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Healthy

  Premature/Signs of Aging  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | It can lead to... | Recommendations

 

Premature aging of the brain, circulation, heart, joints, skin, digestive tract, and immune system can begin at any time of life. Various factors cause the body to deteriorate, including injuries that do not heal completely, allergies, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals, poor nutrition, excessive radiation sunlight, overwhelming stress, and inactivity. Chronological age and biological age not the same. Aging is a physiological process that at times is only remotely connected to how old you are. How you look is sometimes an indicator of you biological age, but appearances often can be deceptive.

Sometimes premature aging occurs without any symptoms until, suddenly, there is a catastrophic event such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke. Other times, atrophy or tissue wasting can occur, as in muscle weakness with lack of exercise, mucous membrane and glandular deterioration with decreased hormone levels and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease.

Frequently, however, a body that is aging prematurely sends a message to its owner that it is malfunctioning. The most common message is pain. The cause of the pain might include such factors as inflammation, joint instability, insufficient blood supply, or pressure within an organ or on surrounding tissues.

Without the diseases of premature aging, a normal life expectancy is estimated to be 120 years. Many people are capable of living their lives without pain and suffering caused by such chronic degenerative diseases.

Unfortunately, conventional medical care has focused more on symptom relief with pain medications and surgical procedures and less on reversing the accelerated aging process, which is potentially more effective over the long term. If premature aging can be halted and normal function reestablished, then people not only will live longer but also will have a higher quality of life with the elimination of pain.

A health restoration program could include many modern laboratory assessments such as testing for antioxidant status, digestive analysis, immune system function, hormone status, circulation, and other aging markers. Then a comprehensive treatment program can be established that emphasizes nutritional therapies, digestive cofactors, enzyme enhancement, hormone replacement and lifestyle changes.

Some of the most effective strategies include EDTA chelation therapy, and environmental medicine. EDTA chelation is a series of intravenous treatments that removes heavy metals and can increase circulation throughout the body. Environmental medicine identifies toxic and allergic factors to remove or avoid them and/or desensitizes the body so that their effect is negligible. Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage, hydromassage, and mind/body therapies can also reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging. Prolotherapy can help keep joints stabilized.

Patients should not automatically accept professional advice that they are "just getting older" or that they "will just have to learn to live with it" or that there is "nothing more we can do". Anti-aging and complementary medicine offers innovative approaches now, that will likely become common practice in the 21st century.

One thing to keep in mind is that those who live to be 100 years and older are more likely to have had young mothers, according to research from the University of Chicago's Center on Aging. A mother's age when she gives birth has a large impact on the future lifespan of her child, the study found. Researchers reviewed census data, social security administration database and genealogical records and identified 198 U.S. centenarians born from 1890 to 1893. Results showed that children born to mothers under the age of 25 have nearly double the chance of living to be 100 than those born to older mothers. The father's age did not appear to have an impact.

Other factors that also appear to affect longevity include growing up in the Western United States, growing up on a farm and being a first-born child. However, the researchers said mother's age appears to be more important for longevity than any other factor. The findings could have major implications, as an increasing number of women are putting of childbirth until later ages in favor of career or other pursuits. [EarthTimes.org June 26, 2006]

Werners syndrome (WS), a rare familial disease with symptoms resembling premature aging, is considered a partial model of human aging. People with WS develop a vast array of age-related diseases including arteriosclerosis, malignant neoplasms, cancer, type II diabetes mellitus, ocular cataracts and osteoporosis in early adult life. These individuals have a generally aged appearance including early graying, loss of hair, and skin wrinkling. The gene responsible for WS (known as WRN) has been identified (and even cloned) by National Institute on Aging-funded researchers (Yu et al., Science 4/12/96) as one that produces an enzyme involved in DNA metabolism and repair. Several signs of defective DNA metabolism have been identified in cells obtained from WS patients. The consequences of the defective WRN gene may be related to the accumulation of DNA damage in the cells of people with WS leading to the premature development of age-related diseases.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Premature/Signs of Aging:
 
 
Symptoms - Aging  Poor balance
  Reduced skin elasticity
  Loss of interest in activities

Counter-indicators:
  Health not declining with age

Symptoms - Head - Eyes/Ocular

  Long focal length

Symptoms - Muscular

  Individual weak muscles
  Poor muscle tone
  Muscle mass reduction
  Slow reaction time

Symptoms - Skeletal

  Loose ligaments/joints
  Joint pain/swelling/stiffness

Symptoms - Skin - General

  Thin skin
 
 

