Buckminster Fullerenes are sixty carbon atoms indestructibly arrayed in a soccer ball shape that holds the promise of increasing longevity by up to 90%.
It’s often referred to affectionately as buckyballsbut for the sake of brevity I’ll refer to it from here on as C60.
This article is mostly going to focus on decoding what the studies are saying about C60 and how this squares up with the anecdotal experiences of Biohackers online. For more of my own personal experiences, thoughts and comparisons please see the written and video reviews in the sidebar.
There’s thousands of pieces of scientific research that have been done on this versatile molecule and 9 clinical trials which appear on Pubmed.
A landmark 2012 placebo controlled animal study out of the University of Paris found that it doubled the lifespans of the rats given C60 olive oil. This longevity effect is unequaled among longevity studies.
Our results show that while olive oil treatment can lead to an increase of 18% of lifespan of treated rats, C60-olive oil can increase it up to 90%, as compared to controls…
what is noteworthy is that at [month] 38 all C60-treated rats were still alive. Thus, based on previous investigations,C60 should be the most efﬁcient ever material for extending lifespan.
The study emphasized the importance of the dissolving it in olive oil
It is to be stressed that dissolved C60 appears hundred times more active than when it is in suspension…
The effect of pristine C60 on lifespan emphasizes the absence of chronic toxicity… These results of importance in the fields of medicine and toxicology should open the way for the many possible -and waited for- biomedical applications of C60 including cancer therapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and ageing.
There’s significant interest among health enthusiasts in C60 and a significant body of animal and in vitro research on the stuff, you’re welcome to conspiracy theorize as to why the institutions of science and medicine aren’t more interested in conducting human clinical trials.
There’s an entire forum on Longecity devoted to C60 discussion. In fact you can thank the Biohackers on Longecity and elsewhere across the internet for self experimenting with C60 and establishing a crowdsourced corpus of statistically significant anecdotal evidence for its effects as an anti-aging agent and performance enhancing Nootropic.
Discovered in 1985 by five space exploration researchers at Rice University, they eventually received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery as it opened up the field of fullerene chemistry.
The iconic scientist Richard Buckminsterfuller was not amongst the team but they named it after him to honor his respected body of work which included designing the geodesic dome.
C60 Olive Oil
You can find C60 sold combined with a number of different types of oil; Avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, etc. However in the Paris study that doubled lifespans they used pure, organic Tunisian olive oil. So I’d be a little skeptical of C60 products using other kinds of oil. Olive oil is pretty special stuff and there’s not clinical evidence for the bioavailability of C60 in other kinds of oils.
According to some the taste in olive oil is not exactly pleasant with a little bit of a burning taste.
You wouldn’t really want to use it the same way you use normal olive oil, cooking or dripping it on your salad. Just take 1-2 teaspoons daily of the stuff.
No sleep studies have been done evaluating its effect but some reports by long term users indicate that it maybe a real sleep hack.
Some report that it increases the amount of sleep they get…
Yeah, I believe it may increase my sleep also. After 1.5 yrs of C60/EVOO daily without a break, my sleep has increased from a max of 6 hrs (often less) to now more commonly 7 hrs and I also find myself sneaking a couple hour nap in on the weekends as if I feel the need to “catch up”.
A Danish biohacker reported
I never slept these monster 10-12 hours before. C60 also acutely makes me very relaxed, and if I take it with some food with dinner I could doze off like minutes after.
An American Biohacker explained
My personal experience is that the sleepiness from C60 is repair sleep. If you feel good when you wake up, it is most likely repair sleep. If you feel groggy and tired all day, it wasn’t quality sleep. For many, many reasons, many modern humans are sleep deprived. This has to do with the room not getting dark enough (any light in the retina, even with closed eyes, will keep you from getting into a deep sleep). Electromagnetic pollution from cell phones and computers, not enough exercise and low quality diet are also reasons for not sleeping well. If C60 is helping you sleep deeply, you may need it and not even know that you you did.
