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Defining Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging Healthy Aging
DaVinci Laboratories

Every patient/client can benefit now—and later—by being coached to take their unique aging concerns into account.

Here’s a conundrum: when it comes to healthy aging, what is the more accurate description—slowing down or speeding up? Slowing down infers biological systems becoming sluggish and winking out, while speeding up infers hastening life to its end.

So, let’s flip that switch: Slowing down the process of aging, by speeding up renewal and regenerative processes. Now that’s a great description of healthy aging.

Semantics are important to an extent because we are in the process of leaving the term “anti-aging” behind in the past where it belongs: the only true anti-aging is death, and when used on a product and its marketing, makes an inferred—and impossible—promise of everlasting youth until one’s final breath.

“Thankfully, ‘healthy aging’ is replacing ‘anti-aging,’” agreed Paul E. Opheim, CEO and research director, Leptica Research, LLC, Arizona. Healthy aging recognizes the need for not just healthy eating, exercise and sleep, he emphasized, “but also doing everything possible to reduce pollution and contaminants in one’s life.” A continual invisible barrage of toxic molecules can impair cellular pathways that affect division, apoptosis and normal functioning, thus altering healthy homeostasis. This then increases risk of early onset of age-related diseases ranging from dementia to obesity to cancers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes “healthy aging” as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.”

According to Joy Stephenson-Laws, president and founder; Proactive Health Labs (pH Labs); California, a national non-profit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health, the WHO definition includes “objective metrics such as physical mobility, success in managing any chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis, identification of health risks and taking tangible steps to minimize or even eliminate these risks; and cognitive abilities. They also include such subjective measures as loneliness and social isolation (remember that being alone is not the same as being lonely); outlook on the future and life in general; and general knowledge and understanding of how to get and stay healthy as we age.”

She added that the concept of healthy life expectancy is another critical development in the field of healthy aging. This concept refers primarily to how many years a person can expect to live before experiencing any irreversible or life-limiting diseases or disabilities.

For example, according to United States Social Security Administration, a 62-year-old man in the United States has an additional life expectancy of 21.3 years: the question then becomes, “How many of those 21.3 years this man enjoys good health is his healthy life expectancy?” she noted.

The cornerstone of staying healthy as we age, Stephenson-Laws said, is nutrition. As humans age, nutritional needs change and aging also causes the body to lose efficacy of absorbing both macronutrients and micronutrients. “The solution to both of these challenges is to have nutrient levels tested regularly and then make the necessary changes to our diets,” she asserted.

Vladimir Badmaev, MD, PhD, CEO, American Medical Holdings, New York, said, “Aging can be described as a decline in function and performance of the entire organism which enhances the likelihood of wear-and-tear damage, acute inflammation and obvious pain of affected organs and systems. What is less obvious is that aging can mask chronic inflammation that affects multiple organs and systems with minimum subjective symptoms, potentially resulting in chronic degenerative conditions, e.g. cardiovascular disease.”

A more holistic view that is gaining a foothold among younger generations comes from Ed Bauman, founder and president of California-based Bauman College: Holistic Nutrition + Culinary Arts, “healthy aging is more than living long, but rather, living wise and living well. My view of holistic health recognizes not only the cultivation of a healthy body, mind and spirit, but also our responsibility to create a healthy environment, culture and global community that supports our evolution, and protects our life force.”

Dr. Bauman went on to explain that aging is an outcome of one’s DIET—or Daily Intake of EveryThing. He noted that approximately 90 percent of the way human genes express themselves toward health or illness is influenced by the quality of the food we eat, the environment we live in, our thoughts and feelings, and even the company we keep—epigenetics.

“We are in the midst of biocide, the killing of our biosphere by synthetic toxins,” he warned. “With the well-documented contamination of our air, food and water, has come a rise in premature, chronic mental and physical illness, and even a shortening of the life for those who are poor and sick, overmedicated and undernourished.”

He believes that through dramatically reducing pollution and increasing diet of local, chemical-free plant-based foods, we can help slow the degeneration of our microbiomes and the microbiome (environmental ecosystems). This is an overall strategy of promoting healthy human aging.

Managing stress and supporting immunity are two factors that make a difference in the quality of an individual’s aging.

According to Dr. Badmaev, preventing stress and/or increasing resistance to its effects translate to slowing down processes leading to biological aging. Human stress reactions were described more than 60 years ago by a Canadian endocrinologist, Dr. Hans Selye, as a three-stage reaction:

1. General alarm reaction (the oppression stimulates the HPA axis, which stimulates survival “flight or fight” hormones, notably adrenaline and noradrenaline, which trigger acute-phase response of the immune system by mobilizing mediators of inflammation—acute phase proteins, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL) mediators of inflammation, e.g. IL-1, IL-8, interferon (IFN)-gamma, or macrophages and natural killer cells NK-cells);

2. Resistance (characterized by normalization of stress-symptoms at tremendous cost to the organism; this is a deceptive “quiet before a storm”); and

3. Exhaustion (characterized by symptoms similar to the alarm-reaction stage), especially non-specific resistance to stress leading to accelerated biological aging and shortening the life-span.

