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July 16, 2005

Forever Young: Not Helping The Reaper - The New Frontier Parts 1 and 2

Topics: Health Issues

"As the Rolling Stones testified, "what a drag it is getting old" -- and that was decades before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards actually began looking like aging rock stars, but at least today's population has access to the best science-based advice on how to live well longer."

Science Daily has a short series on health, diet, and lifestyle, that everyone interested in living as long as possible should read. The articles feature the views and expertise of Bruce Ames, a biochemist, world leader in aging and nutrition research, and developer of the Ames Test, an invaluable test for screening substances in our environment for possible carcinogenicity.

Professor Ames believes that too many people seek "exotic fountains of youth while ignoring the simple things," and told United Press International that "There's no sense trying to make people live longer if they're shortening their lifespan by smoking or eating lousy diets, and we're talking about a sizable percent of the country."

Dr. Ames' key points in Part I, "Don't help the Reaper," include (my comments appear in parenthesis, as do my added links):

(...) Life expectancy increased about 30 years from 1900 to 2000, and I think it's going to increase at least another 30 years from 2000 to 2100. Science is going like a rocket.

(...) My interest is mainly diet. It's clear that there are all sorts of ways of aging yourself faster because of bad diet.

(...) Mitochondria are the power plants in every cell. With age what happens is the mitochondria decay. So you look in an old rat or an old person, the mitochondria are less efficient and they're putting out more side product.

(...) Byproducts of mitochondrial burning are oxidants. Just the way iron rusts or fat grows rancid, we're all going rancid from these oxygen radicals coming out of our metabolism.

(...) there are lots of things you can do that will age your mitochondria faster, and one of them turns out to be not getting enough vitamins and minerals. So not only do you need fuel in your diets -- the fat and carbohydrates -- it's also 40 different micronutrients.

(...) These are the vitamins and the minerals and the essential fatty acids that you need to keep all your biochemistry humming along.

(...) we're finding all kinds of vitamin and mineral deficiencies age your mitochondria faster. If you don't get enough iron -- and we're talking about a quarter of menstruating women aren't getting enough iron, less than half the requirement -- we showed your mitochondria go to pot.

(...) They(the mitochondria) start pouring out oxygen radicals, byproducts, into the cells. If you don't get enough zinc, the same thing will happen. We're showing it for a number of things.

(...) you need to exercise because it keeps your mitochondria healthy.
People worry about tiny traces of pesticide residues -- that's all irrelevant. The really important thing is what you're eating.

(...) The solution isn't very complicated -- a multi-vitamin-mineral pill that's kind of an insurance pill. (given that it's the right product and a balanced formulation, from a reputable company)

(...) (For example) A multivitamin mineral doesn't have enough magnesium and calcium, because they'd make the pill too big. So you should eat some yogurt every day, low fat, and maybe take a little extra magnesium.

(...) you need to eat fish a couple of times a week because fish has DHA(docoshexanoic acid), which is a long-chain Omega-3 fatty acid and 30 percent of the brain is made of DHA. A lot of people don't eat fish. (Fish oil supplements) do the job. (I recommend ONLY ONE, Carlson's Liquid Fish Oil - Mercola agrees, but there are cheaper sites to buy from).

(...) What we've been doing is looking at rats that get a good diet -- much better than people do -- and trying to see what we can do to make the mitochondria in old rats look like more like young rats.

Dr. Ames' key points in Part 2, "Forever Young: The scientific frontier," include (again, my comments appear in parenthesis and the links have been added by us) :

(...) Based on some work by Italians and our own advances, we found that if you feed acetyl carnitine, which is a normal biochemical that helps bring fatty-acid fuel into the mitochondria, to old rats, their mitochondria look more like mitochondria of young rats. And the rats function better.

(...) But the one thing we didn't solve is the old rats were still putting out more oxidants in their mitochondria than young rats. So we found another mitochondrial biochemical that solves that problem; it's called lipoic acid. It's an antioxidant for mitochondria that does some other good things.

(...) A lot of the degenerative diseases that come along with aging have been tracked to mitochondrial decay -- Parkinson's and nerve degeneration and diabetes and cancer. So I think when you tackle aging, you're going to tackle all these degenerative diseases that come along with it.

(...) I think if you're an old rat, you can be enthusiastic. If you're an old person, we don't know all the answers yet. But there's lots of evidence these normal biochemicals are pretty safe -- they're not going to hurt you.

(...) Both of these compounds have been sold in health food stores for years. We found that with the combination, these old rats had more energy and their brains functioned better, their immune systems functioned better, so we published a series of papers on that.

(...) The university (of California) took out a patent on this combination and I formed a company called Juvenon to sell these pills and use the money for doing clinical trials. All my stock is in a non-profit foundation so I get no money from the company and don't expect to.

(...) We did the work in rats. We need to do it in people. I can't afford to do these huge expensive clinical trials, but the company can.

(...)We have every letter we've ever received from a customer in a database -- we have over 5,000 letters, so we always monitor what people say is good and what people say is bad.

(...) Out of those 5,000 letters there are maybe 25 letters with some possible side effect, mostly rashes, so they're all really pretty minor. Plus, there's previous literature on the individual supplements. So I'm pretty confident that it's not going to hurt you.

(...) A lot of people say they take it and they feel terrific. I take but I didn't feel any different, but I'm pretty peppy.

(...) I don't want to retire. I'm having too much fun. The new New Yorker has a cartoon of the doctor telling the patient, "I see you're 57 years old. I'd like to bring that down a bit."

Read all of Part I and Part 2 ...

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Sourced by Debra Donham Barr

Note: For those interested in acetyl carnitine and alpha lipoic acid, most if not all of the products in health stores contain racemic mixtures of the compounds. Most studies have been performed using the "L form" of acetyl carnitine and the the R-isomer of alpha-lipoic acid, which are the forms that are synthesized naturally. So be sure to ask for the L-form of acetyl carnitine and the R-form of alpha lipoic acid, if you can afford it.

Suggested readings:

Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10.
A pilot study on the effect of acetyl-L-carnitine in paclitaxel- and cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress.

Mitochondrial decay in the aging rat heart: evidence for improvement by dietary supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine and/or lipoic acid.

Age-associated mitochondrial oxidative decay: improvement of carnitine acetyltransferase substrate-binding affinity and activity in brain by feeding old rats acetyl-L- carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid.

Biologic activity of mitochondrial metabolites on aging and age-related hearing loss.

Alpha Lipoic Acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Carnosine
The Latest Significant Research on This Powerful Life Extension Trio (2003 article)

Bioenergetic approaches for neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease.

Healthy aging: health promotion and disease prevention.

Posted by Hyscience at July 16, 2005 2:21 PM

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