Successful Aging: A Life Journey
There's a lot of buzz in the media related to an aging population, along with a plethora of purported anti-aging products that contribute to a very profitable multi-billion dollar industry. The baby boomers, once again, are not happy with the status quo and are looking to do something about it. They are in the company of Ponce de Leon and others who have searched for the ultimate "fountain of youth" throughout the history of civilization.
According to Dr. Al Sears, one of the first board-certified anti-aging physicians, "Aging is the process by which you gradually weaken and lose function. Anti-aging seeks to understand this process and intervene to preserve youthful characteristics." Life extension refers to those interventions that attempt to slow down the aging process in order to extend the maximum life span of an individual, or the average life expectancy of a broader population.
Book Review: The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage by Dr. Eric Braverman
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy
In The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage, Dr. Eric Braverman introduces the notion of a series of "pauses" that occur as we age, such as menopause. Some women experience their first menopause symptoms as young as in their 30s, characterized by dramatic drops in testosterone and progesterone. Estradiol losses may also start in their early 30s. Diminished bone density, less abundant hair, and cognitive dysfunctions accompany the loss of these sex hormones. Andropause (the male equivalent of menopause) typically starts around the mid-40s and continues over the next 30 years with similar effects.
Dr.Braverman points out that our bodies go through many other "pauses" as we age:
- Up until about the age of 30, bone mass increases or is near optimal. After that, osteopause begins. The availability of proper nutrients in the diet typically starts to be a concern, plus the ability to absorb and make use of those nutrients has also started to decline.
- During the 30s and 40s, dermopause begins to show with diminished skin thickness, flexibility, or elasticity, all of which are related to the ability to make collagen. The skin also becomes increasingly dehydrated.
Controlling Metabolic and Psychological Stress Promotes Healthy Aging
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Controlling cortisol and insulin levels are essential strategies in the quest for healthy aging. These hormones cause an increase in metabolic stress which leads to abdominal weight gain, chronic inflammation and telomere shortening. Metabolic aging can be partially offset by an increase in DHEA and testosterone coupled with a decrease in cortisol and insulin. Low hormone levels can be aided by supplementation. Exercise has been shown to increase DHEA and decrease cortisol and insulin levels.
Certain personality types experience an exaggerated stress response with higher than usual cortisol and insulin levels. It is theorized that individuals with anxiety or low self-esteem, who suppress negative feelings like anger, and fear being evaluated by others, are prime candidates for premature aging. Progesterone, particularly in capsule form, has a calming effect on the nervous system.
A small study of 36 menopausal women found an association between pessimism and an increase in Interleukin-6, an inflammatory substance, as well as shorter white blood cell telomere length. Both are probable markers of premature aging.
"Psychological and Metabolic Stress: A Recipe for Accelerated Cellular Aging?" by Elissa S. Epel; Hormones; 2009; 8(1):7-22.
"Pessimism Correlates with Leukocyte Telomere Shortness and Elevated Interleukin-6 in Post-Menopausal Women" by A. O'Donovan, J. Lin, F.S. Dhabhar, et al; Brain Behav Immun; 2009 May; 23(4):446-449.