We all desire to live long and healthy lives. None of us want to deal with the declining health or chronic diseases that are commonly associated with aging.
If given a choice, wouldn't we all like to life full, active, healthy lives and then when the time comes, make the quick exit?
I call this model of life the “The Square Life Curve” as opposed to the “Declining Life Curve.”
We can age successfully. There are ways to control the diseases that cause declining health as we age.
We can’t stop aging, but with a myriad of lifestyle changes, we can certainly experience a more successful aging process.
To age successfully, you must have a healthy mind, body and spirit.
WHAT IS AGING?
Aging is when the body shifts from a constructive (anabolism) to a destructive (catabolism) state:
- Anabolism is the replenishing of the body’s systems with new and stronger tissue, a rejuvenating or building mode.
- Catabolism is the breaking down of the body’s physiological systems.
Physiological functions time-line:
- peak in the 20-es,
- plateaus in the 30-es and then
- begins a sharp descent in the 40-es.
- in the US the “decade of vulnerability” occurs at the age of 40 to 50 years.
- During this time the male ages 15.2 years and the female ages 18.6 years.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN AS YOU AGE?
Individuals age at variable rates due to genetic and environmental factors such as:
nutrition, exercise, stress, smoking and alcohol and various diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus.
Regardless of the rate, however, these are the facts:
a) the brain shrinks and there is loss of cognitive function, focus and memory;
b) vision worsens with cataracts and loss of visual acuity, darkness and color perception;
c) hearing is impaired especially for higher tones;
d) the skin loses elasticity and collagen, begins to wrinkle, thin, and it heals slower and bruises easier;
e) smell and taste decrease, hair thins and fat increases as lean muscle mass and bone mass decrease resulting in decrease strength, osteoporosis and fatigue;
f) the kidneys decrease in size and function and the bladder losses its elasticity and capacity resulting in incontinence;
g) the heart has contracted about 2 billion times by the age of 50 and the incidence of heart attack and heart failure increase;
h) the lungs lose elasticity and breathing capacity is reduced by over 20 percent; and
i) the pancreas produces less insulin and diabetes mellitus is more common.
j) men lose testosterone starting at age 30 and women have reductions in progesterone and estrogen after menopause in their 40’s and 50’s.
HOW OLD ARE YOU, REALLY? BIOLOGICAL VERSUS CHRONOLOGICAL AGE
Before you can figure out how to slow down your own aging clock, you need to find out where it’s currently set.
You need to determine your biological age versus your chronological age:
- The chronological age is today’s year minus your birth year.
- The biological age is every individual’s unique biological rate of aging.
The most accurate means to determine your biological age is the Telomere Test
(that is offered by Spectracell Laboratories in Houston, Texas 800-227-5227 or www.spectracell.com.)
Telomeres on the end of our chromosomes will determine present biological age and also correlate with the rate of aging.
There are many methods to slow telomere attrition rate that I will discuss in this article.
- Taking the Telomere Test is a first step, along with:
- a thorough intensive physical examination,
- combined with a series of functional and anatomic diagnostic tests
- including all the biomarkers of aging, such as circulating levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,
- anti-oxidant defense,
- hormone levels,
- cardiovascular status,
- vascular health & cardiovascular risk factors,
- pulmonary status,
- bone health,
- speed of nerve conduction,
- body composition,
- musculoskeletal health,
- sensory responses,
- balance, coordination,
- reaction time, neuro-psychological status and cognitive function.
Please, see the list of recommended tests for a complete evaluation.
TIPS TO SLOW AGING
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet:
- 10 servings of relatively uncooked fresh fruits and vegetables per day
(6 vegetables and 4 fruits of multiple colors, especially a variety of dark berries and grapes).
- Reduce the refined carbohydrates and foods that contain a high glycemic load or index and increase complex carbohydrates and fiber.
- Reduce saturated fats, reduce inflammatory omega 6 fats, and eliminate trans fats,
- but increase omega-3 fatty acids such as cold water fish and nuts and omega-9 fatty acids like olive products, olive oil and nuts.
- Use more high quality vegetable protein and high quality animal protein such as cold water fish, wild game and grass or range feed meat.
- Avoid caffeine and all sodas, diet or otherwise.
- Eat less refined, processed and fast foods.
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup.
- it increases the life span in primates and rodents by 40% or more.
