Carbon-60, also known as C60, buckminsterfullerene, fullerene-60 or buckyball, is likely to be the most amazing chemistry discovery of the late 20th century. 1
This carbon molecule is theorized to have a practical use in everything, including rocket fuel, electronics and in creating super strong materials! Yet, arguably the most profound applications have been in the field of health.
Carbon-60 is a very complicated subject and there is a lot of public confusion about it. In an attempt to clarify what is currently known about this magic molecule, we have compiled this article which highlights its health benefits, side effects, sources and all you need to know about using it to optimize your well-being and performance!
Carbon-60 is a member of the carbon family, alongside diamond and graphite, that was only discovered recently in 1985.
Its official name, Buckminsterfullerene, was an ode to Buckminster Fuller, a mathematician who designed geodesic dome structures similar to this compound.
Essentially a carbon-60 molecule is comprised of 60 carbon atoms which are arranged in a unique shape that can be thought of as a 'carbon cage'. This shape resembles that of a soccer ball, comprising of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. At the vertex of each shape is one carbon atom, with a double bond forming the edges. Another name for this unique structure is a truncated icosahedron.
This shape is what gives C60 all of it's amazing properties, including being resistant to radiation, chemical corrosion and breakage under high pressure. Metals and other substances can be placed inside the vacuum interiors of buckyballs, turning them into novel nano-transport vehicles or superconductors. They are small enough to move through cell membranes and sit between woven strands of DNA. 2
Carbon-60 is also readily reacts with other substances and is able to easily combine with just about any compound to enhance its action.
Furthermore, C60 was found in deep space and star dust, as well as ancient mineral deposits and meteorites found on Earth, suggesting that it predates life on the planet.
All these aspects of fullerene 60 have made it the center of much research worldwide; however even after more than 30 years, scientists are only just beginning to scratch the tip of this iceberg!
The Paris or Baati study is likely the most famous experiment performed using carbon-60. The findings reveal that this molecule is not only non-toxic but increases the lifespan of rats by 90%! 3
Part of this is possibly due to the fact that Carbon-60 has a high affinity for both cellular and mitochondrial membranes. 4 It helps protect both of these structures, which are integral to the lifespan of our cells and ultimately us.
There are several studies proving that water-soluble C60 prevents mitochondrial dysfunction 5 , which promotes longevity, as well as optimal health and increased energy levels. One in particular showed that rats exposed to fatal levels of radiation managed to survive for 30 days after the event, thanks to good old buckyballs!
Ever since the first experiments were conducted on buckyballs, it was concluded that this molecule acts as a free radical sponge, mopping up any that it encounters. It has been reported that this molecule has an antioxidant capacity several hundred times higher than other antioxidants! 6
What makes fullerene 60 even more amazing is its strong cage-like structure. The free radicals it takes out the body don't affect its shape or function, allowing for it to continuously deal with free radicals until it leaves the system (which has been shown in the Baati study to be 97 hours from the bloodstream of rats).
Unlike other antioxidants, which can bind to free radicals molecule-for-molecule, carbon-60 can accumulate dozens of them before it can no longer do so. For example, it has been reported that C60 can hold up to 34 methyl radicals at one time!
This combined with it's ability to by-pass cellular membranes, including the blood-brain-barrier 7 , as well as its affinity for DNA, mitochondria and cellular membranes, place C60 within a league of its own. Moreover, once the free radicals have bound to it, they are 100% neutralized and do not interact with C60 or anything else along the way.
Another research paper showed that a specific malonic acid form of C60 mimicked the action of SOD, removing superoxide, which is a harmful by-product produced by cells. This shows that scavenging free radicals is not Carbon-60's only means of acting as an antioxidant, but that it is capable of neutralizing pollutants via chemical reduction reactions too. 8
Seeing as Carbon-60 is such potent free radical scavenger, it makes sense that it helps reduce inflammation, especially as seen in arthritis. In both human cell cultures and rats which had arthritis, water-soluble C60 suppressed inflammation in the joints and bones. 9
From a mitochondrial perspective, buckminsterfullerene helps to bring the mitochondria back into balance, which corrects the immune system and results in less bodily inflammation as a whole.
Aside from protecting mitochondria and cells from free radical damage, water-soluble C60 has been shown to stimulate the immune system in other ways.