Conditions that suggest Premature/Signs of Aging:
 
 
Aging  Cataracts / Risk

Circulation

  Atherosclerosis

Hormones

  Low DHEA Level
  Low Testosterone Level
  Low Estrogen Levels

Inflammation

  Chronic Inflammation

Musculo-Skeletal

  Osteoporosis / Risk

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Premature Hair Graying
 Hair graying results when melanocytes stop producing melanin, the same pigment that darkens our skin to protect us from UV radiation. Sex steroids such as estrogens and progesterone stimulate the function of melanocytes. Also, premature hair graying is less frequent in ethnic groups, notably blacks, who also tend to have higher testosterone levels in both sexes. [J Clin Endo Metab 1997; 82: pp.3580-83]
 
 

Risk factors for Premature/Signs of Aging:
 
 
Hormones  Low HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

Lab Values

  Elevated Homocysteine Levels
 A recent large-scale prospective study of 4700 Norwegian men and women between the ages of 65 and 67 revealed that higher levels of homocysteine in plasma were associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality. For each 5 mmol/L increase in plasma homocysteine levels, the number of deaths from all causes in this "youthful" senior population jumped by 49%. This included:
  • a 50% rise in deaths from cardiovascular disease
  • a 26% rise in deaths from cancer
  • a 104% rise in deaths from other causes.
These dramatic results may indicate a need for more routine screening in the elderly population. [Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74: pp.130-6]

Nutrients

  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements
  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/o Supplements

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Psoriasis
 Psoriasis can cause rapid skin aging.

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

  Few/dark moles
 Having lots of moles may be a free ticket to aging gracefully. In study performed by King’s College in London, scientists found that the more moles a person had, the more likely their DNA was to have properties that fight off aging.

The researchers looked at the telomere length in cells of 1,800 twins. Telomeres are bundles of DNA found in all cells that protect chromosome ends, similar to the plastic tips on shoelaces that keep them from unraveling. Since telomeres get shorter as we age, they are also good indicators of how the heart, muscle, bones and arteries are aging.

Telomere length was found to be longer among people with a lot of moles (more than 100) than those with only a few (less than 25). In all, the extra telomere length amounted to the equivalent of six to seven years of aging!

Conventionally, having a lot of moles has been considered a risk factor for skin cancer, but this study points to a positive effect of moles on telomeres.

On average, people with white skin tend to have about 30 moles, though some may have up to 400. The function of moles, along with why some people have more than others, is currently unknown. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention July 1, 2007, 16, pp.1499-1502]


Counter-indicators:
  Moderate/many dark moles
 Having lots of moles may be a free ticket to aging gracefully. In study performed by King’s College in London, scientists found that the more moles a person had, the more likely their DNA was to have properties that fight off aging.

The researchers looked at the telomere length in cells of 1,800 twins. Telomeres are bundles of DNA found in all cells that protect chromosome ends, similar to the plastic tips on shoelaces that keep them from unraveling. Since telomeres get shorter as we age, they are also good indicators of how the heart, muscle, bones and arteries are aging.

Telomere length was found to be longer among people with a lot of moles (more than 100) than those with only a few (less than 25). In all, the extra telomere length amounted to the equivalent of six to seven years of aging!

Conventionally, having a lot of moles has been considered a risk factor for skin cancer, but this study points to a positive effect of moles on telomeres.

On average, people with white skin tend to have about 30 moles, though some may have up to 400. The function of moles, along with why some people have more than others, is currently unknown. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention July 1, 2007, 16, pp.1499-1502]
 
 

Premature/Signs of Aging can lead to:
 
 
Aging  Cataracts / Risk

Circulation

  Atherosclerosis

Musculo-Skeletal

  Osteoporosis / Risk
 
 

Recommendations for Premature/Signs of Aging:
 
 
Amino Acid / Protein  Carnosine

Botanical

  Grape Seed Extract / Resveratrol
 Oxidative stress is implicated in aging. Resveratrol demonstrates powerful antioxidant capabilities, with profound implications for human health. Scientists report that resveratrol inhibits the oxidation of dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and scavenges harmful hydroxyl radicals. Resveratrol also helps preserve levels of glutathione, one of the body’s most essential antioxidants. According to prominent resveratrol investigator Dr. Milos Sovak, “There is no question that resveratrol is one of the best free-radical scavengers and that it has many effects whose ramifications might affect not only longevity but also general health.”

