What’s the Best mTOR Supplement?

Why would you want to take an mTOR supplement? As it turns out, there are some pretty compelling reasons why you might explore the best mTOR supplement. 

The mTOR pathway is a key signaling pathway in cellular growth, proliferation, metabolism, and autophagy. 

The pathway’s full name is the mechanistic target of rapamycin or mTOR. It regulates cellular growth and metabolism in response to different signals, including energy levels, nutrients, stressors and growth factors.

There are mTOR supplements that affect the pathway, and depending on your health goals, you might want to increase its activity or supplements that act as mTOR inhibitors. We cover both in this guide to the best mTOR supplements. 

What Is the mTOR Pathway?

The mTOR pathway consists of mTOR Complex 1 and mTOR Complex 2.

mTORC1 is sensitive to environmental signals like growth factors such as insulin, amino acids, energy status and stress conditions.

When mTORC1 is activated, it promotes cell growth and protein synthesis and blocks autophagy’s initiation.

mTORC2 is less understood than mTORC1 but regulates cell survival and metabolism.

Specifically, the role of the mTOR pathway includes:

  • Cell growth and proliferation: This is one of the primary functions of the pathway, and it helps increase the production of proteins needed for cell division and growth.
  • Metabolism: The mTOR pathway regulates cellular metabolism and promotes anabolic processes like protein synthesis. Activation of the mTORC1 pathway stimulates glycolysis and the synthesis of lipids, contributing to cellular energy production.
  • Nutrient sensing: The pathway senses nutrient availability in cells. It takes signals from amino acids, glucose and other nutrients and coordinates cellular responses accordingly.
  • Cellular stress response: mTOR signaling is sensitive to things that create cell stress, like DNA damage and oxidative stress. It modulates the response of cells to stress through regulating processes like autophagy and DNA repair. That promotes cell survival and their ability to adapt to difficult conditions.
  • Cellular homeostasis: The mTOR pathway maintains cellular homeostasis, responding to environmental cues and ensuring proper cell function, turnover, and adaptation to physical conditions.
  • Immune function: The signaling of mTOR regulates immune cell function and responses. mTOR modulates the activation of T cells and helps with differentiation. It also plays a role in the production of cytokines involved in inflammation and the immune system’s defenses.
  • Synaptic plasticity and neuron function: The mTOR pathway regulates plasticity and neurotransmitter release in the nervous system. It plays a role in many of the processes needed for learning and memory.

When the mTOR pathway is dysregulated, it can play a role in cancer, metabolic diseases, autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative disorders.

Health Conditions Associated with a Dysregulated mTOR Pathway

As well as cancer, which we’ll talk more about below, many serious conditions are linked to a dysregulated mTOR pathway, including:

  • In metabolic disorders ( type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome), mTORC1 activity influences lipid synthesis, glucose metabolism and adipocyte differentiation.
  • The mTOR pathway is key to neurological health. Dysregulation is associated with epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disorders, as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • mTOR signaling impacts cardiovascular health. Dysregulated activity is implicated in heart-related diseases like heart failure, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
  • The mTOR pathway is implicated in immune cell function regulation and the development of autoimmune diseases. Dysregulated pathway signaling may be associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and multiple sclerosis.
  • Dysregulated mTOR signaling is part of the aging process and the development of age-related diseases. Reducing mTOR activity may help increase lifespan and health span, and hyperactivation of mTOR is linked to accelerated aging and age-related disorders and pathologies.




Dysregulated mTOR signaling is implicated in various cancers  (breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, and renal cell carcinoma.) Hyperactivation of mTOR promotes tumor growth, proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis.

Metabolic Disorders

Altered mTOR signaling is associated with metabolic disorders. Dysregulated mTOR activity affects glucose metabolism, lipid synthesis, and insulin sensitivity, contributing to metabolic dysfunction.

Neurological Disorders

Aberrant mTOR signaling is implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders such as tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and intellectual disabilities. Dysregulated mTOR activity affects neuronal function, synaptic plasticity, and neurodevelopmental processes.