These include stimulating the production of immune cells such as lymphocytes (white blood cells) and useful cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, both of which play a key role in fighting off infections and even tumor cellsю. 10
Thanks to the potent antioxidant ability of this miracle molecule, it can stop you from having allergies and severe allergic reactions 11 (anaphylaxis). Levels of histamine, IgE's and other inflammatory compounds associated with allergy were greatly reduced with the intervention of carbon-60.
This makes fullerene 60 a perfect treatment for asthma, respiratory problems, heart attacks, and cardiovascular disease. 12
Apoptosis is a fancy term for the death of cells, which is what buckyballs have been shown to protect against in nerve cells. 13
It is a fact that neurons die and get created everyday in a healthy individual. However, in the case of Alzheimer's Disease and many other neurodegenerative disorders, too many neurons die which results in memory loss, cognitive decline and many other problems.
In one study, human neurons were cultured in vitro and then exposed to neuron-deadly excitotoxins. These cells were protected from apoptosis by buckminsterfullerene between 50-80%, with the 80% end of the range being for aspartame (NMDA).
This study also concluded that water-soluble C60 is not an excitotoxin and does not exhibit any toxicity to the brain or nervous system. It also makes carbon-60 look very promising as a treatment option for cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
There is more evidence to support this, revealing that C60 actively promotes the growth of new neurons. Several fullerene 60 derivatives were tested in vitro and proven to support neuronal growth. 14 Not only will this help prevent neurodegeneration, but it will also help to make you smarter!
Furthermore, in the case of Alzheimer's Disease, it was shown that a specific C60 derivative destroys amyloid-beta plaques 15 , which means that it may help to reverse the condition entirely.
In one of the studies quoted above, buckyballs prevented bone damage and bone resorption when injected into the ankles of arthritic rats.
Further data indicates that carbon-60 does not just help to improve bone mineral density, but that it also protects cartilage. In rabbits that had been induced with osteoarthritis in their knees, water-soluble C60 prevented cartilage cells from aging prematurely or dying off, as well as increasing cartilage production and reducing enzymes that would destroy it. 16
Fullerene 60 also proved to be superior to hyaluronic acid, which is the stuff that surrounds the cartilage in joints and is used as a common osteoarthritis treatment. Thus, Carbon-60 in it's water-soluble form could potentially be one of the best treatments for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
That's right - it was even shown that carbon-60 has the ability to inhibit HIV and prevent the onset of AIDS! 17
Research also highlights that this wonder molecule has the ability to prevent the spread of human cytomegalovirus, hepatitis C, Semliki Forest Virus and Vesicular Stomatitis Virus. 18
Specific types of fullerene 60 known as fullerenols were shown to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Candida albicans, and Malassezia furfur, which are all commonly found to infect the skin. 19
Dangerous water suspensions of C60 - not the same as water-soluble C60 - have been documented to act as strong anti-bacterials 20 , but these compounds release free radicals and ought to be avoided. Other alkylated derivatives with short chains were also shown to destroy both bacteria and cancer cell lines 21 , but these are equally as toxic (see more below on side effects and types of synthetic Carbon-60).
Don't get too excited yet - there is no research as of yet that even hints towards buckyballs as a weight loss supplement. However, there have been several exciting studies revealing that these prehistoric compounds will prevent you from gaining more weight than you currently have right now.
This is a truly remarkable discovery. It was revealed that water-soluble fullerene-60 prevents certain bone marrow stem cells and breast cancer cells from communicating. This communication tends to result in the cancer spreading rapidly (metastasis) 24 .
It was shown to do this by correcting MAPK-ERK signaling in the stem cells. This MAPK pathway is a way for the surface of the cell and the DNA in the nucleus to engage, effectively acting as an on-off switch for DNA activity, such as cell division or protein production. In the formation of cancer, this switch becomes faulty, getting stuck in one position only.
Carbon-60 not only corrects the MAPK pathway, which would prevent tumors from forming, but it also corrects another anti-tumor pathway known as the NF-kB pathway.
This is involved directly with the DNA of a cell, controlling processes such as transcription, inflammation and its lifespan. Correcting this pathway suggests that carbon-60 may cause cancer cells to self-destruct, but further research would need to be carried out to confirm this.
In lab experiments on cultured skin cells, it was proven that C60 infused ointment protected the skin from the damaging effects of UVA radiation 25 . These harmful effects included DNA damage, the breakdown of collagen and cell death.
