Approach to Longevity and Anti-Aging
The term “anti-aging” is everywhere. It is in commercials, magazines, and plastered on packaging of countless products, but what does anti-aging mean really? In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at how we define anti-aging within regenerative medicine, how treatments geared at preserving your healthspan can drastically impact your quality of life, and why taking proactive steps to ensure longevity is the smartest choice you can make for your body. Read on to learn how you can adopt your own comprehensive approach to longevity and anti-aging.
For many, the term “anti-aging” conjures images of fashion models airbrushed beyond recognizability or legends of Ponce de Leon’s futile quest to find the fountain of youth. The word itself is rooted in negative syntax beginning with “anti,” which no doubt elicits a feeling that aging is something we should be against. To truly understand the value of anti-aging medicine, we must first gain a new perspective and redefine “anti-aging.”
A better term for anti-aging treatments would be pro-healthspan, or even pro-vitality, as that is what these youth-supporting treatments are actually focused on – increasing the span of a person’s life during which they are healthy, agile, and able to live life to the fullest. After all, what’s the point of living longer if you are not able to enjoy it? In regenerative medicine, anti-aging treatments are designed to extend the health of cells, repair damaged tissue, and rejuvenate the body to increase quality of life.
Treating Aging as a Disease
Advances in science, research, and technology have provided us with a deeper understanding of exactly what happens within the body as we age. As Dr. Ryan McNally recently explained in an interview on the Mahan Health podcast, the metabolic processes within the body that turn fuel (or food) into energy produce byproducts which cause deterioration of surrounding cells. Much like a car produces exhaust as it burns gasoline to run, so, too, does the body produce its own form of exhaust. Internal byproducts or “exhaust” along with external toxins produce inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage, ultimately preventing cell replication. The build-up of senescent cells can cause tissue degradation, chronic inflammation, and impair the function of surrounding cells. This senescent cell toxic environment leads to inflammatory changes in, blood vessels triggering cardiovascular disease, joints leading to the pain and mobility issues seen in osteoarthritis, and neuronal cell death leading to Alzheimer's disease to name a few.
There is some debate over whether aging itself should be classified and treated as a disease, but what we do know is that the molecular processes involved in aging play a role in all forms of chronic disease such as, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. This new perspective has empowered doctors and researchers to find innovative ways to treat and reverse the damage caused by aging instead of simply treating and alleviating the symptoms of aging.
Proactive Steps Toward Longevity
While there are now more therapies, medicines, and treatments available than ever before with the power to repair the damage caused by aging, simply seeking these treatments once the pain or symptoms become unbearable is not enough. The longer degeneration persists, the harder it is to reverse the damage. Taking proactive steps early is imperative. Utilizing anti-aging treatments that slow down or reverse the byproducts of aging early is one of the best things you can do to prolong your healthspan.
3 Dimensions of Bodily Health
Now that you understand the purpose and driving force behind anti-aging treatments, we will take a look at some of the most powerful treatments and therapies available today. You will find that all of these fall under at least one of three basic pillars of bodily health – physical, psychological, and emotional. For our bodies to truly thrive, it is necessary for each of these aspects to be operating at optimum efficiency as well as working together in unison.
Tailoring an Anti-Aging Plan to Your Unique Body
Our bodies, while comprised of the same fundamental components, are very different on a genetic and cellular level. These differences are what determine different intake needs from foods and nutrients and also make specific medications and supplements make We each have strengths, weaknesses, challenges we struggle with, and our own set of health and wellness goals. Because of this, a great first step on the path to prolonging your healthspan is to gain a deeper understanding of your body on a cellular level.
From a simple blood test, micronutrient testing can analyze the precise levels of more than 30 different micronutrients in your body. This information can help your entire team of health and wellness professionals, including your doctor, nutritionist, physical therapist, and dermatologist, provide you with the most personalized and effective care possible. Micronutrient testing can detect vitamin and nutrient deficiencies early before they lead to more serious side effects as well as reveal underlying causes of existing ailments.
Another option available that provides patients with a deeper understanding of their body is genetic testing, which can reveal the health risks along with epigenetics. Epigenetics tells us about gene expression or which genes are turned off or on and are impacted by our lifestyle habits. In fact, we have even been able to determine the composition of a youthful epigenetic footprint. This knowledge allows patients to make proactive decisions regarding care, take early preventative measures to prolong their healthspan, and make overall more informed decisions regarding their health. Genetic testing is available for both epigenetics and a wide range of hereditary diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer panel testing.
