Berkeley Researcher Discovers the Fountain of Youth

What would you do if you saw this headline in the newspaper or on the cover of a magazine?

You would probably do exactly what I did when I saw this on the cover of a Readers Digest magazine in 1998. I read the article. And then I went  to my local GNC store and bought the “fountain of youth”. I’ve been getting younger ever since.

What is the “fountain of youth”  that was revealed at length in the 1998 Readers Digest article?

It’s two powerful anti-oxidants that can be purchased and taken as a dietary supplement. At this point, you may say to yourself, big deal. You were expecting more. But before you discount this discovery, let me explain the ageing process to you and how you can arrest that process to slow it down or even reverse it.

Before I explain how our bodies age, let me do a bit of a disclaimer. I’m not a pill or supplement freak. I don’t have a shelf full of dietary supplements. But I have always been a fan of anti-oxidants. There are many. This article is about the two most powerful anti-oxidants that I know of. Once you understand what anti-oxidants do in your body, you’ll likely give some serious thought to whether you should also be adding them to your dietary plan. It’s not hard or expensive to do that.

What causes ageing in our bodies? It’s the “oxidation” process acting on the cells in our body. That’s hard to believe. The one substance that we require in order to stay alive is oxygen. And oxygen is the one substance in our body that causes us to age. The oxidation process at work in our blood stream releases “free radicals”. Free radicals are the critters that attack perfectly healthy cells in our blood stream and do whatever they can to destroy them.

Prior to 1998, and prior to reading the aforementioned article in Readers Digest, I attended a seminar on an unrelated subject in Salt Lake City. One of the scheduled speakers came on stage and began talking about oxidation and free radicals. He presented photos of dissected blood vessels from a person who included anti-oxidants in their diet, and the same from another person who  did not.

Photo of a bottle of alpha lipoic acid capsules.It was ugly. The inside of the vessels where the oxidation process had been slowed or nullified looked normal, healthy, and pink; like you would expect a blood vessel to look. But the blood vessels that had experienced heavy oxidation looked tan in color with brown spots. And the vessel tissue itself appeared to be thin and limp. I admit to being a bit startled by all of this. I should mention that the anti-oxidant supplements that this gentleman was promoting were vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and selenium. All of these are classified as anti-oxidants. And all of them can be found in foods that we eat; but not in sufficient quantity to be a huge benefit to our health. But none of them are as powerful as acetyl l-carnitine (ALCAR) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA).

Photo of a bottle of acetyl l-carnitine capsules.Both of these supplements come in a capsule and can be purchased at most dietary supplement websites or OTC at a pharmacy or GNC. The dosage is important but everyone (except the researchers that conducted the study at Berkeley) will tell you something different.  The dosage recommended by the Berkeley researchers is 500 mg. of ALCAR and 200 mg. of ALA; taken twice a day after a meal. The reason for taking these supplements after a meal is because the digestive process slows down their absorption. Otherwise, they would just shoot through your digestive tract without significant absorption.

Let’s get back to the Berkeley researchers. How and why did the announcement of their research wind up on the cover of Readers Digest? What was so special about their findings?

First of all, they were indeed searching for the “fountain of youth”. Bruce Ames, the lead biochemist, knew that oxidation was connected to the ageing process. He just needed to find out how and why it was connected. Their research was performed on laboratory rats of various ages, over time. Test specimens who were on a steady diet of ALCAR and ALA supplements showed unusually high energy levels and no free radical damage to their blood vessels. The control group, which were not given any dietary supplements, showed normal damage to their blood vessels from free radicals and many of the other expected signs of ageing. Those specimens were more sedentary, slower to learn new tasks, and required more rest. Additionally, they looked old. Their physical appearance had changed notably over time.

That’s great news! But there have been no completed studies on humans. The fact that a study on humans would have to be performed over a considerably long length of time may have something to do with that. Bruce Ames says that there is a human study in process. The FDA has approved aceytl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid as a dietary supplement. For that matter, L-carnitine and lipoic acid can be found  in some foods and occurs naturally in our bodies.

I searched the Web in order to find the specific Reader’s Digest article from the 1998 edition of the magazine. None could be found; not even in the archives. However, I did find another discussion of the same subject in the New Jersey Star-Ledger newspaper from 2002. That article can be found –>here<–.

Dr. Ames and a student researcher started a company in 1999 called Juvenon, which manufacturers both anti-oxidants in one capsule under patent. Dr. Ames has no financial interest in that company. Juvenon can be found at The Juvenon web site also has an extensive list of publications and articles about Dr. Ames research and the beginnings of the Juvenon company. I have placed a link to those references at the bottom of this post for your easy reference.

Please note that the Juvenon product comes in only one size capsule, and the ingredients are correct – 1,000 mg. of ALCAR and 400 mg. ALA. BUT, the label on the bottle says to take 4 capsules per day AND THAT IS GROSSLY INCORRECT. Supplement manufacturers use this trick to sell more product. At the current Juvenon strength, you only need one capsule per day in order to achieve the correct daily dosage.

As for me? I have been taking ALCAR and ALA since 1998 as a regular part of my dietary supplement regimen. That’s fourteen years. I can’t tell you what my dissected blood vessels look like for obvious reasons. Do I feel younger? Well, yeah. But then I’ve always felt 25 years old. So that doesn’t count. Do I look younger. Well, yeah. Folks that try and guess my age are about 10 years off on a regular basis. But that’s hardly scientific. Right?

This much we know for certain. Oxidation in the body encourages the release of free radicals which are harmful because they break down healthy tissue. Anti-oxidant substances, when taken as a dietary supplement,  counters this process. Specific anti-oxidants, such as acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid are extremely powerful and more effective at countering free radicals, and in many cases, they can reverse free radical damage and restore healthy tissue.

So my un-scientific conclusion is that if powerful anti-oxidants do not harm you (the FDA and the AMA say they don’t, but check with your doctor) AND if taking anti-oxidants is not troublesome nor terribly expensive, then why would a person not want to take them and stop free radicals from destroying healthy tissue within their bodies?

I don’t know. Doing ANYTHING considered to be healthy makes sense to me. That’s why I’m going to continue taking the most powerful anti-oxidants that I can find. Maritime pine bark is another powerful anti-oxidant that comes in a pill. But that’s another topic.

Let’s do a test. A photo of me taken last year by a professional studio appears all over this website. Guess how young I am. Don’t cheat by adding on a few years to your guess because you read this article. Pretend you didn’t read this post and give me your best guess. I’ll send a free bottle of acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid to the first person who guesses correctly. (WordPress automatically date/time-stamps your comments. Don’t give me your mailing address. I’ll send you an e-mail and ask for it if you are the winner.)


AUTHORS NOTE – this note is on another topic which I’ll address in a future post, but the fear of aging is one of the six greatest fears that we all have, as identified in 1937 by the famous author, Napoleon Hill. I have evaluated my thinking and concluded that I do not fear growing old. That is not why I take anti-oxidants. I’m just addicted to good health; and you should be too.


AUTHORS NOTE – please consult the reference links that I have included in this post. This is a controversial subject. Statements that I have made should be verified by following the links associated with those statements. Check out the publications and information on for more information than I was able to include in this post.

AUTHORS DISCLAIMER – I have no financial interest in either Juvenon or Puritan’s Pride products. I buy my acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid as separate supplements from



A number of articles have been published in periodicals and newspapers over the early 2,000’s that elaborate on the topic above and support it. Please refer to this documentation. It’s pretty interesting stuff. –>Click here<– to view the list of articles in a separate tab.



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