once payouts begin at age 91 or above, they’re guaranteed to last for life. AgeUp is backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency. You can find out more at Age-Up.com
Nichola Conlon: [00:00:00] It’s about the education and that’s going to be such a major part moving forward within the longevity community to make sure that we educate and really talk a lot about what’s going on with the science and how it can benefit people.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:21] Hello again and welcome to the Live Long and Master aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity.
“This episode is brought to you by AgeUp, a new financial product that provides guaranteed supplemental income for people who worry about the financial impact of longevity. To find out more, visit Age-Up.com
Peter Bowes: [00:00:46] In this episode, we’re going to dig deep into longevity, science, the science of rejuvenation of the human body, to be precise, and return to the topic of NAD, a molecule found in cells that regulates aging. In recent years, we’ve become increasingly aware of its importance as we grow older. I’m joined by Dr. Nichola Conlon. She’s a molecular biologist from North-East England. I think it’s the first time that we’ve had someone on the podcast from my neck of the woods, which is very nice. I was born in County Durham. Nichola studied molecular biology at Newcastle University, one of the great centres for longevity research, and has since gone on to form her own company, developing products that stimulate the body to repair itself. Nicola, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Nichola Conlon: [00:01:33] Hi, Peter. It’s lovely to be here. Thank you.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:36] Great to talk to you. How is the North East today? I’m sitting here and looking out the window and it’s California sunshine. I imagine it’s well late in the afternoon for you. So I guess it’s dark. And dare I say, maybe the weather is a little miserable?
Nichola Conlon: [00:01:48] Yeah, it’s very dark and it’s quite cold now and definitely, definitely not. What you be looking outside, too, I’m afraid.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:57] Yeah, I a tinge of guilt there, but I remember those days and my family still lives in North East England, so I visit obviously when I come in. That hasn’t been possible for some time, but hopefully I’ll be there in the next few months before we dig into the science that you’re doing now, let’s go back and maybe turn the clock back to Newcastle University, maybe even before that. What inspired you to become a biologist?
Nichola Conlon: [00:02:19] Oh, great question. And you know what? I’ve never had a clear vision on what I wanted to do as a career. You know how some people are very much like I you know, I want to be a doctor. I want to be a pilot or something like that. I’ve never known some sort of philosophy in life, has always been to follow what I was interested in. And one thing that I’ve always been interested in fact, fascinated by is the human body and just how complex the human body is and how it works and how it’s so intricately designed and perfect to make us tick. And that’s something that I’ve just always been fascinated by. So that kind of led me down the route of biology and looking into like a science career. And then I ended up doing a degree in biomedical sciences. And even at that point, I still didn’t really know what to do with a degree in biomedical science. And I just had a real passion. It just keep learning and get more and more detail how the body worked. And at the end of that degree, you have an opportunity to go and work in the lab is like an end of year project. And I went and worked in the lab and I actually really enjoyed it. And just setting up your own experiments and basically discovering and asking questions about things that nobody really knew the answer to. And it was your job to find out the answer. So so that’s that’s kind of led me down the route of becoming a scientist. And I would never have thought I’d been a scientist. Like, I would never have said that when I was younger. But I guess it is just my passion for for the human body, how it all works. That’s that’s really led me down that path.
Peter Bowes: [00:04:03] And your clear interest now in science and the biology as it applies to human longevity and those things that perhaps we can do in our lives, lifestyle interventions that could help us live longer and healthier did that develop over time as you got deeper into the subject.
Nichola Conlon: [00:04:20] Yeah, that that was something that that took a while to get to, actually. So my my original I guess my training after, after I’d been and done my degree, I then went on and did a Masters and then my Masters was in, in research. It was literally a Master of research, how to conduct scientific experiments, how to ask the right questions, how to investigate things and analyse things and think critically. And then my PhD that I actually did was about drugs. It was about how when you take a drug or a supplement or a molecule, how does it get from your mouth or wherever you take it into your cells and then actually gets into the, you know, the part of the cell where it actually needs to to work. And that actually led me down a career of drug development. So after I left and Newcastle University and I went and worked for a drug company, and it was at that point that I was actually introduced to the field of aging, and that was because basically the drug company I went and worked for had a very unique way of doing drug development. It was it was quite a forward thinking company that that that did drug development in a way that made it way more efficient and considered the complexity of the body a lot more than a lot of large companies and do so. And we I was working on cancer and cancer therapies. And while I was working there, we were actually approached by someone that was quite a big name within the longevity field who approached the company and said, how have you ever thought of looking into aging drugs or drugs to slow aging? Because the way that you think about drug development in the way that you do it would be really suited to looking at drugs for aging. And that is the point where I suddenly was thrown into the aging world as I was the person that was chosen to to run that project. And I had quite a steep learning curve because you think you know a lot about biology and then you move into a different area and it just opens up a whole new world of things that you hadn’t even heard of become quite specialized. When you do a PhD, you know, almost blank out the rest of biology. And this opened it back up for me. And from that point on, I was, you know, just thought, actually, aging is the thing we should all be going after. That’s what we should be researching.