Anti-Aging Treatments for Physical Health
Once you’ve gained a deeper understanding of your body, there are numerous anti-aging treatments available that can assist on the journey to achieving your ideal health. Focusing on your ideal health is an important distinction because the journey is not the same for everyone. Two fundamental elements of physical health are eating a balanced diet (getting all of the nutrients your body needs to fuel the many processes and functions it carries out) and exercising. All anti-aging treatments will be more effective when used in conjunction with healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
When it comes to diet, there are several proven strategies that we at Aspire Regenerative recommend to our patients. These include intermittent fasting, plant-based whole food diets, and working directly with a dietary counselor or nutritionist who can tailor an eating plan to not only your eating habits and taste preferences but your schedule and cooking ability. Staying hydrated is an essential component as well. These dietary strategies can be used for longevity, preventing disease, to improve mood, and is commonly used for weight management. When weight loss is desired, additional therapeutics can be used to enhance the dietary strategies including, fiber supplements, sex hormones, probiotics, and/or thyroid medications.
There are many exercise programs designed to do everything from increasing muscle mass to trimming down fat. For most people, a balance of cardio and strength training will yield the optimal balance between burning fat and increasing muscle strength. One innovative treatment that can help you get rid of stubborn pockets of fat, strengthen muscle tissue, and increase your basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) is EMSculpt®.
EMSculpt® is a medical device that is FDA approved to treat the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves, biceps, and triceps. While many people use this device on-label for aesthetic and beauty purposes it holds a tremendous off-label potential to blunt age-related muscle loss. It may also play a role in the treatment of sarcopenia and frailty, conditions that are currently not readily treatable. EMSculpt® is also a valuable tool for patients kickstarting a new fitness program or healthy living regimen. Building muscle tissue by any means helps to prevent diabetes, bolster the immune system, strengthen bone, prevent musculoskeletal injury and falls, enhance the ability to move and exercise with age, and improves mood and self confidence. EMSculpt® technology helps to enhance and bring our important lifestyle and anti-aging efforts to the next level.
Stem cell therapy and PRP (platelet-rich-plasma) therapy can be tremendously beneficial for patients with preexisting injuries or chronic pain. Where cortisone injections simply alleviate pain, PRP and/or stem cell injections actually tap into the body’s own healing process to facilitate tissue regeneration and repair. These regenerative therapies treat a wide range of conditions including inflammatory diseases, osteoarthritis, overuse injuries, ligament and tendon injuries. There are also some using injectable therapies, like PRP, on a regular ongoing basis to protect and facilitate repair from normal wear and tear as we age.
Anti-Aging Treatments for Psychological and Emotional Health
The brain is the main control center of the body, so good psychological health is vital for all of the other processes within the body to be carried out. One of the primary functions needed for good mental health and cognitive processing is good sleep. One of the core foundations needed is sleep hygiene through a combination of lifestyle habits, relaxation and meditation practices and supplement use. Fortunately, a large amount of research and anti-aging treatments have been developed and are centered around psychological and emotional well being.
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive program that actually trains the brain to use optimal pathways and reroute its synapses to achieve peak function. Through a series of guided exercises, neurofeedback can treat or alleviate symptoms of a wide range of psychological and mood disorders including age-related cognitive decline, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, migraines, and Parkinson’s disease.
Lauded as an exciting new frontier in cell therapy, exosome therapy is being used to treat neurodegenerative diseases as well as autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory diseases. Exosome therapy may aid in the treatment of degenerative joint disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and more. Research has also found that exosomes derived from stem cells can increase skin thickness and collagen production when applied topically. Some researchers believe exosomes may be in part the reason why parabiosis and young blood infusions may show stark rejuvenation in animal models. While exosome research is ongoing and it is early to make bold claims about the therapeutic value, it remains one of the most exciting and promising areas of regenerative medicine.
Another anti-aging therapy that can prolong healthspan is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Hormones act as the body’s messengers carrying vital information between cells and tissues. They conduct the body to store or burn fat cells, initiate puberty, regulate sleep, and much more. Natural aging leads to a decrease in hormone production, which can cause a range of uncomfortable ailments including osteoporosis, muscle loss, low libido, hair thinning, skin thinning, and memory loss. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy restores balance by replenishing the body’s hormone levels and can make major improvements in all three of pillars (psychological, physical, and emotional) of health and wellness.
Anti-Aging Treatments for Boosting Performance
While many anti-aging treatments address specific conditions or ailments, there are some therapies that can greatly benefit primarily healthy individuals, too. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is one such treatment that has risen to popularity among business professionals, athletes, and everyday people looking to boost their cognitive and physical capabilities. HBOT is an FDA-approved treatment for conditions such as osteomyelitis and anemia, but it can also be used to speed up recovery time after exercising, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. HBOT falls into the regenerative category because of its ability to promote angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) for tissue repair and cause stem cell mobilization.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a powerful tool because it increases blood flow and helps transport oxygen deeper into damaged tissues. HBOT supplies the body with the essential nutrient, oxygen, in order to drive energy production in the mitochondria, upregulate stem cell activity, repair tissue damage, and essentially feed and heal itself. This is a perfect example of a pro-healthspan therapy.
