Achieving Agelessness: The New Science of Age Management
by Michael Forbes, B.Sc Pharm, Hormone Specialist
As medical knowledge advances, one of the most prominent areas of growth is age management, or the science of living longer. This makes sense as most of the world’s wealth is held by the baby boomers, who average 60 years old and want to stay younger longer. A recent study concludes that age management sciences have exploded by 400 percent since last year, and are now worth over $150 billion in the US alone. So what are the most significant evidence-based advancements you should be aware of so you can live longer, too?
Epigenetics and gene targeting can slow and even stop aging altogether. While we are not quite at the point where we know how to live forever, this area of research is quickly advancing to the forefront of the anti-aging medicine. Epigenetics is the science of turning on or off genes in your body that are responsible for carrying out various functions, like aging or gaining weight.
Test kits now available can show you how to turn off certain genes in your diet that make you store fat. Studies show that weight loss can be doubled when epigenetics is applied to regular diet and exercise programs. The same concept applies for turning on or off genes that can help regulate your mitochondria function – which is ultimately responsible for the life or death of a cell. Epigenetics may well be the scientific realization of the fountain of youth.
2. Stem Cell Replacement
Stem cell replacement improves age-related diseases. Physicians can cultivate stem cells from your body and re-inject them back into your body to regrow and heal damaged or diseased areas. Old, crotchety knees? Try rejuvenating them with your own stem cells. Tired of that elephant skin? Stem cells can reintroduce fresh, wrinkle-free editions to turn back the ever-advancing hands of time.
3. Nutritional Sciences
Nutritional sciences have come a long way and are now at the forefront of medical treatments for age management. Whole, organic foods in the right balance (ascertained through testing) will reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to slow the aging process. This is not recommended as a do-it-yourself endeavour. Many people claim to eat very healthily and believe they are well informed when it comes to nutrition – when the truth is a different story. A scientific approach needs to be taken, incorporating pH testing, ultrasound body imaging, genetic testing, allergy testing, and thorough food-planning and elimination protocols.
Resveratrol increases the formation and function of mitochondria to ultimately slow cell aging. The most powerful effect of resveratrol is as an anti-inflammatory agent, which can prevent the progression of disease. Swelling resulting from dermatitis, infection, cut or over-exposure to the sun’s radiation can be reduced. Since, in plants, resveratrol acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent, these benefits become available to human skin by topical application.
Many published studies prove the anti-cancer effects of resveratrol. It is known to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and restore the ability of cancer cells to enter into the programmed cell death response, or apoptosis, which is a normal cellular response to irreparable DNA damage. Resveratrol has anti-obesity effects as well.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It provides structure and elasticity to bones, tendons and skin. As we age, collagen loss results in wrinkling and sagging of the skin. Collagen has been shown to increase hydration of skin and the thickness of the collagen connective layer, resulting in a visible reduction in the skin’s aging.
Citrus bioflavonoids and flavonoids are at the tops of many lists to fight cancer, slow aging, and prevent disease. Grape seed extract is a type of flavonoid that acts as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which works in a variety of ways. It nourishes and strengthens the skin cells, particularly the collagen and elastin structures. This helps to keep the skin firm and youthful in appearance. AHA also improves the moisture barrier of skin cells, which allows them to accept and retain the moisture necessary to remain healthy. In practical terms, that means scarring from cuts or stretching (such as during pregnancy) can be reduced. Flavonoids can also strengthen the walls of capillaries –the very fine blood vessels just under the skin’s surface. As a result, the appearance of varicose veins can
The term “anti-aging” is sometimes not well-defined. In the case of grape seed extract, it refers to the results of its antioxidant actions. The oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) act to scavenge, or bind with, free oxygen radicals in the skin’s cell system. Left alone, the free oxygen radicals cause the cells to weaken and die prematurely, a process that causes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Where the moisturizing effects of AHA help to plump the skin cells and reduce the appearance of these lines and wrinkles, the antioxidant process of the OPCs keeps these lines and wrinkles from occurring in the first place.
7. Hyluronic Acid and Microneedling
Hyluronic acid and microneedling has long been a proven combination to reduce fine lines and aging in the skin. Hyluronic acid serums are effective tools to combat the aging process by increasing the amount of amino acids contained in the skin to strengthen the tissue. Hyluronic acid also reduces inflammation of the skin, which can lead to faster aging.
Microneedling is the process of injecting microneedles about half a millimeter into the surface of the skin, like a tattoo gun does. Microneedling has similar effects to medical laser procedures, but is less invasive so the healing time is faster. Medical grade microneedling can be done in the winter months, with treatments repeated every two months to allow for the dermis and collagen to heal. Peak healing occurs at 21 days, with minimal downtime of only half a day. Home microneedling can be done a few times per week after the skin has healed from medical microneedling, and can add to the anti-aging and skin strengthening effects of the treatment.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that has proven benefits as an anti-aging treatment for the skin. Both retinol and its harsher alternative, retinoic acid, work by stimulating the skin’s healing response, thereby contributing to the production of new collagen and elastin in the skin. The result is a visible reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, and plumper, smoother-looking skin with greater elasticity. Retinol treatments are known to initially cause redness, dry skin and peeling, and the benefits can take 30 days to begin to appear. While treatments are effective, they do not continue to work once treatment is stopped – meaning that retinol creams are recommended for daily use.
These eight tools are key components of the science of age management, helping us live longer, healthier lives – and look and feel better while doing it.
Michael Forbes has been a pharmacist for more than 10 years and is the owner of the Forbes Pharmacy chain. With a keen interest in and knowledge of age management and hormone replacement therapies for both men and women, Michael believes that we should all feel
our best at any age.
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