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The Programmed Cellular Death Approach to Anti-Aging Treatment

May 8, 2016 by · Comments Off on The Programmed Cellular Death Approach to Anti-Aging Treatment
Filed under: General 

Modern anti-aging treatment is built on a common base of knowledge that I will quickly review. Biochemistry and molecular biology tell us there are many types of chemical reactions going on in the human body. We know that it is the genetic information programmed inside our cellular DNA that defines what reactions occur. Genetic information, expressed in regulated ways, builds the body’s proteins and enzymes, and controls how enzymes carry out the cell’s biochemical reactions.

This information, contained in the DNA of our genome, consists of many thousands of long, often repetitive, sequences of base pairs that are built up from four basic nucleotides. Human genome mapping has shown there are over 3 billion base pairs in our DNA. It is estimated they contain some 20,000 protein-coding genes. All body functions are controlled by the expression of the genes in our genome. The mechanisms controlling the aging process are believed to be programmed into our DNA but only a fraction of the biochemical reactions related to the aging process have been looked at in any detail. Cellular aging is a very complex process and many of its low level operating details have yet to be discovered.

Anti-aging theory has consolidated itself along two lines of thought: the programmed cellular death theory and the cellular damages theory. The programmed death theory focuses on the root causes of aging. The cellular damages theory looks at the visible aspects of aging; i.e. the symptoms of aging. Both theories are correct and often overlap. Both theories are developing rapidly as anti-aging research uncovers more details. As works in progress these theories may take years to complete. This broad characterization also applies to the currently available types of anti-aging treatments.

The programmed death theory of aging suggests that biological aging is a programmed process controlled by many life span regulatory mechanisms. They manifest themselves through gene expression. Gene expression also controls body processes such as our body maintenance (hormones, homeostatic signaling etc.) and repair mechanisms. With increasing age the efficiency of all such regulation declines. Programmed cellular death researchers want to understand which regulatory mechanisms are directly related to aging, and how to affect or improve them. Many ideas are being pursued but one key area of focus is on slowing or stopping telomere shortening. This is considered to be a major cause of aging.

With the exception of the germ cells that produce ova and spermatozoa, most dividing human cell types can only divide about 50 to 80 times (also called the Hayflick limit or biological death clock). This is a direct consequence of all cell types having fixed length telomere chains at the ends of their chromosomes. This is true for all animal (Eukaryotic) cells. Telomeres play a vital role in cell division. In very young adults telomere chains are about 8,000 base pairs long. Each time a cell divides its telomere chain loses about 50 to 100 base pairs. Eventually this shortening process distorts the telomere chain’s shape and it becomes dysfunctional. Cell division is then no longer possible.

Telomerase, the enzyme that builds the fixed length telomere chains, is normally only active in young undifferentiated embryonic cells. Through the process of differentiation these cells eventually form the specialized cells from which of all our organs and tissues are made of. After a cell is specialized telomerase activity stops. Normal adult human tissues have little or no detectable telomerase activity. Why? A limited length telomere chain maintains chromosomal integrity. This preserves the species more than the individual.

During the first months of development embryonic cells organize into about 100 distinct specialized cell lines. Each cell line (and the organs they make up) has a different Hayflick limit. Some cell lines are more vulnerable to the effects of aging than others. In the heart and parts of the brain cell loss is not replenished. With advancing age such tissues start to fail. In other tissues damaged cells die off and are replaced by new cells that have shorter telomere chains. Cell division itself only causes about 20 telomere base pairs to be lost. The rest of the telomere shortening is believed to be due to free radical damage.

This limit on cell division is the reason why efficient cell repair can’t go on indefinitely. When we are 20 to 35 years of age our cells can renew themselves almost perfectly. One study found that at the age 20 the average length of telomere chains in white blood cells is about 7,500 base pairs. In humans, skeletal muscle telomere chain lengths remain more or less constant from the early twenties to mid seventies. By the age of 80 the average telomere length decreases to about 6,000 base pairs. Different studies have different estimates of how telomere length varies with age but the consensus is that between the age of 20 and 80 the length of the telomere chain decreases by 1000 to 1500 base pairs. Afterwards, as telomere lengths shorten even more, signs of severe aging begin to appear.

