Healthy Aging – An Anti-Aging Program
In the quest for optimal health, vitality and longevity a combination of diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, hormone replacement and clearing buried emotions may be necessary. Although each factor alone is important, together they are the key for optimizing our physical and mental well being promoting a good quality longer life.
In our modern times the incidence of debilitating diseases is on the increase. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart attack, immune system disorders, chronic fatigue, diabetes, osteoporosis and degenerative disorders of the brain are only a few of the disorders which are plaguing our aging population. Although there have been many great advances in modern medicine with new and more effective treatments being constantly discovered, it would be far more beneficial to our quality of life to prevent the onset of these diseases to begin with. This may best be achieved by optimizing our hormone system, mitochondrial function, central nervous system (CNS), immune system, cellular function and preventing age related inflammation. As our hormones and CNS control and maintain just about every cellular process that occurs in our bodies it is very important to maintain these two systems at optimal functioning levels. Our immune system is essential for preventing infectious diseases and cancer by identifying and removing invading microorganisms, toxins, foreign cells, mutating and cancer cells, dead and/or dying cells present in your body. Optimal cellular function is essential for good health and is maintained by providing all the cells in our bodies with sufficient amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If the activity of any of these systems begins to diminish we become predisposed to a multitude of diseases, some of which are mentioned above.
As part of the aging process it is known that the level of certain essential circulating hormones begins to decline. We also become predisposed to degenerative brain disorders and memory disturbances, and our immune systems begin to slow down. The result of the decline in function of these systems are: increased incidence of disease (listed above), lack of energy and vitality, poor sense of well being, depression, loss of sexual desire, fatigue and insomnia.
The aim of this comprehensive preventative therapy is to improve the quality of our lives as we age by preventing disease, optimizing our physical and mental health, and increasing energy, vitality and a sense of well being. This may be achieved by:
1. Monitoring our hormone levels and supplementing any deficient hormones.
2. Optimizing our brain function and preventing degeneration with certain nutrients.
3. Maintaining a healthy immune system.
4. Providing all the cells in our bodies with the essential ingredients for optimal function.
5. Maintain youthful synchronization of circadian rhythms.
6. Prevent age related inflammation, glycation and hypomethylation.
7. Maintain cellular Mitochondrial function and increase sirtuin activity with NAD+.
8. Increase AMPK activity.
The details for achieving these results are described below:
The first step for optimal health is to maintain a healthy diet. A few simple recommendations are:
1. Eat a low calorie diet which directly protects against cardiovascular disease, cancer and also helps boost immunity. A calorie restricted nutrient rich diet is the only proven method to slow the aging process in mammals. Intermittent fasting is recommended.
2. Eat a low salt diet. Excess sodium can increase the risk of hypertension, stomach cancer and osteoporosis.
3. Avoid red and processed meats. Red meat consumption has been linked to colon cancer and prostate cancer while processed meats contain carcinogens.
4. Eat a high fibre diet. Fibre protects the colon from cancer, lowers cholesterol, and stabilises blood sugar.
5. Eat a low carbohydrate diet. Refined sugars cause obesity, tooth decay, metabolic and cardiac abnormalities and increases the risk of adult onset diabetes.
6. Eat organic, unprocessed foods. Foods that are grown for mass production are grown in mineral depleted soils sustained only with NPK fertilisers (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and pesticides. Foods grown this way and their subsequent processing leaves them seriously devoid of any substantial nutritional value.
7. Drink clean water. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of clean water a day. Use bottled or distilled water as most of our drinking water is contaminated with any number of man made chemicals.
8. Eat an alkaline diet. Acidity is becoming an endemic disorder causing gastric ulceration and eventually osteoporosis. Acidic foods that should be avoided or minimized include: fried foods, beef, beer, coffee, sugar, soy, corn, nuts and chicken.
More information on a healthy diet is available here.
Glucose intolerance is a major factor that influences the aging process. When blood sugar levels fall the catabolic hormones glucagon, adrenaline and cortisol cause the release of glucose from their stores back into the bloodstream to be used as energy to fuel the body. As we age growth hormone levels decline causing cortisol levels to increase to maintain this process. This causes a loss of muscle (catabolic effects) and increases abdominal fat thus promoting insulin insensitivity, otherwise known as insulin resistance, which causes our pancreas to work harder to produce more. As a result our glucose tolerance falls and our insulin resistance increases which leads to the onset of diabetes. This in turn effects our cholesterol metabolism which causes hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. Therefore it is essential to maintain a healthy diet and exercise program to prevent this cascade of effects which may decrease our quality of life as we age. In addition to these steps insulin resistance may also be treated using a number of supplements such as lipoic acid, vandium and chromium.
The aim of exercise should be to maintain and increase your muscle mass, prevent weight gain, maintain your cardiovascular system and to maintain your flexibility. Regular exercise will help you to loss weight, build muscle, sleep better, increase energy and endurance, strengthen bones, regulate your bowls, improve your mental attitude, regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and slow down the aging process. You should try to exercise at least three times a week for half an hour each session. Mild aerobics and walking are beneficial for cardiovascular fitness however weight baring exercises are essential to maintain and increase muscle mass. This is important as muscles are responsible for burning body fat stores which helps control weight gain. Weight gain should be minimized as overweight people are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, adult onset diabetes and glucose intolerance and skin disorders.