Peter Bowes: [00:06:47] At that point when it was suggested to you that perhaps aging and aging science could be the future. Did you have to, first of all, figure out for yourself what is aging?
Nichola Conlon: [00:06:56] Yes. So this is a question actually. I start a lot of my talks that I do with people, and I always say to them, first of all, we’re going to talk about aging. But the first thing I want you to think about is tell me what aging is, because it’s a word in the term that everyone’s familiar with and everyone thinks they know what it means. But when they start trying to explain what it means, they find it really difficult. And it always comes back to, oh, it’s just this natural thing that happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. And it’s associated with bad things. And it’s like, yeah, but what is it like? Why is it happening? What’s going on in your body? Like what’s causing it? It is a thing, but what is it? And for me, I think I really had to consider that and and start to think, well, yeah, what is it and why does it happen? And when you start looking into it, yeah, like I say, it opens up a whole new world. And the way you think about the world really.
Peter Bowes: [00:07:53] And when we get into the subject and we talk about lifestyle interventions that could impact how we age and how well we age, and clearly we can talk about diet and exercise, which I think are very easy to get, and then we get into the area of supplementation and perhaps chemical interventions. And I think that’s where people begin to put up a wall because it’s very confusing. There are so many options for people. How do you help us get through that barrier?
Nichola Conlon: [00:08:20] Yes, that’s that’s really interesting because you tend to find that people are either pro intervention in terms of drugs or they’re against it. And I think a lot of people are against it just because they simply don’t understand it. And for me, that’s that’s one of the things that I’m really passionate about. In fact, it’s why I started my company was to to make that science and that that explanation of how drugs and supplements and things like that may be able to help us more accessible to the layperson who actually hasn’t considered what agent is and hasn’t considered that there’s a possibility that they could actually reverse it or age much better. So I think it. Yeah, it’s a lot about the education and really making people understand, first of all, what aging is like in molecular terms, even though people aren’t scientists, you can still explain it. And then secondly, like why we age. And I think I always like to explain that in terms of evolution and get people to think about, like how quickly life span has suddenly become very long compared to what our ancestors lifespan was. And people then seem to understand it in that way. And then finally, it’s like, OK, now you’ve you’ve got that sort of background. Do you now think it’s plausible that actually it’s a good thing to try and slow aging? And if you could do it with a supplement or a drug like would you and quite often people do then actually have a different opinion on it because they then fully understand it and feel more informed to be able to to answer the question.
Peter Bowes: [00:09:55] So you’ve mentioned your company. Tell me more about it, what it’s called and how easy is it to set up a research company, a laboratory like this?
Nichola Conlon: [00:10:05] My company, Nuchido Laboratories, was founded about three and a half years ago now. And the reason I did it was because I think I’d been very naïve going into the world of drug development, thinking that it was going to help people. And, you know, it does help people. But I was very frustrated at how long it takes to get drugs to market and how expensive it is. And, you know, most people don’t realize to get a single drug to market, it’s usually around 10 to 15 years and cost hundreds of millions of pounds. So that’s a really restrictive point that things that you could be working on in the lab that have real breakthroughs in terms of the science on actually going to reach people for a long time after that. So that was one thing that was frustrating. The second thing was the amount of things that work so like molecules that could be drugs or supplements or whatever, that actually work and have really good data behind them, but never make it to the light of day because drug companies can’t get a patent to protect them. So basically a patent is something that allows you to own basically own that molecule and make money out of that molecule. And if a company, a drug company can own the molecule, it’s not worth a while investing hundreds of thousands uf pounds – sorry hundreds of millions of pounds into it, developing it as a drug if they then can’t recoup that money by being the only only company that can sell that drug when it goes to market. So for me, that created a bit of an ethical dilemma because I was sitting there, you know, part of my job was going through lists of molecules and check in if we could actually use them or whether other companies had patents on them or whether they were molecules that were like natural ingredients that couldn’t be patented and nobody could own them. And there was a lot of things that were actually natural molecules that weren’t patentable, that actually worked better than the molecules that were took forward to become drugs, which in my head was absolutely crazy.It was like those things that people could be using now in supplements and topical things like that that are safe. They’ve got good data, but drugs companies don’t want to know. So the whole mission behind founding Nuchido was actually, can we turn this all on its head and can we set up a company that does all the same science that a drug development company does or has all the expertise in how to find molecules that actually do something to the body and knows how to test them. But instead of taking forward the molecules that could become drugs, let’s take forward the molecules that can be supplements, that can be Topicals, that can be things that we can get to consumers within months and years rather than tens of years. So that is exactly what we do. Our mission is to basically translate the science into consumer products that are accessible to people now so that they can start understanding and benefiting from the science right now.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:05] And where did the name come from? Nuchido.
