Researchers recently found that a single gene may account for as much as 3% of total variation in human intelligence. If this result holds, it suggests some obvious strategies for developing new kinds of cognitive enhancers since it implies that a single protein (klotho) may be responsible for as much as a 6 point IQ boost.
To put this in perspective, there were previously no other single-point genes believed to account for even a 1 point IQ gain. And a 6 point IQ boost is almost the difference between the average farm laborer and the average elementary school teacher. So this could be a big deal.
And the longevity benefit of klotho is even more well studied and potentially larger than the cognitive benefit. For example, when researchers checked to see how common the KL-VS gene is at different ages, they found that by age 79+, there’s a 1.57x odds ratio in favor of having this gene despite there being a 4x odds ratio against having it at birth. Klotho gets this effect by being extremely cardio-protective via a unique pathway that helps regulate blood calcium levels much better as folks age.
So how can you benefit from this? For one, you can check 23andMe right now and look up if you have a functional copy of KL-VS. Either click the link to 23andMe or check your raw data file: look for Rs9536314 and if it’s GT, you’re already one of the lucky folks (1 in 5) with high klotho levels and potentially boosted longevity/cognition.
But what if you’re TT or GG? That’s where it gets interesting. All the articles recently published about klotho are repeating boilerplate from the researchers about how “someday maybe someone will find a drug to boost klotho levels”. Well, since Google Scholar and Library Genesis exist, that day is today and that researcher is me.
It turns out that lots of people get their klotho levels increased as a side-effect of taking prescription forms of “activated” vitamin D (VDRAs) for chronic kidney disease (CKD). But there’s no reason to wait until you’re almost dying and need dialysis to start benefiting from this knowledge. Instead, this implies that taking something like 0.25 mcg/day of Calcitriol or 1 mcg/day of Paricalcitol right now for someone without the beneficial KL-VS variant of the KL gene might actually give a huge longevity and IQ boost. The intelligence boost is so large, that if this new study is right and the effects of klotho are at all acute, you should be able to measure it directly with something like quantified mind or perhaps even just raw introspection. Hopefully lots of researchers follows up on the most obvious implications of these two currently unconnected research findings and investigate activated vitamin D as a way to boost longevity and cognition in the 80% of the population lacking functional, klotho producing KL-VS genes.