The cream on it's own barely did anything against the radiation, but with the addition of C60, these effects were significantly repressed! In the same study, it was noted that the buckyballs never went deeper than the outer layer of the skin, remaining where they needed to be to protect the outermost layers.
In separate research using the same carbon-60 doped cream, it was shown that this magic molecule also prevented free radicals from generating in the skin 26 as a result of either UVA or UVB radiation 27 .
The C60 could pass cellular membranes right near the DNA without causing any damage to the skin, while simultaneously protecting it! When a comparison was carried out, Buckyballs remain to be superior to other creams claiming to do the same thing.
Fullerene-60 has been extensively tested for use in skincare applications, especially when the results were in about it's impressive anti-radiation benefits.
In rat models of dermatitis, it was shown that C60 reduced inflammation and promoted better skin barrier function, especially when administered topically (as opposed to being injected into the skin). 28
Impaired barrier function, as well as increased inflammation, are two of the main problems in dermatitis. When the barrier does not function properly, it allows pollutants and other toxins from the environment to infiltrate the skin, which causes a continuous cycle of inflammation. Carbon-60 helps put an end to this cycle.
For use in treating severe acne, it was shown that carbon-60 applied topically to skin decreased the number of skin lesions, pimples and oils found on the skin 29 . It also helped significantly increase the moisture content of the skin after 8 weeks, suggesting it could be used beneficially in anti-dermatitis moisturizers.
Interestingly, it was proven that lower concentrations of C60 permeated more deeply into the skin, while larger concentrations tended to hang out on the surface. 30
Larger concentrations were also more effective at promoting better skin barrier function, but just on the surface of the skin. This suggests that lower concentrations are better for reducing inflammation in deeper levels of the skin, such as those with basal carcinomas.
In the case of certain types of skin disorders which result in hair loss or alopecia, carbon-60 can once again come to the rescue! It was proven that carbon-60 promoted rapid hair growth in bald mice. 31
Diabetes is a common cause for erectile dysfunction and male infertility. In diabetic male rats, fullerene C60 helped improve their fertility and genital function. 32
Increased levels of the antioxidant glutathione, testosterone, vitamin E, sperm and sperm motility were noted in these C60 treated rats (more than in the other diabetic rats or even healthy rats!).
Furthermore, they had recovered completely from diabetes-induced testicular complications, such as swelling, free radical damage and cell death in the testis.
In one study, pure carbon-60 induced very slight eye irritation, which caused the eyes of rabbits to turn red one hour after administration. Within 24 hours, the redness was gone. It did not damage the eyes of the rabbits or cause any other problems. C60 also did not burn or irritate the skin around the eyes. 33
The researchers explain that this is only the pure form of carbon-60 and that no other research has been carried out on C60 derivatives to assess eye or skin safety. Current data suggests that if you combined this molecule with something that is harmful, such as ammonia, one would likely receive all the negative effects of the ammonia - the same can be said in reverse of substance combinations that are beneficial!
If pure carbon-60 is taken and mixed into the water without proper diffusion, it forms a suspension, which creates a variety of new molecules such as Nano-C60. This is not the same as the C60 molecules which are proven to have the miraculous health benefits above. Those forms of fullerene have been properly dissolved in a solution using specific scientific techniques - these are known as soluble forms of C60.
Instead, Nano-C60 was proven to be toxic 34 , acting as a potent free radical itself and attacking cellular membranes. However, the same research shows that it does not penetrate to the DNA of the cells and if an antioxidant is added, such as Vitamin C, the damage is completely reversed.
It was found that all cationic or positively charged derivatives of carbon-60 are toxic, acting as free radicals, while anionic or negatively charged derivatives of C60 act as antioxidants. 35 This largely depends once again on how the carbon-60 was extracted and what it is combined with.
When carbon-60 in solution is exposed to either light or high temperatures, it starts to oxidize, becoming highly unstable and toxic. This is especially true of buckyballs found in oil solutions or other mediums that start to degrade with light or heat. Hydrated water-soluble C60 does not share these properties however, being stable whether exposed to light or heat.
Carbon-60 is found prolifically throughout nature in minute quantities. Every time you set fire to something, such as matches or a candle, you are releasing many carbon molecules into the atmosphere, including buckyballs.