Nichola Conlon: [00:13:08] So it’s actually actually it’s Japanese, so it loosely translates to the path to long life. So there’s an island in Japan, Okinawa, very famous for where people live till great age. There are a lot of centenarians and even super centenarians that live there. And they have a saying, which is nuchi gusui, which is food is the path to long life. And so obviously we’re not selling food. So we sort of shifted it a little bit to to me to make it mean that the path to long life and that’s that’s exactly where it came from.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:43] I will return to my conversation with Nichola in less than a minute. You’re listening to the Live Long and Master aging podcast.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:51] This episode is brought to you by AgeUp, a new product that helps fill in the financial gaps that are often created. Once you’ve mastered aging and achieved an exceptionally long life. Small. Monthly payments to AgeUp stack over time to create a secure income stream for your 90s and beyond, contributions to AgeUp are shielded from market swings. And once payout’s begin at the age of 91 or above the guarantee to last for life. AgeUp is backed by MassMutual and sold by Haven Life Insurance Agency. You can find out more at Age-Up dot com. That’s Age-Up dot com.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:28] We’re talking to Dr. Nichola Conlon, molecular biologist and founder of the Research and Development Laboratory with the name of the Nuchido in the northeast of England. Nichola, let’s talk I mentioned in the introduction NAD. And this is a topic that we have delved into before on this podcast. But maybe you can explain once again why it is so important to us.
Nichola Conlon: [00:14:50] Yes, of course. So, NAD, what is NAD the million dollar question? NAD is basically it’s a natural molecule that’s found in every single cell in our body. And it’s so important that if we didn’t have it in our cells, if it all disappeared for some reason would literally be dead in 30 seconds. And that’s because of the critical role it plays in over 500 different reactions in the cell. So I like to think of NAD in a much more simpler way and that it does two really important things. So the first one that it does is it’s very important in our energy production. So it’s critical in getting the energy out of the food that we eat and turning it into the energy that cells need to perform all the functions and basically anything that they need to do, it requires energy and NAD helps to get this energy, our food in the form of ATP, which is what cells actually use as their energy currency. So that’s the first point. The second thing is, and this is the thing that’s more linked to aging, is that NAD is absolutely vital for acting as a signalling molecule in the cell. And what I mean by a signalling molecule is basically something that helps to switch on and off different processes in the cell. So what NAD does is it switches on and off lots of different maintenance and repair processes in the cell. So essentially, when you’ve got high NAD, what it does is it sends a signal to lots of processes in the cell to say, OK, keep our DNA repair switched on, keep any recycling in the cell going on. So we’re getting rid of any junk proteins or anything that’s damaged and basically keep the cell in really good condition. So it’s well maintained and it’s well repaired. So that’s what happens when this high NAD. Now, when Nadie becomes low, all of that gets switched off. So your maintenance pathways get turned down, you repair pathways get turned down. All those different things that are keeping your cell in good shape actually get turned down. So those are the two really important things to remember. And the reason that NAD is actually implicated in ageing is because anad levels decline with age. So when we’re young, we’ve got really high levels of energy. But as we get older, they get lower and lower and lower. And this is actually quite an exponential decline. So just to put it into perspective, when we are born, we have really high levels and by age 20, we’ve almost lost half of our NAD. So NAD decreases by about 50 percent every 20 years. So that’s that’s quite a lot. And when there’s any declines, first of all, it’s going to impact your energy because and it is critical for energy production. And secondly, it’s going to impact you, your repair in your cell because the levels are low. So that signal is not there to keep your NAD sorry, to keep your maintenance repair pathway switched on so you get cellular damage. And ultimately that cellular damage results in the signs and symptoms that we call aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:17:57] So what you’re essentially doing is working on products to boost NAD levels and especially important, as you say, for older people.