More sleep is almost always a good thing. These sleepy biohackers seem to agree that the sleep quality was better on C60. You’ll have to evaluate how it affects your sleep. If C60 makes you drowsy use it in the evenings not in the morning with your coffee.
A Washington University School of Medicine 2008 animal study noted that it mitigated cognitive decline in aged mammals:
Treated mice also exhibited improved performance on the Morris water maze learning and memory task. This is to our knowledge the first demonstration that an administered antioxidant with mitochondrial activity and nervous system penetration not only increases lifespan, but rescues age-related cognitive impairment in mammals.
On Longecity especially you can find an abundance of anecdotal evidence for a subtle Nootropic effect. Razor444 reported:
The main effect is an increase in the ability to perceive abstraction. The abstract becomes tangible. For example, an idea in mathematics is almost as real as the wall in front of me. It’s subjective, and probably nigh on impossible to measure—but I consider it noteworthy!
A French biohacker reported:
Personally when I take C60oo I have a strange tingling sensation around my head, the same kind of tingling when you take a strong nootropic. I did notice a better brain function, my logical performance was very obviously increased.
A commenter on SelfHacked.com reported
I have been taking C60 now for a month, noticed a good change in energy. I just lately stopped taking it and now feeling the loss of energy. Going to give it a try again…
35% of C60 users on Longecity reported that it improved their concentration.
Mechanism of Action
It’s a Super antioxidant, like more common antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Selenium), it scavenges toxic free radicals but it stands out as a notable anti-aging innovation because it selectively scavenges the reactive oxygen species that do the most damage to us as opposed to just working by osmosis like a normal antioxidant.
I’ll quote from the ProjectAvalon.net forums where the two theorized mechanisms of C60 are summarized:
(1) C60 remains in the lipid bilayers of the cells and mitochondria, doing its ROS-neutralizing work for weeks or months. Lipofullerenes could act as super-antioxidants on the cellular level, where they remain for a very long time, since they are not “used up” when they act as antioxidants, and they are constantly recycled in the cell.
(2) The C60 physically rejuvenates organisms on the cellular level, for example by DNA demethylation or by otherwise reversing cellular damage on the molecular level. Interestingly, the size of the Buckyball C60 molecule is such that it fits exactly inside the “minor groove” DNA winding and it indeed binds to it, protecting it against Methyl groups that degrade and neutralize the DNA
Russian and American scientists identify it as a Mitochondrial antioxidant:
Novel mechanism of antioxidant activity of buckminsterfullerene C60 based on protons absorbing and mild uncoupling of mitochondrial respiration and phosphorylation was postulated. In the present study we confirm this hypothesis using computer modeling based on Density Functional Theory. Fullerene’s geroprotective activity is sufficiently higher than those of the most powerful reactive oxygen species scavengers. We propose here that C60 has an ability to acquire positive charge by absorbing inside several protons and this complex could penetrate into mitochondria.
A bunch of places around the internet you can find vendors of C60 claiming that it is 172 times stronger than Vitamin C, I thought this was quite impressive so I scoured the internet for scientific paper validating this and I couldn’t find any. I think this originates from a press release from about a Japanese C60 beauty cream (yours for only $180!) It is a very effective antioxidant but I’m not sure about the 172 times claim.
To quote the research scientist and carbon engineer Bob Greska:
“[C60] doesn’t cure anything. It just removes the free radicals that inhibit your body from healing itself.”
The 2012 study pointed out its effect on oxidative stress
The effects of C60-olive oil solutions in an experimental model of CCl4 intoxication in rat strongly suggest that the effect on lifespan is mainly due to the attenuation of age-associated increases in oxidative stress.
- C60 crosses the blood brain barrier
- C-60 is a toxin sponge — Particularly of Mercury, from a 2014 study: These results suggest that C60 may be useful in capturing soluble mercury and thus reducing mercury biotoxicity.
- It’s a telomere hack — Anti-aging scientists seem to agree that telomere length has everything to do with longevity. Anecdotally at least, it lengthens telomeres.