Get Healthy For Your Next 100 Years
Keith Scott-Mumby, MD, PhD
“Youth is wasted on the young,” said George Bernard Shaw (1856- 1950). Notice he managed to live 94 years and was fit as a butcher’s dog until his last day (can you believe he fell out of a tree while pruning it?)
How right Shaw was. By the time we start to understand the secrets of a good life, our looks have started to decay. At the point when we should be at our wisest, most vibrant and sexiest, our energies are fading. Kids don’t know what they have, and while we watch them squandering it, we can only sigh!
But we have started an anti-aging revolution. When I went through medical school, medical scientists insisted aging was a process nobody could do anything about it, believing life expectancy was fixed at birth. What baloney!
Do You Want To Be A Crock Or A Classic Car?
Most people think of anti-aging as living too long and being a crumbly old ruin. “I’d rather die young!” is the cheerful reply. This actually misses the point entirely. There are dozens of degenerative processes, which take place in our bodies and, if unchecked, cause a progressive inability to function, slow clumsy movements, aches and pains, confused and irrational thinking, wrinkles and unpleasant looking skin, weakness and frailty, stooped posture, incontinence, and other humiliating conditions, which even the heartiest soul will find demeaning.
The sad thing is we are taught to expect these infirmities as “normal.” While they are common, that doesn’t make them normal. We work on correcting these factors as completely as possible. Almost all the parameters by which we judge our health and vitality are to some degree controllable and reversible. Being an old crumbly is what happens when you DON’T take care of the anti-aging issues! You don’t have to decay as you age.
We are a dynamic, integrated system of cells, organs, and fluids, constantly renewing and replacing itself every few months. The heart and brain you have now isn’t the one you had last year! Even the old idea that you cannot replace brain cells is proven foolish and a false doctrine.
Anti-aging science is rapidly advancing, and thousands of articles on age-related topics are published every month. Aging has causes. It is not pre-programmed. The anti-aging movement does not promise eternal life, but, rather, it’s all about enjoying maximum quality of being to the very end. The goal is to die as young as possible, but as late as possible!
This is in complete contrast to the ruling dictum of the medical profession as a whole, which is that you must accept aging as an inevitable and uncontrollable process. There is absolutely no scientific validity to the view. It stems entirely from ignorance and prejudice.
The timely emergence of the credible science of anti-aging is most welcome. It’s great news, because most of it is within each individual’s personal control. We will explore key strategies for beating the aging process and enjoying a younger life for longer.
In the USA we are now approaching 100,000 individuals who have reached the age of 100 (November, 2008). According to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the World Health Organization, fully 50% of the post-war “baby boom” generation now in good health will reach the age of 100. There will eventually be millions of individuals over 100 years old. You could be a centenarian, whether you choose to or not.
Therefore it’s crazy to not prepare for old age and to not try to prevent it from being an unpleasant, unhealthy experience. It IS possible to be fit at age 100. It’s a choice. Growing old does NOT, by itself harm us.
The oldest well-documented case of extreme old age in humans was Dr. Li-Ching-Yun, who lived in Western China. His obituary appeared in the New York Times on May 8th, 1933, and in The Times May 6th. His age was given as 256. At the astonishing age of 250 he lectured medical students in Beijing on the art of living a long and healthy life.
Dr. Li’s reported formula was “Keep a quiet heart; sit like a tortoise; sleep like a dog,” which today would translate to “Avoid stress, avoid inflammatory over-exertion, and sleep at least 8 hours a day!” It may be significant that in the most noticeably long-lived societies, like the Hunzas in the Himalayas, the Georgians in what used to be the USSR, and the Vilcabambans in Ecuador are all non-industrial societies with little reason to rush and stress.
To live longer and chill out more, be sure your heart rate slows down. How? You MUST eliminate stressor foods. Swallowing foods that stress your body leads to a continuous overactive heartbeat. How does that work? Read my book: Diet Wise: Let Your Body Choose the Food That’s Right for You. This book shows you how to find the foods that are nourishing and energizing for YOUR body. Read more about it here: http://www.dietwisebook.com/. You’ll read some amazing stories of change and rejuvenation.
