Part Four: Current and Future Anti-Aging Treatments

As previously noted, many anti-oxidants are essential nutrients. Natural anti-oxidants, like vitamin C and E, work synergistically. Anti-oxidants may be more effective if obtained from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists recommend eating 6 or more daily servings of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Everyone agrees the use of antioxidant supplements for anti-aging may be helpful, but there is no agreement on what the most effective supplement dosages should be.

Anti-aging medicine acknowledges that stress of all kinds causes aging but has not yet developed individualized treatment for this. There are countless sources of internal and external stress and individual stress levels vary greatly. One overlooked cause of internal stress is improper hydration. Water is essential in for the correct operation of many internal functions. Too little or too much water causes age producing stress. When one is old (80+) thirst perception declines and dehydration can easily set in. Other overlooked sources of stress are antioxidants themselves. High doses (or doses above certain yet unspecified amounts) of supplemental anti-oxidants are a known cause of stress.

To be helpful, antioxidant supplements must prevent other types of stress more than the stress they themselves create. Knowing the correct supplement dosages that can do this is an essential part of anti-aging treatment. A healthy young person in his twenties, who is properly nourished, will have less internal stress that an older individual in his sixties. For a young individual, lower amounts of antioxidants may be safer than higher amounts. A older person, whose many internal homeostatic mechanisms are less able to deal with internal stress, may benefit more from higher amounts of antioxidants. Theoretically an anti-oxidant based course of anti-ageing treatment will slow the rate at which cellular damage occurs. Cells will become “sick” more slowly. Over time, as fewer sick cells are replaced at a slower rate, the number of cells retaining longer telomere chains will be higher. You can then reasonably expect this to result in an increase in life expectancy. For now the recommended but imprecise approach to decrease the rate at which cellular damage occurs is to increase your per day intake of anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables, to slightly increase your intake of antioxidants, and to take various vitamins and small amounts of anti-aging supplements on a daily basis. One study has shown taking a good multivitamin supplement is associated with longer telomere length.

Ideally anti-aging treatment should to be fine tuned for each individual. The key here would be to measure and minimize the cumulative effects of different kinds of stress on an individual basis. Easily measurable practical bio-markers for various types of stress do not yet exist or are not being used. When they are used it will be easy to customize individual antioxidant dosages so that everyone have “optimum” levels throughout their life. “Optimum” levels would maintain a safe reserve of protective antioxidants in the body.

Next I will briefly discuss the most popular nutrients associated with anti-aging. The most popular of the anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients often associated with good health and anti-aging include: beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, various Flavonoids,Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Co-enzyme Q10, Lycopene, Selenium.

There are dozens of supplements that are known to effectively treat specific symptoms of old age. A few of the better known supplements include: DMAE, Acetyl-l-carnitine, L-carnosine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DHEA, L-arginine, and melatonin

Good food contains some of the anti-oxidants previously mentioned. A few other popular foods associated with anti-aging include: Green Tea, turmeric, and red wine.

All of the above have unique biological properties and, in my opinion, are “good” for you if taken in small or moderate amounts. Some (ex. vitamin C) may also be “good” for you in larger amounts. Various studies on each of these may conflict with each other. You need to carefully research each substance on your own but researchers have already found several nutrients to be associated with longer than average telomere lengths. These include: Green Tea, Omega-3, Vitamins A, C, D, and E.

Vitamin E has been associated with telomere lengthening anti-aging properties.

Green tea contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C, E and flavenoids.Flavenoids form a large antioxidant class (including catechins and quercetin) that has many anticarcinogenic, antihypercholesterolemic, antibacterial, (helps prevent dental caries), and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves of the tea plant are rich in polyphenols. The consumption of 3 cups or more of green tea daily has been associated with longer than average telomere length.

The Omega-3s are essential long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory and help prevent heart disease, stroke, memory loss, depression, arthritis, cataract, cancer. Omega-3s slow down the shortening of telomeres; i.e. they may protect against aging on a cellular level.

Vitamin C is an abundant internal water soluble antioxidant that protects cellular components against free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke. Many studies have associated high vitamin C intakes with lower rates of cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus. Vitamin C has shown promise in treating premature aging and possibly aging itself.

Due to limitations on the number of links I can incorporate into this article I could not provide more reference links supporting the preceding paragraphs. If interested please email me at the email address shown at the end of this article and I will forward them to you.

The sooner you start some sort of anti-aging treatment the better but it is never too late to start. All real treatments will help you maintain a longer than average average telomere chain length.

The goal of the programmed death theory of aging is to address the root causes of aging. This goal includes attempts to slow or reverse the telomere shortening process. Two such treatments are: TA 65 and human genetic engineering.

TA 65 is a telomerase activating product produced and marketed by Sierra Sciences. The key ingredient in TA 65 is Astragalus, a plant extract known to have telomerase activation properties. The product may work but I do not recommend it for several reasons. TA 65 is too expensive for the average person. A number of expensive health spas incorporate TA 65 in their programs. Again these are financially beyond the reach of the average person. The marketing tactics of Sierra Sciences have been questioned by many and there are law suits pending against TA 65.