Aside from combustion, let's take a look at other sources of C60:
So far there are commercially available preparations of buckminsterfullerene available as supplements or for chemists to use in multiple other applications.
To extract the actual C60, the most common method used is a modified version of the first time C60 was made in large amounts by Kratschmer and Huffman in 1989.
This involves two graphite rods suspended in a gas, such as helium, at a high pressure. When a high voltage is run through the rods and they are made to touch, the carbon in the rods vaporize, turning into clouds of soot - which is essentially a bunch of carbon clusters.
Once Carbon-60 has been extracted from this mixture, it is then either tested in its pure form or mixed into some kind of solution. Scientists have discovered that they can mix this fullerene into almost any medium.
Due to the complexity of this compound, one ought to be careful when selecting a synthetically-derived source of C60. There is a big difference between the properties of dissolved C60 and suspended C60 - one should always opt for dissolved C60 or soluble C60.
Since the Baati study, most manufacturers of oil-soluble Carbon-60 use the method he used to make it. The process involves stirring a 99.98% pure Carbon-60 in olive oil for two weeks in the dark, without exposure to light, heat or oxygen. Following this, the mixture is centrifuged before being filtered through an incredibly fine sieve to remove any suspended particles.
Carbon-60 in this context binds to the fat particles in the oil, becoming a lipofullerene. The quality will depend on what oil was used as well as the conditions maintained to make it.
It was found that exposure to light is a huge problem in commercially available oil-soluble C60 36 , resulting in a plethora of toxic by-products.The oil used can also be a problem, as if the oil is not a good quality it could already be degraded due to overheating during manufacture or exposure to light. While many people already consume this type of oil, it would react with C60 and become far worse.
To ensure the best quality, it is best to source your carbon-60 directly from a lab or opt for a more natural source.
Until relatively recently, it was noted that carbon-60 cannot be dissolved in water without oxidizing and forming unstable by-products.
However, a bunch of geniuses at the Institute of Physiologically Active Compounds managed to find a way, calling their water-soluble C60: Hydrated C60 or C60 HyFn. 37 They found a very clever method for placing carbon-60 molecules inside multiple "shells" of structured or ordered water particles, which do not appear to react with C60 and are quite similar in shape.
This water-soluble version of C60 is by far more stable than any other version and its structure is not easily destroyed - not even by boiling the water!
As you may have noticed, the bulk of health research in this article has been carried out on this stable water-soluble version of buckminsterfullerene. This is the best form of commercially available C60 as of yet; but beware of imposters who are using highly reactive and dangerous solutions where C60 is merely suspended in water.
Soot and charcoal contain little to no Carbon-60, as well as a multitude of other carbon molecules, some of which are not the safest to consume.
When comparing carbon-60 vs activated charcoal, it is clear that pure C60 wins hands down. Medicinal activated charcoal can be good for detoxing your system, but it passes through without being absorbed and one stands the risk of ingesting unwanted versions of carbon (such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, which are essentially the carcinogenic compounds in petroleum).
This is certainly not the same as fullerene 60 which gets absorbed via the digestive tract and works its way through your body, mopping up free radicals as it goes along!
When cane sugar ferments, it creates blackstrap molasses which eventually becomes rum if left for long enough.
Blackstrap molasses contains minute amounts of the magical molecule carbon-60 (not sure about the rum though!) as well as a few good trace mineral and nutrients. These include potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, copper, selenium and B vitamins.
Molasses is a great sugar substitute for those with diabetes, as it contains the above nutrients and only has a glycemic load of 55.
While this is a good way to add a little more C60 into your diet, it's probably not enough to experience all the amazing health benefits spoken of above.
Shilajit is a mind-blowing all-natural complex of over 80 trace minerals, fulvic acid and humic substances. It is the end product of millions of years of decomposing plant matter and has been proven to hold a wealth of health benefits, which have been documented by Ayurvedic practitioners for more than 3000 years.
Replace this text with: Aside from fulvic acid and minerals, DBPs (dibenzo-alpha-pyrones) and DCPs (dibenzo-alpha-pyrone chromoproteins) are some of the main constituents of Shilajit46 that confer antioxidant support and energy boosting effects. They make up ±10-30% of Shilajit's total composition,47 depending on where it is sourced and how it is processed.