Nutritional supplementation is essential for optimising our cellular function. With degraded and contaminated food and polluted water supplies, our busy lifestyles, poor dietary habits, high stress levels and illness make supplementation an essential key to health, vitality and longevity. Your supplementation regime should include a potent and comprehensive multivitamin, multi-mineral, antioxidant, Phytonutrients, anti-glycation supplements, probiotics and some essential fatty acids.
The multivitamin and multi-minerals must provide all the essential substances in precise synergy to produce, maintain, and renew your body. If even one is missing, or in short supply, then the functions of all the others are impaired.
Antioxidants are essential for the protection against free radicals generated by metabolism, fat oxidation, pollution and other environmental factors. Antioxidants are known to prevent the occurrence of an array of diseases which include: cancer, cardiovascular disease, adult onset diabetes, lung and liver disorders, and degenerative diseases of the brain, to name a few. The importance of using antioxidants as part of preventative health cannot be over emphasized. Your antioxidant formula should contain all of the following: glutathione, selenium, Coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and Vitamins A, C and E.
Phytonutrients to control immune, inflammation, etc are also valuable. Consider: resveratrol, curcumin, green tea extract, boswellia, etc.
The use of certain vita-nutrients are essential for the maintenance of optimal brain function. As the brain controls just about every cellular function its proper maintenance will optimise mental and physical health. The aging process causes a gradual decline in several neurotransmitters which include: dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
The use of smart drugs and over the counter supplements like N-acetyl carnitine, NAD, phosphatidyl serine may offer some support.
It is also vital to maintain an effective and healthy immune system which is responsible for the prevention of infection, disease and cancer. Age related decline in immune function may be avoided by using certain nutraceutical preparations. Antioxidants have been shown in many studies to effectively enhance cell mediated immune function and prevent thymus shrinkage. The thymus gland is the major gland of our immune system which is responsible for the programming of specific immune cells as well as producing several hormones (thymosin, thymalin, thymopoeitin, serum thymic factor) which regulate many immune functions. Low levels of these hormones are associated with depressed immunity and are typically very low in the elderly. During the aging process the thymus gland shrinks due to its susceptibility to free radicals and oxidative damage causing a decline in the levels of these essential immune regulators. Therefore the use of thymalin peptides like Thymosin alpha 1 and antioxidants are essential to maintain healthy thymus function. Several nutrients such as; Zinc, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C are essential cofactors for the manufacture, secretion and function of thymus hormones. Deficiencies in any of these will result in decreased thymus hormone activity and impaired immune function.
The use of a good quality probiotic is also essential for a healthy immune system as our bowls are our first line of defense. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are both friendly bacteria both being essential for a healthy bowl.
Hormones regulate diverse activities such as growth, repair, utilisation of nutrients by cells, metabolic rate, body temperature, stress, reproduction and sexual maturation, carbohydrate metabolism, blood glucose levels, immunity, mobilisation of fat stores, blood pressure, heart rate, protein synthesis, bone density, and the list goes on and on. It is therefore necessary to maintain a healthy balance of all the major hormones in order to maintain and optimise our health. As part of the aging process the levels of many of the major hormones are known to decline. These diminishing hormones include: Human growth hormone, oestrogens, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone. The consequences of age related hormone deficiencies predispose you to an array of age related illnesses. There is now a growing body of evidence which indicates that by supplementing any deficient hormones to achieve physiological levels of a healthy thirty year old, not only will the risk of many of these diseases be significantly reduced but also a tremendous sense of well being, vitality and zest for life will occur.
The first step is to determine your current hormone status. This involves measuring your levels of oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and if you suffer from fatigue or stress you should also measure your DHEA, cortisol and thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) levels. The first five hormones are best determined using hormone analysis which is a non-invasive, easy and an accurate means of determining the free and active hormone levels. Unfortunately saliva tests are not available for the thyroid hormones so they will need to be tested by conventional blood tests or a urine test, if appropriate.
Cortisol, DHEA and thyroid hormone levels should be checked if you suffer from fatigue to rule out the presence of adrenal exhaustion and/or hypothyroidism which are both very closely linked to each other and to hormone imbalances. During periods of progesterone deficiencies the thyroid gland function may be suppressed reducing the secretion of thyroid hormones. If the thyroid is under active, due to low progesterone or any other causes, the adrenal glands get overworked and subsequently run down while trying to compensate for the low thyroid hormone levels. During periods of stress the adrenal glands continually secrete cortisol. In response to high cortisol levels the thyroid gland secretes less thyroid hormones in an attempt to reverse the adrenal overdrive. This can make us feel tired and heavy as our metabolic rate slows down. In addition the exhausted adrenal gland produces less cortisone, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, that suppresses the inflammatory and allergic responses of your immune system. This may result with an inflamed thyroid gland thus decreasing thyroid hormone secretion even further. Eventually this will place further stress the adrenal gland. The stressed adrenal gland will then produce less DHEA which accelerates naturally diminishing sex hormone levels. These cascading events illustrates the necessity for determining both cortisol and thyroid hormone levels. If test results indicate either of these conditions are present then customised formulas supplementing the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, and DHEA may be used to re-establish normal healthy physiological levels. Too much cortisol may accelerate aging and a host of other degenerative diseases therefore DHEA supplementation may protect against the overproduction of cortisol from the adrenals. Aspirin and Vitamin C may also help prevent excessive cortisol levels as well. The European drug KH3 can also help block cell damaging effects of cortisol.
