From our twenties to early thirties, our biochemistry is at its prime. At this age our immune systems are their strongest, our metabolism is most efficient, we build muscle instead of fat, vitality and energy are plentiful.
As a person ages that bioelectrical chemistry- molecules, nutrients, hormones- that circulate among the body’s cells become progressively deficient. As this occurs, the ability to recover from physical, mental and emotional insults begins to diminish. Loss of cellular integrity ultimately leads to loss of function. Important electrochemical messages no longer tell the body to rebuild and repair, but rather, the picture is one of slow, progressive breakdown and failure.
There are a number of accepted theories on this mechanism of aging:
Wear and Tear Theory
First proposed by Dr. August Weismann in 1882, this recognizes that the cells and organs of the body are damaged by overuse and abuse. In youth, the body’s own maintenance and replacement capabilities compensate for the wear and tear. As we age those repair systems begin to fail and we no longer recover completely from the physical, emotional and environmental stresses to which we are subjected.
Anti-aging treatments are directed at providing the nutritional support and other protocols for stimulating the body’s repair and rejuvenation capabilities.
Free Radical Theory and Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is the damage done by free radicals. Free radicals, which are normal waste products of metabolism and consumption of oxygen, are molecules that carry an extra negative electrical charge.
This extra electrical charge makes the free radical attach itself to other molecules in order to create electrical equilibrium. When the free radical attaches, it “steals” an electron for itself creating a domino effect of free radicals. While some of this bioelectrical activity is necessary for life, free radicals damage cell membranes, attack collagen and elastin causing cross-linkages (we see evidence of this as wrinkles, and produce metabolic waste products that interfere with the body’s ability to repair and defend itself. Many age-related diseases have been linked to free radical damage including cancer, cataracts, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, diabetes, to name a few.
Our anti-aging protocols include assessment of free radical and oxidative stress status. Our patients are offered the highest quality free radical scavengers, anti-oxidant supplementation and anti-oxidant skincare .
Neuroendocrine Theory and Hormone Imbalance
Hormone balance is essential for the regulation and repair of vital bodily functions. In the brain, the hypothalamus responds to hormone levels as its guide for the orchestration of numerous hormone interactions affecting virtually every body system. Hormone decline and imbalances that typically begin in the late thirties set the stage for the acceleration of the aging process: fat accumulation, weight gain, decreased libido, loss of mental clarity, immune system decline, bone density and muscle mass loss, disturbed sleep patterns are examples.
Our longevity programs include careful assessment and monitoring of hormone balance. When appropriate, natural hormone potentiators and replacement to restore and reset the body’s hormonal clock are recommended.
This is a relatively new theory that addresses aging from the point of view of cellular lifespan. Telomeres are small fragments at the ends of DNA that maintain the integrity of our chromosomes. They shorten every time a cell divides and after a certain amount of shortening, cell division no longer takes place and the cell ultimately dies. Telomerase is an enzyme that has been shown in the laboratory to repair and replace the telomeres, thus lengthening the lifespan of dividing cells. Anti-aging researchers are excited about the possible applications in the future.
Of significant note today: excess insulin has been shown to accelerate the shortening of the telomeres. Our anti-aging strategies address the importance of regulating proper glucose and insulin levels.