“Unlike today, Botox or eating more kale were not part of the healthy aging regimen years ago,” noted Hank Cheatham, vice president, marketing and sales, California-based Daiwa Health Development. Aside from current fads, he observed, many people are staving off some of the side effects of aging by actively committing to a fully health-promoting lifestyle that includes healthy social interaction. These lifestyle factors, he emphasized, are the difference between aging and successful aging.

One pivotal way to achieve and sustain health through the years, Cheatham said, is through enhancing the immune system via reducing immunosenescence. This term defines the progression of a declining immune system over time, accelerating the aging process and anticipated decline in health that is accepted as “normal” in both humans and animals.

“Because of immunosenescence, elderly individuals are vulnerable to serious infectious diseases and a poor response to vaccinations particularly during cold and flu season,” Cheatham said. For example, he provided, the 2012-2013 flu vaccination was reported to have only 9 percent effectiveness against influenza A in seniors over 65 years of age, versus 52 percent in adults under 65. “Numerous reasons account for this weakened immune response, including a decline in hematopoietic stem cell activity and ability to produce B cells; a shrinking thymus, which results in lower T cell production; and telomere shortening. A weakened immune response is consistent with the aging process. Strengthening immunity will help one age in a healthier manner and improve one’s quality of life in their senior years.”

Lifestyle-synergizing Products

In a quick flash, it would seem that every single dietary supplement is “healthy aging,” and in essence, yes this is true. But through the years, as research and production technology have advanced, so too has the ability to formulate natural products/supplements that are more specific for the aging of cells, organs and systems.

Leptica, said Opheim, has formulas created to “optimize cell signaling pathways by introducing hormone-, growth factor- and neurotrophic factor-signaling, activity that tends to slow and lose integrity through time. These reductions affect cell-signaling pathways, which then affect how stem cells and self-dividing cells proliferate (inhibit or become tumorigenic), differentiate (chondrogenesis, osteogenesis, adipogenesis, etc.), undergo apoptosis and ubiquination.

Most recently, Opheim related, he has been asked by practitioners to develop a formula to offer mitochondrial protection against 5G frequencies that impact cell functions such as VGCC (voltage-gated calcium channels and cognitive issues).

“Our first clinical study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, clinical proved that our isopathic (homeopathic formulation) of human growth hormone was effective. Another clinical study proved our isopathic IGF-1 formula was effective in addressing symptom associated with menopause. And earlier, also at the request of practitioners, I introduced our isopathic leptin signaling formula. Case studies proved efficacy in promoting satiety and controlling cravings.”

Pennsylvania-based Kibow Biotech, Inc. is primarily focused on kidney health, as chronic kidney disease (CKD) currently affects more than 40 million Americans, and approximately 50 percent of people with Type-II diabetes will develop CKD as they age, according to CEO Terrence Tormey.

RENADYL has several human clinical trials that Tormey noted “clearly show reduction in amounts of uremic toxins not removed by impaired kidneys. The toxins reduced include BUN, uric acid, creatinine, indoles, phenols, P-cresol, indoxyl sulphate and other nitrogenous waste products. Furthermore, we can show that RENADYL slows the decline in eGFR.”

He added that the company also monitors patients’ lab reports and especially the estimate Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR), which shows the progression of CKD.

Adaptrin from American Medical Holdings, is a botanical and mineral formula whose origins lie in the principles of Tibetan medicine and works as a condensed food with adaptogenic properties, described Dr. Badmaev. One of the pivotal aspects of Adaptrin’s condensed food mechanism is that none of the individual ingredients of the formula has been used in a significant dose; the efficacy is provided by the synergistic mechanism of suboptimal-dose ingredients.

What this means for the patient is that the cumulative mechanism helps mobilize the body’s own means to improve health by the gradual build-up of non-specific resistance (NSR) to stress, Dr. Badmaev explained. “Based on the long-standing tradition of nutritional use and published clinical studies, Adaptrin is designed to support healthy cardiovascular and immune systems, lowers stress levels, sharpens memory, overall energy and alertness, sleep patterns; and promotes an increased general subjective sense of well-being.”

Daiwa’s BRM4 is an immune-enhancing supplement; its active ingredient—rice bran arabinoxylan compound (RBAC)—is a natural polysaccharide composed of hemi-cellulose extract from rice bran modified by an enzyme from shiitake mushroom. RBAC is a smaller molecule than the rice bran extract from which it is derived, so it is more bio-available and better absorbed.

According to Cheatham, research shows that RBAC consistently increases natural killer (NK) cell activity, and significantly enhances B and T cell counts in individuals with compromised immune systems. RBAC supports healthy aging through a unique approach, he said, as it is an immune modulator. In clinical research, RBAC has been shown not to over stimulate the immune system, but to hold it at the optimal level. Additionally, research has also shown that consuming RBAC is safe for those with auto-immune conditions.