There are genetic variations in human telomerase. Long lived Ashkenazi Jews are said to have a more active form of telomerase and longer than normal telomere chains. Many other genetic differences (ex.: efficiency of DNA repair, antioxidant enzymes, and rates of free radical production) affect how quickly one ages. Statistics suggest that having shorter telomeres increases your chance of dying. People whose telomeres are 10% shorter than average, and people whose telomeres are 10% longer than average die at different rates. Those with the shorter telomeres die at a rate that is 1.4 greater than those with the longer telomeres.

Many advances in telomerase based anti-aging treatments have been documented. I only have room to mention a few of them.

– Telomerase has been used successfully to lengthen the life of certain mice by up to 24%.

– In humans, gene therapy using telomerase has been used to treat myocardial infarction and several other conditions.

– Telomerase related, mTERT, treatment has successfully rejuvenated many different cell lines.

In one particularly important example researchers using synthetic telomerase that encoded to a telomere-extending protein, have extended the telomere chain lengths of cultured human skin and muscle cells by up to 1000 base pairs. This is a 10%+ extension of telomere chain length. The treated cells then showed signs of being much younger than the untreated cells. After the treatments these cells behaved normally, losing a part of their telomere chain after each division.

The implications of successfully applying such techniques in humans are staggering. If telomere length is a primary cause of normal aging, then, using the telomere length numbers previously mentioned, it might be possible to double the healthy time period during which telomere chain lengths are constant; i.e. from the range of 23 to 74 years to an extended range of 23 to 120 or more years. Of course this is too optimistic because it is known that in vitro cultured cells are able to divide a larger number of times than cells in the human body but it is reasonable to expect some improvement (not 50 years but say 25 years).

We know that telomerase based treatments are not the final answer to anti-aging but there is no doubt that they can, by increasing the Hayflick limit, extend or even immortalize the lifespan of many cell types. It remains to be seen if this can be done safely done in humans.

Telomerase based treatments are only a partial answer to anti-aging. Please carefully research any anti-aging supplements based on this line of treatment. Through my articles and website I want to help you maintain your good health for the next 10 to 25 years. My hope is that within time period the fruits of anti-aging research will become available to everyone.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9227048

Part Four: Current and Future Anti-Aging Treatments

May 1, 2016 by · Comments Off on Part Four: Current and Future Anti-Aging Treatments
Filed under: General 

As previously noted, many anti-oxidants are essential nutrients. Natural anti-oxidants, like vitamin C and E, work synergistically. Anti-oxidants may be more effective if obtained from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists recommend eating 6 or more daily servings of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Everyone agrees the use of antioxidant supplements for anti-aging may be helpful, but there is no agreement on what the most effective supplement dosages should be.

Anti-aging medicine acknowledges that stress of all kinds causes aging but has not yet developed individualized treatment for this. There are countless sources of internal and external stress and individual stress levels vary greatly. One overlooked cause of internal stress is improper hydration. Water is essential in for the correct operation of many internal functions. Too little or too much water causes age producing stress. When one is old (80+) thirst perception declines and dehydration can easily set in. Other overlooked sources of stress are antioxidants themselves. High doses (or doses above certain yet unspecified amounts) of supplemental anti-oxidants are a known cause of stress.

To be helpful, antioxidant supplements must prevent other types of stress more than the stress they themselves create. Knowing the correct supplement dosages that can do this is an essential part of anti-aging treatment. A healthy young person in his twenties, who is properly nourished, will have less internal stress that an older individual in his sixties. For a young individual, lower amounts of antioxidants may be safer than higher amounts. A older person, whose many internal homeostatic mechanisms are less able to deal with internal stress, may benefit more from higher amounts of antioxidants. Theoretically an anti-oxidant based course of anti-ageing treatment will slow the rate at which cellular damage occurs. Cells will become “sick” more slowly. Over time, as fewer sick cells are replaced at a slower rate, the number of cells retaining longer telomere chains will be higher. You can then reasonably expect this to result in an increase in life expectancy. For now the recommended but imprecise approach to decrease the rate at which cellular damage occurs is to increase your per day intake of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables, to slightly increase your intake of antioxidants, and to take various vitamins and small amounts of anti-aging supplements on a daily basis. One study has shown taking a good multivitamin supplement is associated with longer telomere length.

