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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 8, 2007, Vol. 25, Issue 21
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dynamicchiropractic.com >> Anti Aging / Rejuvenation

The Science of Anti-Aging Medicine

By Ronald Klatz, MD

Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world. The specialty is founded on the application of advanced scientific technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases.

The goal of anti-aging care is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual's life, but also to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.

First, lifestyle is perhaps the most easily modifiable, proven anti-aging intervention. A 2006 study1,2 found that the longest-living Americans are Asian-Americans residing in Bergen County, N.J. They live longer than any other ethnic group in the United States - to an average lifespan of 91.1 years. In contrast, the study found that the shortest-living Americans are Native American populations in South Dakota - living an average lifespan of 66.5 years. The researchers identified several factors associated with extraordinary longevity (as in the Asian-American women in Bergen County), including high median income; college education or better; occupations in management or professional settings; diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, fish, and green tea; and lifestyle including Eastern healing techniques.

Second, diet and nutrition have been found to play a profound role in longevity. Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest mortality rates in the world from a multitude of chronic diseases of aging, and as a result enjoy not only what may be the world's longest life expectancy, but also the world's longest health expectancy. Okinawans have an average life expectancy of 82 years, among the longest in the world. Their secrets: low caloric intake; plant-based diet, high in vegetables and fruits; higher intake of good fats (omega-3s, monounsaturated fats); high fiber intake; high flavonoid intake; and consumption of green tea.3

Similarly, the Mediterranean diet has been found in numerous studies to contribute strongly to longevity. Featuring high consumption of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and good fats (olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids); and a sparingly low intake of red meat, the Mediterranean diet correlates to a notably low incidence of chronic diseases and high life-expectancy rates. A 2003 study by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people living in Mediterranean countries live longer. Resveratrol (found in red wine) and quercetin (found in olive oil) were found to affect the genes associated with life extension due to caloric restriction.4

Scientists have not only found that what we eat influences how long and well we live, but also that how much we consume plays a major role. A team from Louisiana State University reported in 2006 on the findings from the first completed human study of the effect of calorie-restricted diets on lifespan: the Comprehensive Assessment of the Long Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) Study. The study found that prolonged caloric restriction in humans reversed two of three biomarkers of longevity, fasting insulin level and core body temperature; and that it also reduced DNA damage and DNA fragmentation.5

Third, we now know that the ability to cope with psychological stress also factors into longevity. Researchers at the University of California/San Francisco found that chronic psychological stress is associated with accelerated shortening of telomeres on white blood cells. These shortened telomeres were found to correlate to a weakened immune system and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. The most-stressed study participants looked 10 years older than their chronological age.6 Similarly, researchers from Tel Aviv University (Israel) found that in otherwise healthy persons, job stress was found to fuel the onset of type 2 diabetes. Employees who experienced job burnout were 1.8 times more likely to develop the condition. Stress was found to disrupt the body's ability to produce glucose.7

Fourth, dietary supplementation has been found to be a strong contributor to both quality and quantity of life. Dr. Ranjit Chandra and colleagues from Memorial University (Newfoundland) administered a supplement containing 18 vitamins, minerals, and trace elements to healthy men and women age 65-plus, finding that:

  • Those who took the supplement showed "significant improvement in short-term memory, problem-solving ability, abstract thinking, and attention."
  • Nutritional supplementation "may be instrumental in preserving the anatomy and function of neurons and their appendages." As a result, these men and women enhanced their capacities to live independently and without major disability.
  • The multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement improved immunity. The numbers of natural killer cells and helper T-cells, and the production of interleukin-2 all improved. Infection-related illness in those taking the supplement occurred at less than half the rate (23 days/year) compared to those who took placebo (48 days/year).8

Anti-aging care is now practiced by thousands of doctors in private practice, as well as at some of the most prestigious teaching hospitals around the world. Universally, those involved in health care, or those whose fields of expertise intersect with health care issues, support anti-aging medicine as a health care model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy human lifespan. Public-policy organizations and government agencies are now embracing anti-aging medicine as a viable solution to alleviate the mounting social, economic and health woes otherwise anticipated to arrive with the aging of nearly every nation on the planet.

Most recently, in February 2006, Dr. Shripad Tuljapurkar of Stanford University reported to the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science that, "[W]e are on the brink of being able to extend human lifespan significantly, because we've got most of the technologies we need to do it." Dr. Tuljapurkar estimates that between 2010 and 2030, the modal, or most common age of death will increase by 20 years if anti-aging therapies come into widespread use. This projected increase consequently increases the modal age of death in industrialized countries from 80 years, to stand at 100.

Anti-aging care, including its multimodal therapeutics, has a proven track record of efficacy and safety. The future of anti-aging is very bright. Doctors of chiropractic are welcome to join this international movement, which now involves upwards of 100,000 doctors worldwide. More than 80 percent of anti-aging therapeutics can be accomplished by a DC. The chiropractic practice can offer the full complement (100 percent) if they partner with an MD also involved in anti-aging.

Chiropractors can learn how their chiropractic practice can benefit from the anti-aging movement by contacting the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net). The A4M serves as an advocate for the new clinical specialty of anti-aging and acts as a conduit to doctors, scientists and the educated public who wish to benefit from the almost daily breakthroughs in biotechnology which promise both a greater quality as well as quantity of life.

Doctors of chiropractic are also welcome to attend the upcoming Winter 2007 Session of the Annual World Congresses on Anti-Aging Medicine and Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, co-sponsored by the A4M. This event will draw more than 6,000 doctors from all health specialties. Several hundred chiropractors usually attend this conference, and you are invited to be among them. Event information, including the program, speaker biographies and online registration, are accessible at: www.worldhealth.net/event.

References

  1. "Bergen County, NJ Is Long in Longevity." New York Times, Sept. 12, 2006.
  2. "Asian Women in Bergen Have Nation's Top Life Expectancy." Free Republic, Sept. 12, 2006.
  3. "The Secrets to Living Longer," National Geographic, November 2005.
  4. Nature, August 2003.
  5. JAMA, April 2006.
  6. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2004.
  7. Psychosomatic Medicine, Nov/Dec 2006.
  8. Chandra RK. Effect of vitamin and trace-element supplementation on cognitive function in elderly subjects. Nutrition, 2001 Sep;17(9):709-12.

Ronald Klatz, MD, is the president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging (www.worldhealth.net), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of aging-related disease.

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