National Geographic Survey A 1970 survey of the Georgian (Caucasus) region showed 69 individuals out of every 100,000 reached the age 100. Yet in the USA, the world’s richest and should be the healthiest nation, that figure is a miserable 3 per 100,000. We can learn something from them.
National Geographic Magazine, January, 1973, carried an interesting article by Alexander Leaf, MD, about the centenarians of Georgia. The article features a woman called Khfaf Lasuria, who was calculated by visitors to be between 130 and 140 years old. At the age of 111 she had retired from her work (picking tea) and was traveling alone by bus visiting relatives. Her conversation was crisp and lucid, and her memory formidable. She drank a glass of vodka and smoked a pack of cigarettes every day (which makes you wonder what the medical profession really knows!).
Other striking cases uncovered by Leaf showed centenarian men and women able to work a full day, dance nimbly, ride horses, and engage in regular sexual activity. By way of contrast, Leaf himself declared he was exhausted trying to follow Gabriel Chapnian, a man of 117, up a steep hill while he (Chapnian) carried a pail of newly harvested potatoes! And, before you ask, these were carefully documented ages. This is a Catholic community and baptism records have existed in detail for centuries. One man of 108 told Leaf, “I never had a single enemy, I read no books, and I have no worries.”
We don’t die of age; we die of disease. The major killers – heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and most cancers are easily preventable if you go about it the right way. The appalling toll of deaths are simply a measure of the incompetence of a medical profession obsessed with drugs and treating only symptoms, instead of taking effective and proven action directed toward the known CAUSES of these conditions.
Trying to eliminate the disease once you have it is much harder than actively taking steps to avoid these diseases. Most people wait until it is too late. Here is the best metaphor: think of the aging of a motor car. The better the ongoing maintenance, the longer it takes to crumble. Some of the CLASSIC CARS are more than 80, 90 or even 100 years old, yet are in sweet running order and perform reliably because they have been properly looked after!
Now, think of THIS: we have one significant advantage over mechanical objects. Our bodies can regenerate to a significant degree! The fact is – almost all disease is reversible. For answers, turn to nature rather than the drug industry. We already know of people curing themselves of arthritis, cancer, heart disease, etc.,, without resorting to drastic medical intervention.
Combine this with the many breakthroughs in anti-aging science. You CAN feel a sense of complete life renewal, increased vigor, mental clarity, and sexual pleasure once you turn back the clock. Ours is the first generation that has the capacity to actually prolong youthful health and vitality into our 80s, 90s, and even 100s.
Do you want to be a CLASSIC CAR or an old crock? It’s up to YOU!
The science of anti-aging says it’s possible to turn back the clock. At the age of 75 you still have 85% of the brain cells you were born with. And scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, have proven that brain cells can replace themselves.
Regeneration Previously it was thought that loss of brain cells was permanent. We now know that we have the potential to regenerate and revitalize our brains. We also now realize that our brains can be shaped and molded. Continuous use of our brains opens up new neural pathways and the synaptic connections, which link our brain cells, can be dramatically increased by daily use.
Live A Younger Life Most of us want to feel fit, well and active right up until the end. The truth is, health and vitality is a CHOICE. Health is not random, it must be earned. It works like an investment – a little set aside each week will result in rewards later. Sadly, far too many people squander their health resources and discover all too late that their health bank account is all used up. Empty. You can have a state welfare scheme, but the government doesn’t issue health coupons…!
For the majority of us alive today, we won’t live longer unless we are healthier. Adding years to your life is a matter of adding life to your years. Do not fear aging; fear disease, but be elated that it is preventable. By far the majority of men and women who have lived beyond 90 are exceptionally spry and clear headed for their age.
So, where is all this leading? You do NOT want to reach your later years finding your health a broken property. All it takes is a little intelligent care now, to reap the benefits later. The good news is – you CAN control the outcome. There’s plenty of science to guide you down the right path, and I’ll help you.
Destructive vs. Constructive Metabolism Stephen Cherniske (“DHEA Breakthrough”) has written about what he called the “Metabolic Breakthrough.”