Once your overall hormonal status has been established then a customised bioidentical hormone replacement regime may be formulated to suite your own individual requirements. This involves customising the dose of oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA to bring them back to a normal healthy physiological level. The levels of each hormone are then routinely monitored to ensure they all remain within normal ranges promoting optimal health and vitality.
The hormones used have a molecular structure which is an exact match of the hormones found in the body, hence we call them bioidentical – a term that is far more precise than “natural’. Because bioidentical hormones are just like the hormones that our bodies were designed to recognise and utilise, their effects are more physiological – consistent with our normal biochemistry, unlike synthetic hormones.
Mitochondrial function is another important factor for aging and specifically Nicatinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) which is required for ATP production within the mitochondria has been identified as an essential component for life and potentially arrest the aging process. Abundant NAD increases the effectiveness of the protein Sir2p, which prevents (“silences”) the expression of certain genes that are thought to be responsible for a cellular aging process involving damage to DNA molecules. Much research is underway to regulating the Sir2p protein with NAD and how to effectively increase NAD levels.
Controlling Malfunctioning Circadian Rhythm
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland responsible for controlling the body clock or circadian rhythm which control our sleep/waking cycles. The levels of this hormone have been shown to decline with age resulting with poor sleeping patterns. By attempting to restore more youthful sleep patterns with melatonin we can increase slow wave sleep patterns which is where most growth hormone is released. By synchronising our sleep patterns we are also able to help restore optimal brain function which may retard the aging process as one theory of aging is believed to be controlled by the brain.
Age Related Inflammation
The aging process results in an increase of inflammatory cytokines (destructive chemicals) that contribute to many degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Chronic systemic inflammation is a prime reason for the developement of degenerative diseases so people suffering multiple degenerative diseases should have a cytokine blood test to see if excess levels of the cytokines TNF-a and IL-1b are present. If so you should supplement with 1-2g of EPA fish oils to supress these cytokines. Nettle leaf and Vitamin K may also help suppress elevated levels. By reducing the inflammatory cytokines chronic inflammation may be prevented or reversed thus effectively treating the cause of many of these diseases. The regular use of natural anti-inflammatories such as curcumin, grean tea extract, Boswellia herb and ginger may help prevent age related inflammation thus preventing an array of degenerative diseases.
As we age critical proteins are damaged by the process known as glycation. Glycation is a reaction between proteins and sugars which irreversibly alters the configuration of the protein. These altered proteins, known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), can no longer effectively full fill their role in the body which eventually results in illness and disease. AGEs have been implicated in many of the diseases associated with aging, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease. Carnosine is beneficial to help prevent the glycation process which is responsible for the destruction of proteins and thus another cause of the aging process.
Hypomethylation leads to an increase in homocysteine which is associated with cardiovascular disease, depression and cognitive impairment. It also loosens DNA causing gene expression of genes that would otherwise remain dormant. To help support methylation you can supplement methyl-donors such as SAMe, methionine, trimethylglycine along with Vitamin B’s and folic acid. Click here for details.
Clearing Buried Emotions/Energetic Entrapments
Science and medicine is yet to discover the fact that most disease and aging is caused by an emotional and/or less frequently a mental energetic disturbance trapped within the cells in the body that causes either a blockage or over stimulation of energy flow into that area of the body which will ultimately manifests itself as a disease in the physical body. As our emotions energetically determine our well being it is also very important to heal any emotional trauma, issues, false belief systems, etc we are all carrying. For more information click here. If left untreated these issues will eventually cause some form of illness and reduce our quality of life. From the souls perspective there is no point prolonging our physical lives if we continue to live in a way that is not true to our natural impulses.
The therapies outlined here are currently being used in anti-aging and preventative medicine clinics throughout America and Europe with great success. These natural, safe and effective therapies mimic the blueprint of mother nature by maintaining our hormones and nutrients at optimal physiological levels while also treating on a more holistic level. There is an array of scientific evidence supporting the prevention of disease using these therapies and some also suggests these therapies may retard the aging process. Long term clinical trails are currently being performed to develop more evidence of their life prolonging benefits but will not be published for many years. However, the primary aim of these therapies should be to enhance the quality of our lives by preventing disease and optimising physical and mental health promoting energy, vitality and a sense of well being.