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dysregulated mTOR signaling is associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. Aberrant mTOR activity contributes to neuronal dysfunction, protein aggregation, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation, leading to neurodegeneration.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Altered mTOR signaling is implicated in cardiovascular problems. Dysregulated mTOR activity affects endothelial function, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and cardiac remodeling, contributing to cardiovascular pathogenesis.

Autoimmune Disorders

Dysregulated mTOR signaling is implicated in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and multiple sclerosis (MS). Aberrant mTOR activity affects immune cell function, cytokine production, and inflammatory responses, contributing to autoimmune pathogenesis.


Cancers Affected by the mTOR Pathway

The pathway plays a substantial role in cancer development and progression, including:

  • Dysregulation in the mTOR pathway is often observed in breast cancer, especially in hormone receptor-positive and HER2-positive subtypes. Activation of mTOR signaling can promote the proliferation and survival of breast cancer cells.
  • The pathway is implicated in the progression of prostate cancer, and inhibiting mTOR signaling has been investigated as a possible therapy strategy for treating prostate cancer.
  • Dysregulated mTOR signaling is observed in non-small and small-cell lung cancer. When activated, the pathway can promote the proliferation and survival of lung cancer cells, and pathway inhibitors are being studied for their potential value in treating lung cancer.
  • Aberrant mTOR signaling can contribute to the development and spread of colorectal cancer. Inhibition of this signaling has shown promising evidence in preclinical and clinical studies as a therapy for colorectal cancer.
  • A hallmark of renal cell carcinoma is dysregulation in mTOR signaling.
  • Glioblastoma, which is a type of brain cancer, often shows dysregulated mTOR signaling that contributes to the growth of the tumor and also therapy resistance. Targeting the mTOR pathway is being explored as a possible strategy for treating glioblastoma.
  • Endometrial cancer may be affected by dysregulated signaling, and inhibiting mTOR signaling is a possible treatment approach.
  • Aberrant mTOR signaling is frequently observed in pancreatic cancer, and mTOR inhibitors have been studied in preclinical and clinical studies as potential treatments.

Cancer Type


Breast Cancer

Dysregulated mTOR signaling promotes cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis in breast cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer

Hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway is associated with prostate cancer progression and resistance to therapy.

Lung Cancer

Aberrant mTOR signaling contributes to lung cancer development and progression, particularly in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Colorectal Cancer

Dysregulated mTOR activity is implicated in colorectal cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis.

Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer)

Dysregulated mTOR signaling is a hallmark of renal cell carcinoma, making mTOR inhibitors a targeted therapy for this cancer type.

Blood cancers can also be affected by mTOR signaling dysregulation. For example, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is thought to play a role in the proliferation of leukemic cells, their survival and their resistance to therapy.

Other blood cancers affected by aberrant mTOR signaling include acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

Inhibiting mTOR in cancer therapy may be beneficial for a number of reasons, including:

  • The growth-promoting signals in cancer cells can be blocked, stopping or slowing down tumor growth.
  • mTOR signaling can prevent cell death, allowing cancer cells to evade death mechanisms. Inhibiting the pathway can trigger apoptosis in cancer cells, destroying them, and tumors may shrink.
  • The mTOR pathway promotes angiogenesis, which is the formation of blood vessels to supply needed nutrients and oxygen to tumors. When you inhibit mTOR, it can disrupt the process, starting the tumor and inhibiting its growth and metastasis.
  • Inhibiting mTOR can make cancer cells more sensitive to other treatments like chemotherapy. Some evidence suggests combining mTOR inhibitors with standard cancer treatments has synergistic effects, reducing the likelihood of drug resistance.
  • When mTOR signaling is dysregulated, tumors can pass immune surveillance because of impaired immune responses. Inhibiting mTOR can change the tumor microenvironment, improving immunotherapy’s effectiveness in cancer treatment.
  • The pathway regulates the cellular processes associated with cancer metastasis, so inhibiting it can stop the processes and make it harder for cancer cells to spread to distant sites.