DBPs act as electron reservoirs and when near mitochondria, they supply them with more electrons at a faster speed, which provides the cell with enormous amounts of energy. This in turn helps the cell to function more efficiently, live for longer and give a higher output - which translates as doing the same thing for us. DBPs have also been shown to preserve the body's natural antioxidants, such as co-enzyme Q10. 39
Recent research has revealed that a part of the DBPs and DCPs in Shilajit are bound to carbon-60!48
While further research is still required, the nature of both molecules suggests that this combination may yield of the most potent antioxidants known to mankind! Not to mention, when paired with the fulvic acid inside Shilajit, it will be able to easily penetrate cell walls and inner cell membranes.
Fulvic acid selectively takes out pollutants and administers trace minerals to where they need to go to replenish the cell; while DBPs and buckyballs work together synergistically to correct the mitochondria, protect the cell membranes and DNA, as well as mop up free radicals.
Pure Shilajit does not undergo any processing, aside from a minor purification process. It is an amazing natural compound which has every right to be exalted as it is in Ayurveda.
This is definitely the best carbon-60 supplement available, as long as you can source it from a supplier that does not heat it or expose it to chemicals.
Shungite is a special mineral that consists of 80% carbon, as well as a rich abundance of carbon-60. 40 This largest deposit in the world of this carbon-based mineral is found in Russia, near a town called Shunga - hence the name Shungite.
It's theorized that Shungite is over 2 billion years old and that this deposit may have formed there due to a meteorite collision. Under high heat, pressure and with certain atmospheric gases, large amounts of carbon molecules such as C60 could have formed.
While one can't go and eat Shungite by the mouthful to dose up on Carbon-60, one can visit this mineral deposit near the town Shunga. There is a hot spring there called 'Marcial Waters' where the spring waters flow right through some of the mineral deposits, enriching it with the healing potential of carbon-60 and more. 41
Bathing in the Shungite-rich hot springs in Russia, one can experience the benefits of carbon-60. Yet, the effects are said not to last very long after the event.
Carbon-60 has been found in the discharge caused from where lightning strikes the ground or a dead tree. It has also been collected from meteorite samples and is even found when star dust is analyzed. This all contributes to the idea that buckyballs far predate life on Earth and are possibly a primordial constituent of the universe and creation.
There is not any research relating to taking carbon-60 while pregnant, breast-feeding or just before conception, therefore it is best not to do so.
There have been two experiments on lactating and pregnant rats which reveal that C60 passes right through the placenta as well as into breast milk 42 43 . Unfortunately, these experiments had used forms of carbon-60 which were bound to either radioactive carbon-14 or toxic polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) 44 , both of which cause severe damage alone and even more damage when combined with C60.
Interestingly while humans and animals benefit immensely from non-oxidized versions of this amazing molecule, plants suffer from it. In studies where plants were watered with hydrated C60, their roots showed retarded growth which corresponded with abnormal auxin (plant growth hormone) distribution in them. 45 More research will have to be conducted to see if other forms of Carbon-60 are suitable for plants.
When it comes to pristine C60 that has been dissolved properly in oil or hydrated C60, there have been many positive experiments done on animals of all kinds. A lot of people also have reported that when they gave it to their dogs, their animal companions appeared to become younger and have more energy. Some dogs over the age of 9 even went back into heat and veterinarians of these dogs has said that it's like they are 3-5 years old again. If you plan to give this to your pets, make sure you give them a much lesser dose that corresponds to their body weight.
Carbon-60 is a fullerene, which is a family of carbon allotropes or different forms of carbon. Isotopes are not the same as allotropes, as carbon isotopes contain the same amount of protons but differing amounts of neutrons in their atoms. Carbon-60 is a molecule that consists of 60 carbon atoms.
No, but it is possible to make it radioactive by combining it with carbon-14, which is a radioactive isotope of carbon. One could also possibly substitute one or more carbon atoms in C60 with radioactive atoms.
Magenta or purple-pink. Sometimes in an oil solution, the color is slightly darker due to the color of the oil. Be wary of black oil solutions, as this may also contain other impure forms of carbon. In hydrated C60, the color of the water remains the same.
Research-grade C60 is manufactured in a lab, whereas industrial C60 is not. Industrial C60 is commonly what is sold commercially. Make sure to get research-grade C60 as the industrial version tends to be fraught with many harmful by-products - or better yet, get some Shilajit!