Nichola Conlon: [00:18:05] Yes, absolutely. So, you know, ever since it was found that NAD declines, there’s been a lot of companies that have been trying to to boost NAD in people. So, you know, providing supplements that are called NAD boosters to try and elevate NAD in people, because it’s been demonstrated that if you can boost your energy back up, it can have a huge amount of benefit, especially in terms of how well you age. So everything from increased neuronal function to reducing muscle wastage and loss as you get older to regenerating and stem cells to improve insulin tolerance and less insulin resistance, improving cardiovascular function, the list goes on. And it’s not surprising because NAD, is in every cell in your body, it almost sounds too good to be true that this one thing could do everything. But it does because it’s so important to health.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:57] Presumably, though, we could look at the decline of NAD levels as natural process as we get older, so one alarm bell in my mind and perhaps the alarm bell in the minds of people without a scientific knowledge of exactly what’s happening is can we be therefore artificially boosting our energy levels? And could there be any negative consequences as we get older, perhaps a bit older? We don’t need as much.
Nichola Conlon: [00:19:22] Yes. And I think this is where I always go back to my way to we age question. So I always say that a lot of things don’t make sense in aging. And unless you look at them in terms of evolution, so we as a as a species have evolved to live and be designed to live till we’re about 30 or 40. That’s that’s kind of our optimal. And a couple of hundred years ago, you know, we were really lucky. If we made it to 50, it would be unheard of really to to live really a long age. And that’s because we didn’t have proper sanitation, we didn’t have proper health care. And we essentially, you know, we lived young, died young, and that was completely normal. And that is what our evolution has made us good at being. It’s made is good at being young, but not good at being old, because why would evolution develop systems in the body that were selected for for being old when we never actually really reached old or what we consider old in the natural world because we would have died of a tooth abscess or in childbirth or if we’re an animal by a predator or something like that.
Peter Bowes: [00:20:35] So presumably evolution wants us to get to an age where we reproduce and pass on our genes and then we have no use.
Nichola Conlon: [00:20:43] Exactly the disposable soma theory. Which basically means our body is a shell that carries genetics, it passes on our offspring, and then our body becomes useless, which sounds pretty grim, but yes,that’s evolution.
Peter Bowes: [00:20:55] It’s pretty hard isn’t it.
Nichola Conlon: [00:20:57] So bearing that in mind. So we have developed all of these amazing repair systems that work terribly good when we are young, which means that it keeps our bodies in really, really good health while we’re young. But the problem is they’re often very energy draining and they’re often using up a lot of resources, which when we were only 11 until age 40, it didn’t matter because we never kind of grew old enough to have the negative consequences of depleting all the resources are using these really energy rich repair systems. But now that we are living longer, what we’re starting to see is this effect. So using NAD as an example. When you’re young, your NAD is continually getting recycled. So you’re keeping these anad levels really high as you get older. What happens is all these other things are going crazy in the body because the body’s, you know, not linear or, you know, one thing happening and multiple things going on. So what happens is there’s all these other things going wrong, which then also start waste NAD and then you get these vicious cycles where things that were actually really good at fixing you when they were young actually start causing problems as you get older. And they actually themselves cause this cascade effect of it starts depleting NAD and then you get more damage. And then that leads to the first thing that started it and you kind of go round in circles. So, yeah, people say, well, is it is it is NAD depletion like a natural thing that’s supposed to happen and nothing in aging is supposed to happen. It happens because we’re living longer than our body was designed to. So it’s as a design fault, if anything,
Peter Bowes: [00:22:36] Or you could say that maybe we’re living longer because science has developed in so many other areas. Imagine all the inoculations that we have as a child and help us perhaps get through early years and the rest of our lives. There’s the flu jab. There’s the covid-19 job that presumably we were all going to be taking on, at least for the next year or maybe forever. We don’t know yet.
Nichola Conlon: [00:22:56] Exactly.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:57] Science has developed to keep us alive on many fronts.