He explains there is a metabolic model of aging. Scientifically, they divide metabolism into 2 main functions (modes): anabolism, or, building UP body and tissues; and catabolism, the breaking DOWN of body and tissues. Anabolism is the building and repair process; catabolism is the clearing away of decay and waste products.
As children, we are almost entirely in anabolic mode, as we build and grow vigorously. From the age of 20 – 25, this process stops, we are at our peak, and from there on it is the catabolism stage.
In health, these two must remain in reasonable balance. However, as we age, gradually catabolism (the process of decay) takes over more and more. The faster it goes, the quicker we age. The trick is to hold back the decay part and hang on to the repair and regeneration mode for as long as you can.
As we get older, the steady erosion gradually leads us towards disease, decline, and decrepitude, something we do not want to accept without a fight.
If we just treat aging as a cosmetic affair and try to paper over the cracks, we’ll die on our allotted day. If we want to survive the longest possible time with the maximum attainable level of vigor, we must address the forces of decay and disintegration.
We can now TEST our anabolic vs. catabolic status with an ingenious test. It’s called the ACI (anabolic/catabolic index) and it measures critical anabolic metabolites, called 17 ketosteroid sulfates (or sulphates for the Europeans). These 17-KS-S levels rise when the body goes into determined heal and repair mode. They are diminished or lacking in catabolic states.
The sample required is urine, and then you can tell quickly and conveniently exactly how fast you are aging. Stephen Cherniske carried out a trial showing that nutritional intervention can restore ACI levels, very neatly closing the circle.
This ongoing report is filled with great ideas of ways you can drive your ACI back into the health zone. Make the most of it! It’s exciting that suddenly at your fingertips is the kind of help you need to not just live longer, but live longer with good health.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Well, the truth is, we cannot avoid the topic of death. The real Japanese Samurai warriors (from before the 20th century) would rather die in a blaze of glory than go on to an ignominious old age and just fade away.
However, it’s NOT one or the other. There IS a “third way.”
It makes sense to live a long and glorious life and enjoy it right to the last day. Sooner or later, it all must come to an end. But to me, the really important part of ant-aging is living life to the fullest while we are here. How long we spend on planet Earth is less important as long as we truly “live.”
So, it’s time to start being prudent with the health coupons we were issued as a baby!
There are many Anti-Aging Models suggested by research.
The Oxidative Damage Model says aging is steady tissue degeneration, caused by oxidative damage. Oxygen brings life, but the great irony is that every breath we take, we die a little. “Reactive oxygen” is only one of a whole family of substances called “free radicals,” which have an enormous hunger. Free radical damage is a crucial mechanism of aging, although not the only one. Fortunately we have a supply of antioxidants in our bodies which attack and destroy free radicals. Many other substances can also help fight free radicals, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotenoids,, selenium, and falvonoids in red wine, polyphenols in chocolate, catechins in tea, quercetin in onions, anthocyanins in blue-black fruits, and the “sleep” hormone melatonin, to name just a few.
The Genes Model Today it is fashionable to believe that everything is in the genes. But genes don’t always show up. Many external factors will influence whether or not a gene expresses itself fully or partially. The largest external factor is diet/nutrition. It has been demonstrated, over and over, that changing what you eat will change the expression of dangerous genes. Dr. Stephen R. Spindler, Professor at the Department of Biochemstry at the University of California, Riverside, has studied the effect of long and short term calorie restricted (“CR”) diets on the expression of some 11,000 age-related genes in animals (www.lifespangnetics.com). He has repeatedly found that genetically determined age changes could be reversed. In his studies, 40% of the genes that increased expression with age were associated with inflammatory changes, and 25% were associated with oxidative stress. Since “calorie restriction” reduces inflammation and other stresses, reducing calorie intake significantly can be very effective. You might also consider a regular 1, 2, or 3-day fast, or a weekly one-day grape juice fast. Beware of drugs that will mimic CR diets. None are on the market yet, but they will be soon.