The big issue I have with TA 65 is one of scientific honesty. The company genetically engineered mice that allowed telomerase t

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The Solution to Anti-Aging Skin Care

The anti-aging skin care field has boomed, with hundreds of new products being introduced to the market on what feels like almost on a daily basis. This has resulted in what we may call “skin care overload.” People have become overwhelmed and confused by the countless number of ingredients we are told are necessary for anti-aging. It has become impossible to access and apply even a fraction of these ingredients due to the cost and time involved. We feel compelled to buy multiple products every month and layer them on in order to do the most for our skin. But, as we fill our medicine cabinets with creams and serums, we are faced with the daily questions of which shall we use, which are safe and which actually work?

It has been long overdue that the various categories of anti-aging and the anti-aging ingredients themselves be ordered and categorized so that a comprehensive approach to anti-aging may be put into place. Firstly, there are many features to skin aging and people will show one or more features over time, but may differ in the features of skin aging that plague them. For example, some people develop sagging or laxity to the skin due to genetic factors, but may have little or no sun damage. Others may be covered with sun spots but have no sagging or wrinkling. The following is a validated classification scheme which allows for each clinical feature of skin aging to be assessed separately on a 4-point grading scale (mild, moderate, advanced, severe):

Classification of Skin Aging:
Laxity (Sagging)
Wrinkles
Redness
Brown discolorations
Solar elastosis (Yellowing)
Irregular texture
Abnormal growths (keratoses).1

This classification scheme of skin aging includes a severity scale as mentioned above (0=None, 1=Mild, 2=Moderate, 3=Advanced, and 4=Severe) which allows researchers or users to rank each individual person’s skin aging according to feature and severity. This scale was shown to be very useful in testing anti-aging treatments and has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.1 Older scales tended to lump different features together into broad categories, which became less useful as treatments became more specific in targeting various facets of skin aging; for example as anti-pigment or anti-redness or anti-wrinkle. With this current anti-aging scale, our anti-aging products may be quantitatively tested to determine which individual categories of skin aging they treat and how effective they are in each category. This also allows us to hone our anti-aging regimen to our needs and to compile or group the ingredients in each category that are most effective so as to cover all categories of anti-aging in a logical manner.

The next challenge was to classify the plethora of anti-aging ingredients on the market based on the features of skin aging that they targeted or treated. I then created a classification scheme of the categories of anti-aging targeted by the ingredients that have emerged over the past decade:
Anti-Wrinkle – DNA Defense – Barrier Fortification
Anti-Redness – Cellular Restore – Emollient/Moisturizer
Anti-Brown Discoloration – Damage Reversal – Pro-Skin Thickness
Anti-Oxidants – Aging Repair – Re-Texturize

With this classification scheme, we can appreciate why people have become so overwhelmed and why they have accumulated shopping bags full of skin creams in order to meet their needs! Nevertheless, as anti-aging ingredients have emerged targeting each of these categories, ideally one would want to incorporate the best ingredients of each category in a single daily regimen to optimally treat skin aging.

Each individual may differ in which category of anti-aging they need most, yet in order to prevent and reverse all the signs of skin aging, it is still optimal for all categories to be covered by an anti-aging regimen. It is important to familiarize yourself with which ingredients fall in each category, so that you can incorporate several of each group into your skin regimen, or look for a product that covers the various categories of anti-aging in a logical way. Examples of key active ingredients shown to yield resulst in each category of anti-aging include: peptides for anti-wrinkles, plant-derived polyphenols and bisabolol for anti-redness, amino acids for anti-brown discolorations, vitamins C, E and ferulic acid for anti-oxidant, DNA repair molecules such as acetyl tyrosine and proline for DNA defense, resveratrol for cellular restore, bark extract or phoretin for damage reversal, Helianthus annuus and Ilex paraguensis extracts for aging repair, dimethicone for barrier repair, glycerin and soy lecithin for emollients, hyaluronic acid for boosting skin thickness, and mushroom extracts and sodium lactate for smoothening abnormal texture.

In sum, the field of anti-aging now has validated classification systems for the various categories of skin aging and for the plethora of anti-aging ingredients so that we can assess and determine which anti-aging actives we want in our medicine cabinet and to make certain that we cover the various categories of anti-aging in our daily regimen. With this scientific basis, we may now intelligently assess anti-aging products for their ability to comprehensively cover all the various categories of skin aging and include the various categories of anti-aging ingredients available. Finally, these comprehensive, validated classification and grading scales provide a framework for solving the anti-aging conundrum with a system for categorizing skin aging and classifying anti-aging actives to make sure you cover all your skin’s anti-aging needs.

(C) NY Derm LLC, 2010.

1) Alexiades-Armenakas, M, et al. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2008 May;58(5):719-37; quiz 738-40.

Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.D., Derm-Scientist┬«, holds three Harvard degrees, a bachelors of arts (BA), a medical degree (MD) and a doctorate (PhD) in genetics, is double Board-Certification in Dermatology in the US and EU and Director of her own Private Practice and Research Clinic in Manhattan. Her 20+ year background in research included plant molecular biology, cell and developmental biology, genetics, photobiology and mammalian stem cell biology. She served as consultant to L’Oreal, ran clinical trials for pharmaceutical and laser companies, and serves as beauty judge to many magazines, including Allure and In Style.

The go-to skin expert for identifying actives proven to deliver results in the laboratory, clinical trials and in practice, she developed a highly advanced technology 37 Extreme Actives® high performance anti-aging cream, capable of suspending and microtargeting the greatest variety and number of proven actives in a single cream, a comprehensive product lo

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