Nichola Conlon: [00:22:59] Exactly that. And that that change that those scientific advancements have happened so fast at a rate that evolution could never, could never keep up to. So we are very good at being young, but we are not designed to be good at being old. And that’s why you see lots of different things going wrong as your old, because they were never you know, there was nothing selected to make us good at dealing with us. In fact, a lot of the things that keep us healthy when we young can actually have negative consequences as we get older and back to NAD. Basically with with NAD what you find is that it’s it’s decreasing as you get older and people say, well, is it not just meant to decrease? Is there a reason it’s decreasing? And is it is it not good, you know, that it gets lower as you get older, but everything that is associated with NAD, for example, cancer. So your risk of cancer exponentially increases as you get older. And at the same time, you risk your NAD levels are exponentially declining. So they’re inversely correlated. And that’s that’s no shock because NAD is incredibly important in repairing DNA damage, and when you get DNA damage, that is the biggest cause of cancer. So your NAD dropping, your risk of cancers actually going up and your body is really used to having high levels of NAD that’s how it how it’s born. That’s how it’s got throughout your youth. As far as evolution is concerned, it needs those high NAD levels because it’s so critical in the cell function. So everything associated with high NAD is generally good.
Peter Bowes: [00:24:36] You mentioned the slow process in terms of developing drugs, I suppose from the theory, from the idea to the laboratory tests to the clinical trials to actually getting it on the market. So where are you right now in terms of developing a product to boost NAD?
Nichola Conlon: [00:24:52] So so we actually have a product that’s that’s now on the market. So we we launched we did a soft launch a year ago where we we kind of went to some conferences and put it out there and be a mode basically to people that are into this world of NAD – to kind of test the water. We’re now doing a full launch, especially in the US, where we’ve got our full website launch. We’ve got a clinic, an affiliate partnership launched to work with a lot of NAD clinics. Yeah, we’ve been getting it out there and seeing what people think of it. So we’ve done all the testing on it. We’ve done human clinical trials on it. We have data to show that our product boosts NAD better than some of the older generation NAD boosters that people are more familiar with. And that’s because we have took a completely approach to some of the other NAD supplements out there in the way we actually boost NAD.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:48] And so they’re not all the same.
Nichola Conlon: [00:25:50] No.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:52] You refer and that gets complicated. You referred to the people who are into this kind of. Yes. And I know exactly who you’re talking about. And some of those people recently have said to me that they are using NMN nicotinamide mono nucleotide supplementation, which is similar. It’s close to what you’re talking about, but a little different.
Nichola Conlon: [00:26:11] Yes, exactly. So so maybe that helps if I explain the different ways in which people are trying to boost their energy levels, because then it makes the way we do it makes sense and it exemplifies how our approach is more superior. So basically, a lot of people are taking MNM and which is what you’ve just referred to, or they’ve taken another supplement called NR. And are they just stand for nicotinamide riboside and nicotinamide mononucleotide. So those two ingredients are what we would refer to as NAD precursors. And all this means is that they are the raw material that the body actually uses to make NAD. So the idea being that you you have a decline in NAD in your body. So why don’t you give the body more of the raw materials that it uses to make NAD and hopefully the body will turn into NAD and then your NAD levels will go up, which does happen to a certain extent. So you do get a small NAD boost with with these types of products taking this approach. The problem is that over the last sort of four years, there’s there’s been advancements in the science which now show that the reason that your NAD is declining is not because your body has a lack of this raw material coming in to make NAD. Your NAD levels are actually declining because they are the systems that actually convert these raw materials into the NAD of failing within the cell. So you’ve got enzymes within the cell that actually make these raw materials into the NAD.And that’s one reason why your NAD declines. The other reason is that as you get older, your cells actually stop wasting NAD. So they’ve got all these different proteins and inflammatory proteins that start being regulated in your cells and they actually chew up NAD like there’s no tomorrow for no particular reason other than it’s getting wasted. So if you imagine I like to get people to think of the cell as a factory. Ok, so if you’ve got a cell factory and it’s making NAD and NAD production has gone down, would you say that it’s a good idea to just order more raw material in the factory if you know that the reason production has gone down is because the machines are broken so are the enzymes and actually because the the factory is being really wasteful because the pipes are leaking, would it be a good idea just to say, well, we’ll just order some more raw material and hopefully the production will go up?
