NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) --Ibuprofen was first made in the U.K. in 1961. It was marketed as a safer alternative to aspirin.
Now, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging found ibuprofen is not only effective for relieving pain, but could hold the key to a longer, healthier life.
In a new study, researchers found yeast treated with ibuprofen lived longer.
The lead researcher, Chong He, then tried it with worms. Again, they saw an extended lifespan - by about 15 percent.
Brian Kennedy is the senior scientist at the Buck Institute in Novato.
"If you can get a 15 percent effect on life span, and more importantly health span, that's a big effect," explained Kennedy.
The doses given were comparable to what humans take.
Ibuprofen interfered with the way yeast cells picked up tryptophan and other amino acids. Tryptophan is found in eggs, chocolate and turkey. This interference may help cells to better deal with the stress and damage that comes with normal aging.
"It slows down the ability of the cells to grown by a little bit, but it probably gives them more stress-resistance. They can survive better over the long term," said Kennedy.
But like most drugs, ibuprofen has side effects, some of which include bleeding, nausea, vomiting and stomach ulcers.
Scientists at the Buck Institute now want to test this on mice, and eventually people.