The term Anti- Aging medicine was first coined in 1993. Most people, including myself, find the name Anti- Aging medicine misleading. You can clearly not stop aging but it is possible to slow down the signs and keep your body healthier for a lot longer than we used to believe possible.
The basics of any Anti- Aging program focusing on five key areas; diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, hormonal enhancement, and stress reduction. Anti- Aging medicine fits in perfectly with Naturopathic Medicine as it is a form of prevention, which believes that aging should be viewed as a collection of chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, angina, macular degeneration, cataracts, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, hypertension and loss of memory. Anti- Aging medicine believes that aging as a disease can be treated and it is never too late to begin.
Seventy percent of longevity and health is related to your diet and lifestyle and therefore is controllable. The other 30% is genetic and in the past few years thanks to research performed by people like Dr. Jeffrey Bland, it has been determined that the influence that your genes have on health is also determined by your lifestyle choices. Due to this new information you no longer need to feel like you are at the mercy of your genetics and whatever they decide to express.
Another branch of Anti-Aging research into nutrition has been lead by Dr. Roy Walford. Dr. Walford was the first to complete studies showing that caloric restriction is one of the most important ways to slow the aging process and encourage healing in the body. Along these lines of thought in the past year it has also been found that it is important to keep the amount of fat on the body low as it leads to chronic inflammation, which in time can cause many chronic illnesses that we associate with aging.
Anti- Aging medicine is a medical approach that incorporates the latest advances to deter or slow the aging process and works with degenerative diseases at their cause, resulting in longer life expectancy and a better quality of life. Aging has been found to start at the cellular level. The understanding of cellular function is therefore of paramount importance to any Anti- Aging specialist and is an area of on going research.
After the age of 40 certain events in our DNA are triggered that set us up for more rapid cellular aging and with this, increased risk for various degenerative diseases. Why does your body do this to you? The simple answer is our physiology, like all other species on the planet, has been programmed to keep us around and healthy long enough to raise our children to an age where they can begin to look after themselves. Humans have made amazing advancements regarding our lifestyles and environment which enable many of us to live much longer than we used to, but our bodies have not changed along with our worldly progress. Due to our programming the older we live the more likely it is that we will get an age related disease.
Due to your body’s programming once you are in your 40’s most hormones begin to decline. The hormone melatonin which is made by the pineal gland decreases by 40% from that of what it was at the age of 20. Melatonin helps a person to get a better quality of sleep and is also a mild antioxidant. When sleep is not as deep as necessary, growth hormone which is made mainly during deep sleep and vigorous exercise, is not manufactured properly and a deficiency of this hormone occurs. Growth hormone in an adult is responsible for speeding healing in the body. Also, for most people the production of our sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA) greatly reduces causing women to go into menopause and men into andropause. Although all of these changes in hormonal levels are normal, it is also part of our programming to increase our susceptibility to disease. One of Anti- Aging medicine’s roles is to understand how the hormonal levels naturally change as we age. Often it is suggested for saliva tests to be performed for both men and women to assure that the hormones are at an adequate level as to promote health and vitality.
Numerous types of supplements are utilized in Anti- Aging medicine including antioxidants as it is believed that exposure to excesses of free radicals is one of the causes of rapid aging and cellular damage. Free radicals are formed daily in the body by things like pollution and improper diet. Increased amounts of free radicals often occur as you age and unfortunately the amount of antioxidants that your body naturally makes to cope with these tends to decrease, making specific anti-oxidant supplementation a very valuable tool.
Proper diet, exercise, pure water, plenty of sleep, if necessary hormonal enhancement and proper supplementation based on your presenting symptoms and what diseases your body may be genetically predisposed to are the major basic tools of Anti- Aging medicine. If you are considering using supplements for Anti- Aging purposes it is suggested to get a proper assessment by someone who works with this medicine to determine the proper amount of anti-oxidants and co-factors that you need. Supplements can get to be expensive and at times it is difficult to determine the best route to utilize for your own health problems.