Another anti-aging therapy that can be used both to treat serious ailments as well as provide benefits to primarily healthy patients is IV infusion therapy. The term “IV therapy” simply refers to the administration of supplements, nutrients, or medications intravenously, so this therapy spans a wide range of specific treatments. The precise infusion can be tailored to the needs of each individual patient and is effective because 100% of the agent gets directly into the bloodstream.
One IV therapy showing particular promise is NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). The agent plays an important role in the sirtuin pathway, an anti-aging pathway discovered through calorie restriction research. NAD is also important for energy production in the mitochondria serving as a direct precursor to ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Mitochondrial health decline is considered one of the major components of the aging puzzle. NAD IV therapy and IV nutrient therapy are used to improve many medical conditions such as depression, substance abuse, aging, cardiovascular disease, dementia, neuropathies, and Parkinson’s disease. In general IV therapy is used to boost the immune system, facilitate muscle recovery after workouts, mitigate the symptoms of jet lag, strengthen bones, and nourish skin, hair, and nails.
Cosmetic Anti-Aging Treatments
Cosmetic treatments are an important part of anti-aging therapies because they have the power to rejuvenate the skin and make us feel more confident. When we look good, we tend to feel good, and that alone is a tremendous benefit. These therapies are also important because many current anti-aging therapies focus on longevity internally leaving the skin aged and not matching internal youth. If we are going to live longer it will be important to people that the outside is as young as the inside. This is a big reason why so many cosmetic anti-aging treatments exist to address everything from facial wrinkles to spider veins.
Surveys have found that more than half of all people 50 years and older suffer from spider veins. Sclerotherapy, or spider vein therapy, is an effective treatment used to remove unwanted spider veins. By injecting a nontoxic hypertonic saline solution into spider veins, doctors are able to reroute blood flow through healthier veins, which causes the spider veins to turn into scar tissue and eventually get reabsorbed by the body. This minimally invasive procedure can reduce the appearance of spider veins by up to 80% with just one treatment. While these therapies are aesthetic in nature, they do help to control an unwanted age-related skin changes.
When it comes to anti-aging facial treatments, acupuncture and micro needling are two powerful tools that have been found to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by boosting blood flow and collagen production. Micro needling is often used in conjunction with PRP therapy to deliver powerful results to those seeking skin rejuvenation.
The Future of Anti-Aging Treatments
As research continues and our understanding of the aging process deepens, new and exciting therapies, medications, and treatments are constantly being developed. Doctors at Stanford University are researching the effects of young-blood transfusions on elderly patients, particularly those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. More studies are needed, but early findings indicate that blood plasma transfusions from young people may be able to help Alzheimer’s patients regain certain physical abilities.
Research into senolytics, or medications that can neutralize the impact of senescent cells within the body, has shown exciting results. Senolytics are currently in used off-label to treat or even reverse the damage caused by several age-related diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, and more. One of the most promising senolytic agents to date is dasatinib in combination with quercetin. Dasatinib works by selectively causing senolytic cell death by temporarily disabling pro-survival processes. One of the really interesting facts about this medication is it only needs to be taken intermittently (3 days for example) to have an effect.
Another category of promising anti-aging substances is called a mTOR inhibitor. The most well researched of which is rapamycin. It works by modulating the immune system, reducing age-related stem cell decline and most importantly upregulates autophagy leading to lifespan extension. Autophagy is a self cleaning mechanism that essentially helps healthy cells function better and stay alive longer to perform their vital functions.
Another exciting study led by Dr. Greg Fahy of Intervene Immune and Dr. Steve Horvath at the University of California in Los Angeles, California, found that a unique combination of growth hormones and two common diabetes medications may be able to actually reverse biological age. The epigenetic age of patients enrolled in a preliminary clinical trial was reversed by an average of 2 ½ years. Based on this research, we have made this genetic test available to patients at Aspire Regenerative. This research is still in the early stages but shows that exciting anti-aging treatments are on the horizon, and we will certainly be watching closely as studies develop.
Aging Gracefully and Healthfully
Armed with a deeper understanding of what anti-aging means, what a comprehensive anti-aging plan looks like, and the benefits of individual treatments, it is our hope that this article will help you make informed decisions regarding the best therapies and treatments for your unique body. If you would like to learn more about these and other anti-aging treatments, we welcome you to book a consultation at our state-of-the-art facility in San Diego, California.
At Aspire Regenerative, we take a truly personalized approach to regenerative medicine and provide individualized treatment recommendations based on each patient’s unique medical history, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and health and wellness goals. Whether you want to learn more about your cellular composition, get a boost on your journey to losing weight, or train your brain for optimal function, we are here to help.
Prolonging healthspan is possible. It is no longer a thing of the future, though more innovative treatments are surely on the horizon. If you want to increase your longevity and maximize the period of your life where you can enjoy it to the fullest, you have a breadth of anti-aging treatments at your disposal. All you have to do is take proactive steps and use regenerative medicine to help your body heal itself.