Blood Cancer Type


Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Dysregulated mTOR signaling promotes aberrant cell proliferation and leukemic cell survival in the bone marrow.

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)

Activation of the mTOR pathway contributes to the growth and survival of leukemic cells harboring the BCR-ABL fusion oncogene.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Aberrant mTOR signaling is implicated in the pathogenesis of certain ALL subtypes, promoting leukemic cell growth and survival.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Dysregulated mTOR activity contributes to CLL pathogenesis by promoting leukemic cell proliferation, survival, and drug resistance.


Activation of the mTOR pathway is observed in various lymphoma subtypes, where it promotes tumor growth and survival.

 What Causes Dysregulation of the mTOR Pathway?

A signaling pathway is generally a set of interconnected biochemical reactions in a cell that allow it to respond to external signals. The pathways play a role in cellular communication and coordinate different processes.

Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway can occur because of different factors, including:

  • Genetic mutations include loss-of-function mutations in the TSC1 or TSC3 genes or activating mutations in genes like PI3K or RAS. These are upstream regulators of mTOR signaling.
  • Dysregulation of the signaling pathways that converge on the path can also lead to mTOR dysregulation. For example, dysregulation of the AMPK pathway can affect mTOR activity.
  • Changes in the availability of nutrients can modulate mTOR signaling.
  • Hormones and growth factors like insulin can activate the mTOR pathway. If you have insulin resistance, for example, it can lead to aberrant activation of the mTOR pathway.
  • Environmental factors like toxin exposure, stress, and high-calorie diets high in carbs and fats can activate mTOR signaling.

Normal Functioning of the mTOR Pathway

Dysregulation of the mTOR Pathway

1. Stimulus

1. Aberrant Activation or Inhibition

External signals, such as growth factors or nutrients, activate the mTOR pathway.

Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway can occur due to genetic mutations, altered signaling pathways, or environmental factors, leading to abnormal activation or inhibition of mTOR complexes.

2. Activation of mTOR Complexes

2. Cellular Dysfunction

mTOR complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2) are activated in response to stimuli.

mTOR Hyperactivation: Excessive mTOR activity can promote uncontrolled cell growth, proliferation, and metabolic alterations, contributing to conditions such as cancer, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. – mTOR Inhibition: Reduced mTOR activity may impair cellular growth, metabolism, and survival, potentially leading to cellular dysfunction and metabolic disturbances.

3. Cellular Responses

3. Disease States

– mTORC1: Promotes protein synthesis, cell growth, metabolism, and proliferation. – mTORC2: Regulates cell survival, metabolism, and cytoskeletal organization.

Cancer: Dysregulated mTOR signaling is implicated in cancer development and progression, promoting tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. – Metabolic Disorders: Altered mTOR signaling is associated with metabolic disorders.- Neurodegenerative Diseases: Dysregulated mTOR activity contributes to neurodegenerative diseases.

4. Healthy Cell Function

4. Therapeutic Targets

Proper functioning of the mTOR pathway supports normal cellular growth, metabolism, and survival, contributing to overall cell health and tissue homeostasis.

Targeting dysregulated mTOR signaling is a promising approach for treating various diseases, with mTOR inhibitors being developed as potential therapeutic agents.


The Benefits of Taking an mTOR Supplement

There are two situations where you might want to take an mTOR supplement. In the first scenario, you want to inhibit mTOR naturally; in the second, you want to activate the pathway.

Reasons to take an mTOR supplement that inhibits the pathway include:

  • Cancer treatment: Dysregulated mTOR signaling promotes tumor growth, spread, and survival in many cancers. By inhibiting the mTOR pathway, it is possible that cancer-promoting effects can be suppressed.
  • Metabolic disorders: If you have metabolic disorders like obesity or insulin resistance, you might inhibit mTOR activity to improve your metabolic markers and homeostasis.
  • Neurological disorders: Inhibiting mTOR activity can help mitigate neurological disorders like hyperexcitability symptoms.
  • Immunosuppression: Inhibiting mTOR signaling is done for organ transplantation to prevent rejection by dampening the immune response.