Ideally anti-aging treatment should to be fine tuned for each individual. The key here would be to measure and minimize the cumulative effects of different kinds of stress on an individual basis. Easily measurable practical bio-markers for various types of stress do not yet exist or are not being used. When they are used it will be easy to customize individual antioxidant dosages so that everyone have “optimum” levels throughout their life. “Optimum” levels would maintain a safe reserve of protective antioxidants in the body.

Next I will briefly discuss the most popular nutrients associated with anti-aging. The most popular of the anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients often associated with good health and anti-aging include: beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, various Flavonoids,Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Co-enzyme Q10, Lycopene, Selenium.

There are dozens of supplements that are known to effectively treat specific symptoms of old age. A few of the better known supplements include: DMAE, Acetyl-l-carnitine, L-carnosine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DHEA, L-arginine, and melatonin

Good food contains some of the anti-oxidants previously mentioned. A few other popular foods associated with anti-aging include: Green Tea, turmeric, and red wine.

All of the above have unique biological properties and, in my opinion, are “good” for you if taken in small or moderate amounts. Some (ex. vitamin C) may also be “good” for you in larger amounts. Various studies on each of these may conflict with each other. You need to carefully research each substance on your own but researchers have already found several nutrients to be associated with longer than average telomere lengths. These include: Green Tea, Omega-3, Vitamins A, C, D, and E.

Vitamin E has been associated with telomere lengthening anti-aging properties.

Green tea contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C, E and flavenoids.Flavenoids form a large antioxidant class (including catechins and quercetin) that has many anticarcinogenic, antihypercholesterolemic, antibacterial, (helps prevent dental caries), and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves of the tea plant are rich in polyphenols. The consumption of 3 cups or more of green tea daily has been associated with longer than average telomere length.

The Omega-3s are essential long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory and help prevent heart disease, stroke, memory loss, depression, arthritis, cataract, cancer. Omega-3s slow down the shortening of telomeres; i.e. they may protect against aging on a cellular level.

Vitamin C is an abundant internal water soluble antioxidant that protects cellular components against free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke. Many studies have associated high vitamin C intakes with lower rates of cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus. Vitamin C has shown promise in treating premature aging and possibly aging itself.

Due to limitations on the number of links I can incorporate into this article I could not provide more reference links supporting the preceding paragraphs. If interested please email me at the email address shown at the end of this article and I will forward them to you.

The sooner you start some sort of anti-aging treatment the better but it is never too late to start. All real treatments will help you maintain a longer than average average telomere chain length.

The goal of the programmed death theory of aging is to address the root causes of aging. This goal includes attempts to slow or reverse the telomere shortening process. Two such treatments are: TA 65 and human genetic engineering.

TA 65 is a telomerase activating product produced and marketed by Sierra Sciences. The key ingredient in TA 65 is Astragalus, a plant extract known to have telomerase activation properties. The product may work but I do not recommend it for several reasons. TA 65 is too expensive for the average person. A number of expensive health spas incorporate TA 65 in their programs. Again these are financially beyond the reach of the average person. The marketing tactics of Sierra Sciences have been questioned by many and there are law suits pending against TA 65.

The big issue I have with TA 65 is one of scientific honesty. The company genetically engineered mice that allowed telomerase to be switched off and on at an early age. TA 65 was able to switch telomerase back on in these mice and allowed them to live normal lives. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101128/full/news.2010.635.html

Using this to show how effective TA65 treatment is, is dishonest. This is not how telomerase normally works and there was no real extension of the lifespan beyond what it would have been without the genetic modification. In normal mice the effects of TA65 were temporary and little or no life extension was seen. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/04/11/anti-aging-pill-new-study-on-ta-65-sparks-controversy.html

Human genetic engineering is the real answer to fighting and defeating aging. It can directly address the root causes of aging. Advances in this area (ex. CRISPR) allow DNA base pairs to be inserted or deleted at specific place in our DNA. This means the human genome can now be precisely edited as needed. The lifespan of old mice has been modestly increased using telomerase gene therapy. In humans gene modification therapy has frequently been used for various medical problems. On September 15, 2015, Elizabeth Parrish was the first human to undergo anti-aging gene therapy. Anti-aging treatments will rapidly advance as our knowledge of the specifics of the human genome grows.

