The Facts on Biological Aging and Anti-Aging Medicine

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Your DNA shows what steps to take with an Anti-Aging program combating biological agingAdvances in technology and research has usher in a new era of medical information that only a generation ago was unheard of. It is not too long ago when our exploration of the human body is limited to the organ and its gross pathology. Today we are able to travel to the inner sanctuary of the cell, well into the amino acid structure of the DNA. The speed of such discovery means that the many of our traditional understandings on health issues need constant revision and updating. The concept of Biological aging is one such issue.

Biological Aging

Biological aging has always been thought of as an inevitable part of life. Our life expectancy is pre-destined and nothing can be done to change our biological aging process. Research shows us that this is simply not true anymore. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to anti-aging medicine believe that aging should be view more appropriately as a collection of chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and loss of memory. These can be deterred, reversed, or even cured. We now know that aging and life expectancy is approximately seventy percent determined by our lifestyle and only thirty percent determined by our genetic makeup. It is the advance of antibiotics and proper management of these lifestyle factors that is largely responsible for the increase in life expectancy from 43 to 76 in just the past century, as genetic therapy as an anti-aging modality is till years away.

The biological aging process starts in the early twenties and passes through a series of sub-clinical phases within which our body does not feel anything “abnormal.” Cancer, thinning skin, decreasing muscle strength, and slowing gastro intestinal motility commonly associated with boilogical aging takes an average of twenty years or more to develop and become symptomatic. During this gradual and progressive deterioration, there are no outward warning signs.

The fallacy that the absence of outright detectable symptoms of aging and the failure of confirmation by current laboratory test equates to a “normal” body must be dispelled. Most current laboratory test are not sensitive enough to detect the cellular changes occurring within. In addition, many blood tests measure the serum which do not necessarily reflect the more important intracellular levels of the same. Their results can be misleading.

As long as you have past your peak physical health around age twenty, the body will start to naturally and progressively deteriorate in the absence of any pro-active steps to arrest such sub-clinical disease state. What is considered normal by current laboratory test should not be so considered from an anti-aging perspective. Is biological aging a myth?Anti-aging physicians often redefines common laboratory reference standards into two groups – standard for those who are clinically sick with active disease, and for those who are in the sub-clinical phases of the disease characteristic of the aging process.

Many people considered “normal” by current testing standards is already well in the sub-clinical phase of many degenerative diseases, including hypertension, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. Just because current tests are not sensitive enough to detect the abnormality does not mean the absence of disease.

For example, one of the key factors in diagnosing diabetes is a fasting blood sugar of 120 mg/dl or more. We know also that a fasting blood sugar between 100-120 is also sub-optimal and reflect the sub-clinical phase, or the commonly called “pre-diabetic” condition. If nothing is done, diabetes will follow. It is only a matter of time. Yet few know how to treat this pre-diabetic phase other than through dietary control. What natural and non-toxic alternatives are available? The knowledgeable anti-aging physician recognizes that the ideal fasting blood sugar from an anti-aging perspective should be close to 90 mg/dl, and that there are many tools to achieve that end without involving drugs. At the same time, drugs will be used only as needed to bring about the desired effect.

The body is not a light switch that can be turned on and off at will. It is a miraculous machine that often advance signals to warn us of impending diseases. The anti-aging specialist in constantly in tune with such signals, and helps each to interpret what he or her body is trying to say before degenerative disease such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and osteoarthritis progress from their sub-clinical state to full blown disease state.

It is indeed sad when we know that simple and concrete steps exist today to deter, halt, and even reverse such sub-clinical disease state. Millions are walking around today thinking they are normal when in reality they are not. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the body because the sooner you know, the earlier you can take action and the more time is available. After the window of prevention closes and opportunity lost, the pre-occupation is on symptomatic treatment. Those who are not pro-active in deterring the biological aging process inevitably find themselves stricken with degenerative disease in their middle age and then spent the rest of their life catching up.

Aging is not inevitable once this concept of undetectable sub-clinical disease state is understood. You can do something now, if you know how. Ideally, deterring of the biological aging process should start in the early twenties. Research have shown, however, that it is never too late. Treating aging as a disease that can be arrested or slowed, anti-aging physicians set down a treatment strategy to maximize the life span of each cell of the body. When the cell lives longer, you will live longer.

Biological aging and cellular functionThe understanding of cellular function is therefore of paramount importance to any anti-aging specialist and those who interested to live longer. All disease, including aging, starts at the molecular and cellular level. Successful anti-aging strategy and curing of disease must begin at this level. Treating symptoms like giving anti-histamine to stop a running nose is a short term band-aid that only buys us time in the absence of the understanding of the real cause and therefore the real treatment. If we only know what at the cellular level causes the running nose, doesn’t s it make more sense to stop the cell from causing such symptoms? In the absence of such knowledge, the best we can do is to simply constrict the vessels to prevent the discharge. It’s the second best. The quest for knowledge to know why cells become dysfunctional is therefore an area of on going important research.