In one published clinical trial, Cheatham reported, RBAC was shown to increase NK cell activity in a dose-dependent manner. In the study, 24 individuals took RBAC at three different concentrations: 15, 30, 45 mg/kg/day, and their NK cell activity was measured after one week, one month and two months. “The results showed that all doses increased the activity of NK cells, but the larger the dose, the quicker the NK activity increased,” Cheatham said. After two months of treatment, NK activity peaked to the same level regardless of the dosage. One month after discontinuing treatment, NK activity declined to baseline levels. This study, he said, proved valuable in making dosage recommendations; immune compromised persons should take a high initial dose of BRM4 to boost NK activity quickly. After a few weeks, a high level of NK activity could be maintained long term on a lower maintenance dose level.

A more recent study at the University of Miami included 20 healthy individuals and determined that immune activity starts to increase within as little as two days and becomes significant after one week of taking BRM4 with RBAC. “This study also demonstrated the bi-directional immune marker effects that are expected with a proper immune modulator,” Cheatham commented.

Consultation Points

All your patients are aging, even those in their 20s. But younger adults are more inquisitive about their health today and are likely asking you more questions, such as “My mom was just diagnosed with diabetes (type II) and she’s so active. I don’t want that. How do I prevent it?”

Tormey advised, “Start with your clients/patients as early as possible!” Those in the 30s and 40s should have healthy aging as a priority in how they live their lives, he emphasized.

In Cheatham’s viewpoint, one key topic of discussion is how their bodies are constantly exposed to foreign invaders and immune support should be a priority all-year-long, not just wintertime. The best protection against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and other abnormal cells is prevention that is typically provided by an optimally functioning immune system. The following factors to discuss that affect their immune function (and for which proper lifestyle and supplements help manage, are: stress, pollution, poor diet, environmental and other allergens, sleep deprivation and medications. “These dynamics are part of life and of a person’s environment all year long, but become more detrimental as one ages,” he commented.

According to Stephenson-Laws, pH Labs’ health care team is focused on teaching consumers about what they can proactively do in their day-to-day lives to improve and sustain health as they age. Based on their research, she and her team recommend:

• Know family health history and genetic predispositions. “I personally used whole genome sequencing to find out which type of exercise would be effective for me and how my body would respond to certain medications,” she remarked. “This same testing also gave me the surprising revelation that lead me to disregard the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin C and tailor my intake based on my genetic predisposition.”

• Meditation and music may help with memory, sleep, mood, stress and overall well-being and quality of life.

• Know cancer risks such as obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, eating too much red and processed meats and not enough fruits and vegetables. Take steps to correct these.

• Reduce stress by achieving and sustaining work-life balance; long and/or arduous work hours may increase risk of an early death by 20 percent.

• Prioritize sleep and good quality sleep.

• Eat blueberries and ensure you are getting enough vitamin B12 to protect your memory.

• Keep being active and exercise as much as possible as one ages. Being active helps older adults improve their lung, heart and brain health. Even walking 20 minutes a day will help improve life expectancy.

• Focus on raising glutathione levels, as this antioxidant is known to fight toxins and some carcinogens as well as protect neurons and DNA.

When diet is a key subject for protecting health as your patient moves through life, Eating for Health is a whole food model created by Dr. Bauman “to serve as an alternative to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) MyPlate and other wholesome radical, but restricted eating plans that require professional supervision to be safe and properly monitored to ensure a salutary effect.”

He added that Bauman College recently released an Affordable Nutrition program and workbook to teach the public how to eat well on a modest budget. “As one changes the way she or he shops, prepares and consumes food from a mindset of cost and convenience to value and nourishment,” he concluded, “they are literally and figuratively ‘stepping up to the plate’ to enhance their health, longevity and inner peace.”

It appears that achieving sustained balance in a holistic manner that includes contentment and self-esteem is a fresh and appealing definition of healthy aging.

Healthy Take Aways

• The World Health Organization describes “healthy aging” as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.”
• According to United States Social Security Administration, a 62-year-old man in the United States has an additional life expectancy of 21.3 years.
• Managing stress and supporting immunity are two factors that make a difference in the quality of an individual’s aging.
• Because of immunosenescence, elderly individuals are vulnerable to serious infectious diseases and a poor response to vaccinations particularly during cold and flu season.

For More Information:

American Medical Holdings, www.adaptrin.com
Bauman College: Holistic Nutrition + Culinary Arts, www.baumancollege.org
Daiwa Health Development Inc., www.dhdmed.com
Kibow Biotech Inc., www.kibowbiotech.com; www.renadyl.com
Leptica Research, LLC, www.lepticalmedical.com
Proactive Health Labs (pH Labs), www.phlabs.org