The Mitochondrial Model of Aging is very persuasive and appeals to a lot of scientists and researchers. Mitochondria – the organelles within our cells, where energy, in the form of the chemical ARP, is produced – are essential for a long healthy life. Unfortunately mitochondria have been shown to release lots of free radicals as they perform. Free radicals (see above) cause us to age.
Carbohydrate Control Model (Insulin Resistance) One of the absolute benchmarks for longevity is keeping carbs under control – specifically, having a lower blood insulin than average. It seems there’s a great deal of research that indicates that if you lower the carbs you’ll not only increase your longevity, you’ll increase the quality of your health. Carbohydrates are very powerful in their damaging effect on our bodies. Even whole grains and complex carbohydrates are not that safe. Remember, grains are farmer foods and not natural to a hunter-gatherer creature (such as WE are, in evolutionary terms).
Telomeres and DNA Damage Model Another important model of aging is the progressive denaturing of our DNA, the genetic messenger. DNA regulates most or all of the metabolic processes which go on in our cells. If the DNA messages become damaged, or corrupted, then the cells may begin to behave weirdly. Telomeres are strands on the ends of our chromosomes that are supposed to prevent this decay process. We’ll talk more about telomeres and DNA next month…
Telomeres and DNA Damage Model An important model of aging is the progressive denaturing of our DNA, the genetic messenger. DNA regulates most or all of the metabolic processes which go on in our cells. If the DNA messages become damaged, or corrupted, then the cells may begin to behave weirdly. Telomeres are strands on the ends of our chromosomes that are supposed to prevent this decay process.
Telomeres consist of up to 3,300 repeats of the DNA sequence TTAGGG. They protect chromosome ends from being mistaken for broken pieces of DNA that would otherwise be fixed by cellular repair machinery. But every time our cells divide, the telomeres shrink. When they get short enough, our cells no longer divide, and our body stops making those cells. Over time, this leads to aging and death. Babies have lots of an enzyme called telomerase, which repairs the telomeres, but we lose that steadily through time as well. It seems to be inactive in normal adult cells.
One reason cancer is seen as age advances is telomere loss makes it more likely to occur. Interestingly, cancer cells have high levels of telomerase enzyme and so can continue to repair the telomeres, which is why they vigorously grow and divide.
There is no question that the telomere mechanism is crucial to aging, though many would not accept that this is the cause of aging so much as a result of aging processes, such as oxidative damage, which certainly decreases the telomere count.
Still, it’s clear telomeres are significant. Researchers have discovered that those at the bottom third of average telomere length have a threefold higher risk of cancer. Those in the middle third have twice the cancer risk as those with the longest telomeres.
Men have shorter telomeres than women. Short telomere length is linked to risk of diabetes and chronic infection, to increased risk of several killer cancers, and IS associated with lack of physical exercise. It is NOT linked to breast or colon cancer,
You can get a telomerase count, an enzyme which tells you how you are doing and whether you have active cancer or not (cancer cells have 10-20 times the level of telomerase of ordinary cells). Originally a urine test, it is now available as a blood test. A high telomerase count indicates active cancer. This test may soon be adopted as a means of screening high-risk patients and detecting tumors.
An article published in the Lancet Journal in 2008 claimed you can boost your telomeres by up to 30% with diet, supplements and exercise.
TA-65 New York-based T.A. Sciences claims to be the only company in the world manufacturing a supplement in a pill form that has been lab tested and shown to stop telomeres from shortening. TA-65 comes from extracts of the Chinese herb astragalus, which has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 1,000 years. The company purifies and concentrates the substance, which is thought to “turn on” the enzyme telomerase (hTERT) that acts to maintain or lengthen telomeres. hTERT is usually “off in adult cells, except in immune, egg and sperm cells, and in malignant cancer-forming cells. The TA-65 pill requires no approval from the U.S. FDA because it is marketed as a supplement. But researchers HAVE found a correlation between telomere length and susceptibility to certain aging-related diseases. T.A. Sciences did 5 years of testing on TA-65, beginning in 2002. Results from an anti-aging trial can be found at the company’s website: http://www.tasciences.com.