Knowing the cause of cellular damage will lead us to the discovery of treatment, either in the form of drugs or natural alternative means, to help the cell defend and renew itself. The science of ortho-molecular medicine is dedicate to such a cause. It was first advance by one of the great scientist of our times – the late two times Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling. In 1969, he coined the word “Orthomolecular” to denote the use of naturally occurring substances, particularly nutrients, in maintaining health and treating disease. Orthomolecular medicine is a nutritional therapy that advocates the use of a whole foods diet supplemented with food additives to produce a state of optimum health. Vitamins, minerals, and other food additives are recommended to prevent illness, extend longevity of life, and treat mental, emotional, and physical illness. At that time megadose niacin therapy for schizophrenia and dietary treatment of “hypoglycemia were the major focus of the movement. Since then orthomolecular psychiatry and medicine have emerged as a distinct and important specialty area in medical practice.

Dr. Pauling died at age 93 and contributed the last 20 years of his life to high doses of vitamin C which was universally rejected when first proposed. Today, many physicians in anti-aging medical commonly use this approach. It is also been proven useful therapeutically useful in cancer treatment. Terms like free radical, anti-oxidants, oxidative damage, DNA, and mitochondria are unheard of just a generation back, yet today they are common words widely accepted and used by the medical and lay community alike.

In the early days of ortho-molecular medicine, highly respected physicians who believe the concept that disease starts at the cellular level and nutrition can be used to combat such cellular diseases were laughed at and labeled as “quacks”. Now they are called “visionaries.” How time have changed.

Anti-aging or biological aging medicine incorporates many of the principals of ortho-molecular medicine to retard aging and rejuvenate the body, in addition to the following discipline: nutrition, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, general medicine, immunology, allergy, endocrinology, pharmacology, toxicology, neurology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and physical medicine.

The following therapeutic modalities falls into the realm of the anti-aging physician: hormonal replacement therapy, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fiber, enzymes, antibodies, antigens, cell therapy, chelation therapy, hydrotherapy, thermal therapy, acupuncture, exercise, biofeedback, psychotherapy, and others. Drugs and medicine is used in conjunction with non invasive and the least toxic modality to achieve optimal health.

Acupuncture and biological agingKnowing what to do in detail of each of the modalities is the key. Even if you belief that the nutritional approach, you may not know the dosage, the frequency, and the contraindications, if any of each nutrient. The same goes for other modalities.

One of the ways to begin our study into anti-aging medicine is to examine a series of common “time tested” axiom and question its validity based on current research.

Consider the following widely accepted axioms:

Milk is good your body.

Osteoporosis can be prevented if you take high dose of calcium.

Taking high cholesterol food like eggs will increase your chances of heart attack.

The way to lower blood pressure is to take medicine and reduce salt intake.

The foundations upon which many of the above statements are predicated upon have been proven wrong scientifically in recent years, yet the public at large is unaware.

No, milk is not good for your body, and eating eggs does not increase your chances of heart attack if you are in good health. Furthermore, magnesium is the key to prevent osteoporosis, not calcium. Sugar is worse than smoking, and the vast majority of developed world is over fed with calorie but chronically under nutrition.

Supplements to Slow Down Biological Aging

Increase intakes of antioxidants could potentially prevent or postpone 50-70% of cataracts. Do you know the specific antioxidants for eye health and their dosage?

Two studies conducted at Harvard University showed that taking 100 IU per day of vitamin E for more than two years reduced the risk of heart disease by 26 percent in a group of 45, 000 men, and by 41 percent in a group of more than 85, 000 women. Do you know the kind of vitamin E you should take, the optimum dosage for anti-aging, and the potential side effects?

Congratulations if you know the answer. Research has shown that the average consumer who is knowledgeable on nutrition actually knows more than the average physician. This may be startling to you but the fact is that the average doctor receives less than 10 hours of nutritional training in four years of medical school curriculum. This is indeed scary but real. In fact, you may not realize but doctor’s and hospital errors are the third leading cause of death in America. The average doctor’s life expectancy is no longer that of the average person. Yet these are professionals supposed to be armed with the latest know how. The current generation of doctors are trained and focused on treating disease when they are clinically active, not on treating disease when they are in the sub-clinical phase during the aging process.

Research on biological aging is relatively newFew physicians are privileged to be in the forefront of an emerging and explosive field such as anti-aging medicine. Even fewer are privileged to have the time to seek the truth along the way. Truth is the ultimate source of wisdom. To be true to ourselves, we must not be afraid to say we are wrong when the facts are such, and to actively embrace the new truth, one that is based on research and not subjective testimonials. Not only are the public at large years behind and lagging in this information, most are confused from conflicting information on what the truth is.

Knowledge in anti-aging medicine is doubling every few years and the growth is exponential. Perhaps you will see, as we do, the current paradigm shift calls for us to first unlearn what we know and relearn what we don’t know.

Biological aging is defined as the collection of degenerative diseases that is large influenced by lifestyle. Anti-aging medicine incorporates the latest medical advances to deter the aging process and curing of degenerative diseases at its root, resulting in longer life expectancy.

The anti-aging information presented here are time tested and real. It does not work 100 percent, because 30 percent of you is determined by your genes. It covers the 70 percent of you that you can control.

Anti-aging Medicine is not about just living longer. It is about the opportunity to
live a full and happy life. You are giving yourself the ultimate gift – the gift of time.

Biological aging
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