  Ginkgo Biloba
  Ginseng, Korean - Chinese / Asian (Panax ginseng)
 Ginseng can help resist the effects of aging. Ginseng helps to treat cardiovascular diseases and has been shown to help relieve tiredness. Korean ginseng products contain phenolic compounds and a substance called maltol which effects the aging process by delaying the devolution of cells while stimulating the regeneration of cells. It also reduces agents responsible for the damage of cell membranes that cause changes with skin pigmentation.

  Green / Oolong / BlackTea (Camellia sinensis)
  Noni

Detoxification

  Chelation Therapy

Diet

  Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption
 If your typical meal is dominated by food that is white, brown and gray then what you are eating is probably making you old. Instead, think "color and crunch." Eat meals that are dominated by juicy, crunchy foods rich in reds, oranges, purples and greens.

  Fried Foods Avoidance
 Cooking foods at high temperatures results in a "browning" effect, where sugars react with proteins to form glycotoxins. Aging is regarded as a slow cooking process also, where these same glycotoxins form in various tissues of the body. Consuming these foods hastens this process.

  Alcohol Consumption
 Dr. David Sinclair, a pathology professor at Harvard Medical School and his students have uncovered is a survival gene that can be "switched on" to become a longevity gene. The gene increases the production of an enzyme that prolongs the time a living cell has to repair its DNA genetic material. This enzyme is normally produced when the survival of living cells is threatened by starvation, exposure to germs or bombardment by solar ultraviolet radiation.

In a plant model, the skin of a grape increases the plants production of the enzyme which produces a protective molecule called resveratrol. It is resveratrol, when given to yeast cells, fruit flies, worms and mice that extends life by a whopping 70%. Humans have the similar survival gene.

Studies point to this miraculous molecule as a potential cure for cancer, heart disease, age-related brain disorders, and much more. Resveratrol inhibits fungal infection, raises HDL "good" cholesterol, lowers PSA levels in males, raises immunity, controls blood pressure, preserves red blood cells, prevents blood clots and inhibits inflammation. These results could potentially be obtained by taking only about 3 - 5mg of resveratrol, about the amount provided in a 5-ounce glass of red wine. This should preferably be from pinot noir grapes grown in northern latitudes like New York, Oregon and Washington, that generally yield more resveratrol than other varieties.

The fermentation process extracts resveratrol from the skin of a red or purple grape and then it is kept from spoilage in a nitrogen-flushed bottle. The air doesn't get to the resveratrol in a bottle of wine so it can't oxidize. Grape skins provide resveratrol, but not in an extracted form. Due to processing, grape juice provides little resveratrol. Sun-dried raisins also contain no resveratrol due to oxidation by sun rays. The same is true for resveratrol pills which are widely marketed. Their resveratrol content, extracted from the Giant Knotweed plant (also called fo-ti in Asian cultures) for use in dietary supplements, is nil. Sinclair has tested a number of brands of resveratrol pills and their resveratrol content was zero. The resveratrol disappears soon after exposure to air during encapsulation. For now, red wine is the only reliable source of resveratrol. White wine has ten times less resveratrol.

Until further research confirms these benefits, selected individuals may do well to drink a glass of red wine each day.

Drug

  Conventional Drugs / Information
 Study results show that an 80-year-old drug most commonly used as a topical antifungal agent may have the potential to slow down the aging process.

Clioquinol is best known as an antifungal and antiprotozoal drug; however its use as an antiporotozoal drug ended when it was withdrawn from the market after being blamed for an outbreak of subacute myelo-optic neuropathy (SMON) in Japan in the 1960s, although some researchers contest that clioquinol was the true cause of the outbreak.

Despite being associated with neurotoxicity, research in the last few years has suggested that clioquinol may be able to reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. These findings have left scientists puzzled as to how one drug could have similar effects on three very different neurodegenerative diseases. However, scientists are McGill University believe that they may have solved this puzzle.

Dr. Siegfried Hekimi and colleagues found that clioquinol is a “very powerful inhibitor” of a protein called CLK-1, or clock-1, which is linked to aging. “Because clock-1 affects longevity in invertebrates and mice, and because we're talking about three age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases, we hypothesize that clioquinol affects them by slowing down the rate of aging,” says Dr Hekimi. Exactly how clioquinol inhibits CLK-1 remains uncertain, however suspects that metals may play a role because the drug is a metal chelators.