Reasons you might want an mTOR supplement that activates the pathway include:

  • Muscle growth and repair: If your mTOR pathway is activated, it promotes protein synthesis and muscle growth. That’s why mTOR supplements are of interest to people who are focused on muscle building and athletic performance.
  • Wound healing: The mTOR signal pathway plays a role in wound healing and tissue repair. When activated, it can promote cell proliferation, which can help with healing.
  • Aging: Some research shows mildly activating the mTOR pathway could promote longevity by improving metabolic function and cellular repair mechanisms.

What’s the Best mTOR Supplement?

Most people are likely interested in an mTOR supplement that inhibits the pathway, especially because this could be beneficial for conditions like cancer. The best mTOR supplement to inhibit the activity of the path can include any one of the following:


Resveratrol is a polyphenol in grapes and berries that can inhibit mTOR signaling by activating AMPOK, which inhibits mTORC1 activity. Resveratrol benefits include the potential to suppress the spread of cancer cells, improve metabolic health, promote longevity and protect against neurodegenerative disorders.


Curcumin is the bioactive compound in turmeric. It inhibits mTOR signaling by suppressing the ePI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and activating AMPK.

Green Tea Catechins

Green tea catechins, especially epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, are the bioactive compounds with health benefits in green tea. EGCG can inhibit signaling of the mTOR pathway by suppressing mTORC1 activity.


Quercetin is a flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables. It has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Quercetin blocks mTOR signaling by suppressing mTORC1 activity and activating AMPK.


A bioactive compound found in plants, berberine activates AMPK and inhibits mTORC1 activity, inhibiting mTOR signaling.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a great mTOR supplement because they suppress signaling, especially in cancer cells. They may modulate the PI3K/Akt pathway and activate AMPK.



Mechanism of Action


Potential Benefits


Allosteric inhibition of mTORC1 kinase activity


Anticancer, immunosuppression


Activation of AMPK, inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway

Red wine, grapes, berries

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer


Inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, activation of AMPK


Anti-inflammatory, anticancer

Green Tea Catechins (EGCG)

Activation of AMPK, inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway

Green tea

Antioxidant, anticancer

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Modulation of PI3K/Akt pathway, activation of AMPK

Fatty fish, fish oil supplements

Anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardiovascular health


Inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, activation of AMPK

Fruits, vegetables

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer


Is There an mTOR Supplement That Activates Signaling?

If you’re looking for the best mTOR supplement, your goal might be activation rather than suppression of the signaling pathway. The following mTOR supplements may help with activation.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids

BCAAS, like leucine and valine, are essential amino acids that may stimulate mTOR signaling in response to protein intake. Leucine can directly activate mTORC1, which promotes muscle protein synthesis.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is high in BCAAs, which help stimulate mTOR signaling. Athletes and anyone interested in muscle growth and recovery commonly use whey protein.


Synthesized from amino acids in the body, creatine supplementation is thought to activate mTOR signaling, especially in the skeletal muscles.

Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB)

HMB is a metabolite of leucine and may help with muscle growth and protein signaling because of the activation of mTOR signaling pathways.

Final Thoughts on the Best mTOR Supplement

Signaling pathways allow our cells to sense and then respond to their environment so they can adapt and keep a sense of homeostasis. Dysregulation of pathways can lead to aberrant cellular responses that contribute to the development and progression of diseases.

The mTOR pathway stands out because of its far-reaching impacts on everything from cell growth to immune function and metabolism. In recent years, it has emerged as a promising target for therapeutic interventions, especially for cancer, metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative disorders.

mTOR supplements can regulate mTOR activity, support healthy aging and reduce disease burdens. Targeting the mTOR pathway through supplements and other medications can benefit human health.

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Ashley Sutphin Watkins
Ashley Sutphin Watkins is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She's a medical content writer, journalist and an avid researcher of all things related to health and wellness. Ashley lives near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee with her family.
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