- it reduces total caloric intake by 30-40%.
- a diminished energy intake forces an optimization of the metabolism and may alter the entire genetic programs.
- It reduces cellular damage and disrupts certain hormonal levels.
- is another practical method
- fast for 12 hours after 5 p.m. each day for 3 to 4 days per week,
- combined with increased energy expenditure with resistance and aerobic exercise 4 day per week.
- This achieves caloric restriction and increases growth hormone, male and female sex hormones, but
- reduces insulin and cortisol levels and may alter calorie-induced modification of aging genes.
- Consume at least 100 ounces of filtered or bottled water (from glass, not plastic) each day.
- Add some fresh lemon or lime to each glass.
Avoid all tobacco products…active or passive
Exercise for at least:
- 1 hour per day,
- The 1 hour per day does not have to be continuous, but can be divided into 15 or 30 minute segments;
- 4 days per week,
- that includes a combination of aerobics, resistance training, flexibility and agility exercises.
The aerobic exercises should be:
- interval training at near maximum heart rate for about 30 seconds
- followed by a 90 seconds at about 60% of maximum heart rate (220 – age).
- repeated for 20 minutes and adjusted as one achieves better cardiovascular conditioning.
Resistance training is:
- 40 minutes and
- should be rotated among different muscle groups.
Remember also that:
- any exercise that you do will help.
- Start slow with fewer minutes and less strenuous exercises and
- increase the duration and level of exercise over the next several months.
- Exercise your mind as well with reading, crossword puzzles, math, memory tests and other mental exercises.
WEIGHT AND BODY COMPOSITION
Ideal body weight, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio and body composition are important.
The ideal body weight is based on body weight and body mass index:
- The % of body fat in men should be less than 18% and in women less than 22%.
- Increases in lean muscle mass % will improve insulin sensitivity and other hormonal and physiological functions.
- The waist circumference should be less than 36" in men and less than 31" in women.
- The waist-hip ratio should be less than 1.0 in both genders.
RELAXATION, SPIRITUALITY, SEX AND RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT
All of these modalities, which reduce stress and provide inner peace, will improve overall health and slow aging:
- Reductions in stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenalin levels) help to
reduce blood pressure, heart rate and improve immune function and brain function.
- Maintain an optimistic attitude and be a positive thinker.
- Be adaptable and forgiving.
- Have a lot of love in your life;
- maintain friendships, social, family and intellectual connections.
- Consider having a pet in the home.
- Practice safe and frequent sex with your mate.
Consumption of small amounts of alcohol per day may increase life span and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Although any alcohol may be effective, red wine, especially those with high resveratrol content such as:
Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Merlot may be the most effective.
According to Greek Mythology, the hapless mortal, Tithonus mistakenly asked the goddess Eos to confer eternal life rather than eternal youth. He thus found himself condemned to immortal decrepitude.
A new report suggests that, if Tithonus had cut a deal with Dionysus, the god of wine, he might have fared much better.
This may be due to the resveratrol and other polyphenols in red wine.
Resveratrol shows the most promise as an anti-aging nutrient
Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in:
- red wine, the skin of young unripe red grapes, grape seeds & purple grape juice;
- in smaller amounts in peanuts,
- in the roots of a Chinese medicinal herb -- Polygonum cuspidatum,
- in South American shrub -- Senna quinquangulata
It activates a group of genes called sitruins (silent information regulator proteins), specifically SIR I and SIR 2 genes in human cells:
- Activation of SIR I will extend life span and can be particularly effective in conjunction with caloric restriction.
SIR I blocks the activity of tumor growth, cell death and protects human cells from gamma radiation.
- SIR 2 increases DNA stability, speeds cellular repair and increases total life span.
The power of resveratrol in various studies is impressive:
- In yeast, it extends life by 80 percent;
- In mice, rats, fish and other animal models, it demonstrates anti-aging, promotes weight loss and simulates the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction without actually restricting calories.
Resveratrol has also:
- demonstrated anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory anti-cancer, anti-platelet, and cholesterol lowering activities;
- increases insulin sensitivity, reduces insulin like growth factor I (IGF –I),
- activates the PPAR gamma system,
- increases mitochondrial number,
- increases energy expenditure and
- improves motor function.
- reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and
- slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The dose needed in humans to achieve an anti-aging effect:
- is not known, but
- based on the doses that have been shown to be effective in animals and other metabolic and life span consideration,
- a human would need about 250 mg per day of trans-resveratrol.
- One liter (bottle) of red wine contains only about 1-2 mg of resveratrol (range of 0.2 to 5.8 mg per liter).
- there is a study that about 20 grams of resveratrol per week is optimal, which is equivalent to about a 6 ounce glass of red wine per day.
More is not better and has detrimental health consequences.
No short or long-term adverse effects have been noted to date.
NUTRACEUTICALS, VITAMINS ANTIOXIDANTS AND MINERALS
Although there is no definitive proof in humans that specific nutraceuticals, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals extend life expectancy,
there is data in animal models that specific supplements are effective in extending life span:
co-enzyme Q-10, acetyl-L-carnitine, phosphatidyl serine, glycerophosphocholine, n-acetyl cysteine, EGCG, trans-resveratrol, grape seed extract, polyphenols, vitamins B, C, D, K2, MK7, selenium, zinc, lycopene, lutein, gamma/delta tocopherol and tocotrienols, R-Lipoic acid, omega 3 fatty acids
increase life span and cognitive function in rats.
Other supplements are being evaluated as well. The best quality source for these nutrients is:
- EFASirt Supreme and
- Resveratrol HP
from Biotics Research at 1-800-231-5777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not take:
- a multivitamin with beta carotene;
- only d- or dl-alpha tocopherol (vitamin E);
- Males should avoid supplemental iron.
Women and men need 2000 IU or more of vitamin D per day, to achieve a blood level of vitamin D at 80 ng/ml.
Women need 1500 mg calcium with other bone minerals.
Use ginger, turmeric, curcurmin and other natural anti-inflammatory agents.
Recent studies have shown that increasing blood levels of the powerful intra-cellular anti-oxidant glutathione and maintaining enzymes that produce glutathione or reduce its destruction will reduce:
heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and vascular diseases and cancer.
Many foods and nutritional supplements will increase intra-cellular levels of glutathione such as:
R-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium, whey protein, broccoli , vitamin C and E, as well as a few others.
1. ANGIOTENSION CONVERTING ENZYME INHIBITORS (ACEI’S) AND ANGIOTENSIVE CONVERTING ENZYME INHIBITORS (ARB’S).
These drugs are used to treat:
high blood pressure, heart failure, reduce stroke and heart attack, improve kidney function and reduce urinary protein, improve vascular function and reduce the incidence of diabetes mellitus.
They also have:
potent antioxidant, anti-growth, anti-inflammatory and other protective characteristics, that increase life
expectancy in rats and mice.
The exact mechanisms are unclear, but increases in nitric oxide levels and inhibition of the toxic actions of angiotension II - appear to be at play.
This class of drugs is used to:
- treat high cholesterol and
- reduce heart disease and stroke;
- They also have pleiotrophic effects that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-growth;
- they increase endothelial progenitor cells (stem cells for vascular function); and
- induce expression of telomere repeat binding factor, which protects telomeres via a “capping” mechanism reducing senescence. They improve telomere life and thus extend life expectancy in animal models.
This drug is used to:
- treat diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance;
- Its effects on improving glucose and AGE products, as well as
- many other biological effects, which may improve life expectancy in animals.
4. AGE CROSS-LINK BREAKERS
These drugs act by catalytically breaking AGE (advanced glycosolation products) cross-links.
Studies have shown improvement in:
- blood pressure,
- pulse pressure and
- arterial elasticity.
The potential life span of the human could be as high as 130 years.
Achieving an optimal combination of both quantity and quality of life are important goals for future studies.
Many animal studies have demonstrated a wide variety of modalities to increase life span.
Although definitive studies in humans are lacking, it would seem prudent to consider many of the treatments that are safe as outlined in this article if you are seeking that youthful and healthy life.
To age successfully you must have a healthy mind, body and spirit. And remember, it is never too late to start.
Mark Houston MD, MS,ABAAM,FACP, FAHA is
- Associate Clinical Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine,
- Director of the Hypertension Institute and Vascular Biology,
- Director of the Life Extension Institute and Human Nutrition, at Saint Thomas Medical Group and Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN
Bonus - Al Sears, "Reset Your Bilogical Clock": https://www.scribd.com/doc/112007028/Reset-Your-Bilogical-Clock-Al-Sears