Dr Hekimi conclude: “The implication is that we can change the rate of aging. This might be why clioquinol is able to work on this diversity of diseases that are all age-dependent.” [McGill University January 8th 2009]

Environmental

  Environmental Medicine

Extract

  Bioperine (Black Pepper)
  Beta 1,3 Glucan
 As shown in many studies concerning the activity of beta-glucan as an immune stimulator and biological defense modifier, there are benefits to be obtained as an anti-aging supplement. It helps with infection, tumors and radiation damage and is an antioxidant and lipid balance enhancer. The result is improved general health and enjoyment of life as we age.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

  Test Antioxidant Status
  Test / Monitor Hormone levels
 Early reduction in quantity or bioavailability of multiple hormones hastens the aging process. The hormones most likely to be involved include estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA.

  Test for Circulation
  Digestive Enzymes / (Trial)
  Test Immune System Function

Mineral

  Lithium (low dose)
 The amounts of lithium recommended for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20mg (from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) daily.

Nutrient

  Alpha Lipoic Acid
  CoQ10 (Ubiquin-one/ol)
  DMAE

Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies

  Ozone / Oxidative Therapy
 There are many testimonies of the anti-aging benefits of oxidation therapies as simple as the hydrogen peroxide bath.

Physical Medicine

  Manipulation
 Spinal manipulation from a doctor such as a chiropractor or Osteopath can reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging.

  Massage
 Massage can reduce the chronic stress on the body that interferes with normal functioning and contributes to premature aging.

Psychological

  Stress Management
 Both Eastern and Western medicine recognize that stress can affect the adrenal glands and accelerate the aging process.

Vitamins

  Vitamin D
 A 2008 meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials has found that supplemental vitamin D significantly reduces mortality from all causes. See the Treatment discussion of Vitamin D for further details. [Alternative Medicine Review March 2008]
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Strongly counter-indicative
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Allergy:  Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.

Alzheimer's Disease:  A progressive disease of the middle-aged and elderly, characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, leading to loss of mental functions such as memory and learning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Arteriosclerosis:  A common arterial disorder. Characterized by calcified yellowish plaques, lipids, and cellular debris in the inner layers of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Cataract:  A steadily worsening disease of the eye in which the lens becomes cloudy as a result of the precipitation of proteins. Most cataracts are caused by the functions of the body breaking down. Eye trauma, such as from a puncture wound, may also result in cataracts.

Chelation:  Chelation therapy uses EDTA or other supplements that carry heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic, as well as other foreign substances, from the body. In the process of chelation, a larger protein molecule surrounds or encloses a mineral atom. The purpose of chelation is to increase the flow of blood to the vital organs and tissues of the body by reducing calcium deposits in the arteries and blood vessels.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Cofactor:  A substance that acts with another substance to bring about certain effects, often a coenzyme.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

DNA:  Deoxyribonucleic acid, the large molecule that is the main carrier of genetic information in cells. DNA is found mainly in the chromosomes of cells.

EDTA:  (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid): An organic molecule used in chelation therapy.

Enzymes:  Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Epidemiology:  The study of the causes and distribution of disease in human populations.

Hormones:  Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Malignant:  Dangerous. mainly used to describe a cancerous growth -- when used this way, it means the growth is cancerous and predisposed to spreading.

Melanin:  A dark pigment produced in the skin. Dark-skinned individuals produce more melanin, and melanin production increases in response to sunlight, causing the skin to become darker.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Mucous Membranes:  The membranes, such as the mouse, nose, anus, and vagina, that line the cavities and canals of the body which communicate with the air.

Osteopathy:  A school of healing that teaches that the body is a vital mechanical organism whose structural and functional integrity are coordinated and interdependent, and that the abnormality of either constitutes disease. Its major contribution to treatment is manipulation.

Osteoporosis:  A disease in which bone tissue becomes porous and brittle. The disease primarily affects postmenopausal women.

Prolotherapy:  A single or series of injections that stimulates the body to regrow, tighten, and strengthen ligaments or tendons. It is unequaled for pain relief and restoration of normal function for any body joint where connective tissue is weak or has been damaged.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Steroid:  Any of a large number of hormonal substances with a similar basic chemical structure containing a 17-carbon 14-ring system and including the sterols and various hormones and glycosides.

Stroke:  A sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel that supplies the brain, characterized by loss of muscular control, complete or partial loss of sensation or consciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, or other symptoms that vary with the extent and severity of the damage to the brain. The most common manifestation is some degree of paralysis, but small strokes may occur without symptoms. Usually caused by arteriosclerosis, it often results in brain damage.

Testosterone:  The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.