Nichola Conlon: [00:28:50] And what I generally say at this point in the conversation that’s getting pretty technical is that clearly this is this is fascinating. There are different routes to achieving perhaps the same thing, and it can be confusing to people, and the first thing I always emphasize is that if you are interested in going in this direction, perhaps if you have health issues and you feel that some sort of external supplementation or intervention in your diet is necessary, the first thing you do is talk to your doctor. And I just try to really share ideas and spread ideas with this podcast. But we’re all individual. Our bodies are different. We all respond in different ways to interventions, whether it’s exercise or diet, whether it’s the food we eat for dinner, and that, as doctors often say, it’s do no harm. It’s it’s safety first.
Nichola Conlon: [00:29:36] Absolutely.
Peter Bowes: [00:29:37] I always say to people, talk to your doctor, get some professional advice. And the other thing I think that’s increasingly confusing to people is that we’ve just implied that there are several products perhaps claiming to ultimately achieve the same thing. And this is just one small part of our bodily function – our metabolism. There are other supplements to help us and help our bodies in other ways, and the confusion can sometimes lie. Well, where do I stop with this supplementation? I could take this and I could take this and I could take this. And it gets mighty difficult for people to decide, doesn’t it?
Nichola Conlon: [00:30:10] Yeah, absolutely it does. And I think, you know, you’ve just hit the nail on the head there even within the NAD boosting supplement arena, there are multiple ways and they’re not straightforward and it’s hard for people to understand and cut through what’s nonsense and what actually works and what has good science behind it and what’s made to good standards. And there’s all sorts of things that you’ve got to consider. And you know that for me, that’s that’s a really important thing. It’s really trying to explain to people in a way that they can understand it and they can make informed choices to choose what’s the best path for their, you know, their health or what supplements they want to take or what regimes they want to embark on or interventions that they want to try. But, you know, is a goal at Nuchido, it’s it’s about trying to bring things out that do have good science behind them and make people understand why it’s a better way of doing something if there are other ways. And so they can understand. Right. This is how, for example, this is how the NR supplements work or the NMN supplements work. They’re the raw material. They’re not fixing the NAD problem in yourself. Whereas with our supplement, Nuchido TIME, ours is is like we explain it in a way that this is actually fixing the underlying problems in the cell. So you’re actually restoring your cells own capacity to make its own NAD again, rather than just trying to chuck in more raw material to the cell factory. And so, yeah, it’s about the education and that’s going to be such a major part moving forward within the longevity community to make sure that we educate and really talk a lot about what’s going on with the science and how how it can benefit people. And, you know the best way to approach it, because it can be a sensitive subject for some people.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:58] Yeah, I agree. It is fascinating, though. I want to just change tack as we bring this to a close. I’m curious, as a woman scientist, in what can sometimes be very male dominated world, how has your journey been so far?
Nichola Conlon: [00:32:14] It’s that’s an interesting one. Well, and I would not say I’ve had the easiest time, so I’ve got a bit of a let’s say I didn’t do things the easy way. So I actually had I had a baby when I was doing my master’s. And and, you know, I was actually actively discouraged from doing a PhD after that. You know, a lot of people saying, you know, you can’t have a child and do a Ph.D. and you’ve got to if you want to be a scientist, you literally have to give your life to it and accept that you can’t have a family till you’re older. And, yeah, basically devote your life and marry your science career. And yeah, I just sort of said, well, no, I’m going to do both things. And I can’t say it was it was that easy having a newborn child and doing a PhD. But I managed to do it. And, you know, I’ve made a successful career out of it. And I – it has been hard. But I always like to use myself as an example, and it is actually possible to do that.I’d say I am usually outnumbered by men and in the science field, it’s not as bad as it used to be. But then I sort of took another career swerve, which is now, you know, I’m essentially an entrepreneur. I’ve started a company which again is another male dominant world. And I know we have had instances where it’s quite funny with myself and the co-founder of the company who is male and older than me. We’ve gone into a meeting and then the person we’re going to meet will say, oh, great, Nichola, you’ve got your boss today. Which which. To be quite embarrassing.
Nichola Conlon: [00:34:02] Yes, and you just try not to respond instantly to that.
Nichola Conlon: [00:34:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I, I don’t know. I guess I’m quite a tough cookie and I don’t I don’t let things bother me. But I think some of the things that I’ve seen and heard and had said to me could probably damage some people is a sort of thick-skinned as me. And so it is still a problem, unfortunately, that there is a, you know, a bit of inequality there, but it’s definitely getting better.
