With their strange 60-atom structures, buckyballs could have potential as drug carriers, medical tracers, cancer fighters and other interesting applications in the human body, but studies examining their impact on the body have had mixed results. A group of French researchers set out to study its toxicity and other effects, and came up with a surprising find — not only are buckyballs safe, a buckyball diet doubled the lifespan of lab rats.
In this study, researchers at the University of Paris-Sud 11 put some buckyballs in olive oil and fed it to a group of rats. Control rat groups were given water and plain olive oil. The control rats’ median lifespan was 22 to 26 months, but the buckyball rats lived 42 months, the researchers say. The C60 was absorbed by the animals’ bloodstream and eliminated from their bodies within 10 hours, but it apparently worked as a potent antioxidant, the researchers found.
Plain olive oil extended the animals’ lifespans by 18 percent, which is itself notable, but not as much as the buckyball-doped oil, which the team claims increased their animals’ lifespan up to 90 percent.
“C60 should be the most efficient ever material for extending lifespan,” they write.