Current general social-political attitudes seem to be favoring the further development of anti-aging research. There are no international recognized political programs to stop aging or extend life but since 2012 a few pro-immortality political parties have sprung up. Their aim is to support anti-aging and life extension research, and to help provide access to advances in these areas to everyone. Among the numerous organizations supporting anti-aging research, the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) organization has come up with an anti-aging research plan. They want to develop anti-aging therapies to repair most forms of cellular damage. SENS, is a charitable organization. Any anti-aging advances resulting from funding it provides will become readily available public knowledge. In addition to the normal scientific research there is the $1,000,00 Palo Alto Longevity Prize that is being offered to anyone who can come up with an effective anti-aging treatment.

As of 2015, all known anti-aging treatments are only partially effective. Depending on when one starts a comprehensive anti-aging program, one can probably extend one’s life by 10 to 25 years. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that an anti-aging lifestyle can add 24.6 more productive years to one’s lifespan. Anti-aging knowledge increases at a rate of about 10 times every 10 years. This probably means that for many of us there is more than enough time to reap the anticipated benefits in anti-aging research. One day soon, aging, like many other diseases, will be cured. While we wait for those anti-aging technological singularities to occur the name of the game is to ensure we stay healthy long enough repeat their benefits.

As a former engineer I have a strong affinity to all sciences including biology.

My interests include following advances in the fields of anti-aging, health and nutrition. Rapid advances in these areas will vanquish the disease we call aging.
Through my articles and website I want to help you maintain your good health for the next 10 to 25 years. I believe this can be done by a daily program that includes moderate exercise, a healthy diet that includes vitamins and related supplements, and taking advantage of any advances in related research. My hope is that within the next 25 years or less, the fruits of anti-aging research will become available to everyone.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9239681

How Much Have You Changed? A Dilemma For Senior Citizens by Jerry Elrod

April 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Now that you are 50 or 60 or 70 or so, how much have you changed? As a senior  citizen in retirement, do you still see yourself as you were 10 or more years  ago? What experiences, dramatic or subtle, have changed the mold you always saw  yourself fitting?

Here is an illustration giving proof that some people really don’t change  their patterns. A man in his early 70s is still acting out and living as if it  were 50 or more years ago. No change, no recognition of the need for it. Old  prejudices, bitter cynicism are the hallmarks of his life. Just as his outward  expressions reveal his inward retardation, he is being eaten alive by a terminal  illness. Is there anyway to get through to people who don’t even understand  themselves? How can exercise compassion and care and thoughtfulness for others,  if they don’t even see the need for those emotions within themselves?

This is an alert. It is time for aging senior citizens who have decided to  live in the boxed-in, never gonna change kind of existence, to either decide to  isolate themselves completely or change. Isolation is not desirable, at whatever  age. Punishing others by absenting yourself from the world going on around you  is only a punishment to yourself. It isn’t the rest of the world that has a  problem. It is you!

Resisting change is no indication of brilliance. It is instead, a sign of  insecurity, inability to cope, unwillingness to evolve. Do you really want to be  the way you have always been? Sounds comfortable, but at last it is an indicator  of disconnect. There are a lot of memories and joys from your past to which you  may cling. But, finally, one must admit they can’t remain forever a part of your  life and being. Right now, resolve to begin working hard on eliminating some of  the “things” which still hold you. There is a time for letting go.

It may be relatively easy, and certainly inevitable, to have to let go of  those “things.” It is more of a struggle to deal with the chains, as in Dickens’  Marley, which enslave us. Aging senior citizens may find a good read this Christmas in  “A Christmas Carol.” As you read it, reflect on how much like Marley or Ebenezer  you have become.

Article provided by Dr. Jerry D. Elrod. Dr Elrod, and his wife, Dr Sharon  Shaw Elrod, manage Senior Citizen Journal online. For information on retirement,  Baby Boomers and everything related to Seniors, please visit my blog at http://www.seniorcitizenjournal.com/. Links to  other Senior Citizen Journal pages can be found on the blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jerry_Elrod


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