Nichola Conlon: [00:34:34] Well, that’s good to hear. And you’re doing work. Good work, which is clearly one of the main things. I’m just curious as we close and I always ask this question to people in your position from everything that you know and understand today about your health and the work that you’re doing, what kind of lifestyle interventions do you use with yourself to promote your own health and wellbeing and hopefully longevity as well? And in terms of longevity, do you have a a vision insight? Do you have aspirations?
Nichola Conlon: [00:35:04] So. So the first question, what do I do? So I think I do a lot of lifestyle interventions, definitely diet, exercise, fasting, things like that, because I think, you know, although I am a company selling supplements, which I do take and I think you can’t you cannot underestimate the the how good some of the really simple and free things are. And I always try and drill at home to people. The other thing that I am massively, you know, I really advocate is, is people getting their blood done, like understanding what’s normal for your body. And it’s something you touched on earlier about everyone’s an individual and it’s so accessible now. There’s lots of companies that do it well. You can get a fingerprint blood test and you can monitor your blood every six months. It doesn’t cost that much. And you can understand what is normal for your body because what is normal for you, you know, sometimes doesn’t fit in with what national guidelines are or what’s normal for the average of the whole of the UK, for example. So I think that’s such a powerful thing to be able to monitor your own biomarkers, your own health, because you can pick up on things that are maybe slightly going off way before it ever becomes a problem. And I think this is especially critical, you know, being from the UK, where we’ve got the NHS and we’re so reliant on sick care rather than health care, where we’re only, you know, going to a doctor or whatever, when we’re already sick and we’ve already got symptoms, being able to pick up on things before that is so important because it’s trying to protect what you have already when it comes to anti-aging. And so that’s that’s something I’m massive on track in your own body. And then so the second question is, what are my aspirations? Um, sky’s the limit. Like, I, I see so many amazing things all the time, breakthroughs all the time. And the, you know, things that can happen with with mammals and cells, you know, just some of the processes where literal rejuvenation has been proven. You know, ten years ago, a lot of people even within this field would have been skeptical that you could literally turn back the clock. Now, you will not find a single person that works. And in the field of biogerontology, which is the study of ageing, that does not believe that rejuvenation is possible. It absolutely is possible. And I do believe that will go we’ll get to a point where we can almost preserve what we have and preserve our minds and our body and. Yeah, and just continue living a really good, healthy life.
Peter Bowes: [00:37:47] You’re almost sounding like an immoralist. There are individuals who put themselves into that category and talk about quite literally living forever. And certainly I don’t and I’m not in that area. And I talk about healthspan of just our healthy lives as long as possible. But maybe in 100 years time, a thousand years times, we can talk about living forever. But I don’t think we’re there yet.
Nichola Conlon: [00:38:11] No, I don’t think so. And I still don’t know what my opinion is of uploading my brain to the clouds and not living in my body like I’m yeah, I know a lot of people do believe in that. And I don’t I don’t know what I feel about that. But I think the way I view it is that things are moving so fast. I look at look at covid as an example. Right. A year ago, if we’d have said that it would be completely normal to walk around with a mask on and to isolate in your house, everyone would have gone. That’s absolutely ridiculous. And now we’re all doing that. So we might be sitting here going, oh, you know, in twenty years we’ll all be saying we live forever. Well, that’s ridiculous. But who knows?Because things are moving so fast, who knows? So I would never say never.
Peter Bowes: [00:38:55] Yeah.
Nichola Conlon: [00:38:56] And it is it’s healthspan. I would I would not, you know. My advice for doing this as well is seeing my grandparents suffer like in a care home in an awful state, I do not want to end up like that. I don’t want my family to end up like that. And that’s why I founded the company. So we can start doing things now to improve our healthspan and not wait until the governments and the rulers of the world decide it’s a good idea to have healthspan drugs.
Peter Bowes: [00:39:22] Yeah, no, I totally agree with you on that point, Nichola. This has been a fascinating conversation. Best of luck with your future work. Really good to talk to you. Thank you.
Nichola Conlon: [00:39:31] Thank you. Lovely to talk to you Peter.
Peter Bowes: [00:39:32] And if you’d like to dig a little deeper into Nichola’s work, I’ll put some links into the show notes for this episode. You’ll find them at our website, Live Long and Master Aging. We use the acronym LLAMA. So it’s LLAMApodcast dot com. And if you enjoy what we do, you can review us. You can rate us at Apple Podcasts The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media Production. You can follow me in social media at @PeterBowes. It’s always good to hear from you. Many thanks for listening.