Life Extension Magazine June 2012
Suzanne Somers’s Quest to Educate the World About How to Delay Aging
Americans continue to suffer and die prematurely while proven methods exist to forestall pathological aging processes.
Life Extension® members long ago gained access to solid scientific data showing how healthy lifestyle choices slash disease risk. Yet the majority of Americans have their youth robbed by an epidemic of medical ignorance that results in sharply higher incidences of cancer, vascular occlusion, arthritis, dementia, and virtually every other age-related disorder.
While membership in the Life Extension Foundation® continues to grow, we still reach only a small fraction of the population. When a famous celebrity appears on national television to espouse what Foundation members learned decades ago, however, the average person stops to notice.
Suzanne Somers has turned her life around by removing toxic compounds from her environment, eating organic foods, meticulously keeping her hormones in natural balance, having her blood regularly tested, taking the appropriate supplements, and utilizing advanced stem cell therapy.
Suzanne is not the only prominent personality doing this. Hollywood has long emphasized youthful appearances and those involved in show business are early examples of humans taking aggressive steps to thwart degenerative changes.
What differentiates Suzanne from our other celebrity members is that she describes in meticulous detail the many virtues she has personally attained by following a science-based youth restoration program.
In her latest book titled BOMBSHELL, Suzanne reveals to the public much of the data that Life Extension members already view as common sense approaches to protect against age-related illness.
What impresses us is the ability of Suzanne Somers to appear in the national media and describe in “people speak” how humans can successfully intervene into pathological aging processes. By lifting the veil of scientific ignorance, Suzanne educates millions of people about novel methods to slow and reverse degenerative processes.
The following is an excerpted chapter from Suzanne’s new book BOMBSHELL that describes 18 underlying mechanisms that cause us to age and how each of them may be circumvented.
Advanced Age Reversal
Based on new findings about the mechanisms of aging, the universal dream of a longer life is now a scientific reality. But what if you want to go deeper than making just a few changes and you want to dive into a more advanced age-reversing program? I asked Bill Faloon of Life Extension to provide a plan to counterattack the eighteen most common things that age us. Consult with an antiaging physician to see which of these might be issues for you, so that you can tailor your plan of attack to your individual needs.
The phenomenon known as “aging” is the result of pathological changes that are somewhat controllable using existing technologies. By prolonging our healthy life span, we put ourselves in a position to take advantage of future medical breakthroughs that could result in dramatic extensions of the human life span.
This chapter reveals what do about the eighteen controllable causes of age-related disease; follow these simple steps to correct them.
Aging Factor 1: Chronic Inflammation
Persistent inflammation occurs frequently with aging and is a primary contributor to the deterioration that our body undergoes as we grow old.
Inflammation can be triggered by both internal and external causes, making it difficult to prevent. For instance, excess belly fat releases inflammation-causing molecules called cytokines.
Continuous low-level inflammatory assaults inflict damage on everything from brain cells and arterial walls, to cell regulatory genes.
Heart attack, stroke, heart valve failure, cancer, and Alzheimer’s have all been linked to the chronic inflammation that occurs in most of us as we age.
Solution: Comprehensive Anti-Inflammatory Regimen
An array of clinically proven nutrients and hormones has been shown to effectively target the mechanisms behind inflammation. The agents listed next operate in multiple ways to neutralize pro-inflammatory processes.
The most commonly used blood test for inflammation is known as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or hs-CRP. Any doctor should be able to provide this test for you, or you can order it directly by logging on to www.suzannesomers.com. CRP levels in men should ideally be below 0.55 mg/L while women should be below 1.50 mg/L.
In addition to the nutrients and hormones described in this section, those with persistently high levels of C-reactive protein should seek to reduce their fasting blood glucose levels to below 85 mg/dL of blood.
Carrying excess fat pounds, especially in the belly, is a common cause of systemic inflammation. There are nutrients that impede the absorption of carbohydrates and thus facilitate weight loss along with reductions in fasting blood sugar. (You will read in Aging Factor 16 about natural ways to reduce belly fat and lower blood glucose.)
Those with stubbornly high blood sugar levels may need to take a standardized green coffee bean extract (350 mg three times daily) that has been shown to naturally block the overproduction and release of glucose into the bloodstream.
High LDL (bad cholesterol) can also spark systemic inflammatory fires. Your LDL levels should ideally be kept below 80-100 mg/dL. The presence of inflammatory factors in the blood is why blood testing is so important when designing an individualized program to neutralize your Aging Factors. To inquire about low-cost comprehensive blood testing in your area, log on to www.suzannesomers.com and click through to Life Extension.
Aging Factor 2: Glycation
It is well known that diabetics age prematurely and die about 10 years earlier than non-diabetics. One reason for this is a process called glycation, in which glucose (and other sugars) bind to proteins and/or fats in the body to form nonfunctioning structures.
Diabetics suffer accelerated glycation. What few people realize is that non-diabetics also suffer from deadly glycation reactions, only at a slower rate.
The health consequences of glycation are most evident in damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels. Glycation speeds up these kinds of age-related damage, but there are simple steps you can take to slow it down.
Solution: Facilitate Glucose Metabolism and Inhibit Glycation
Numerous studies have shown that the nutrients listed below suppress dangerous glycation reactions in the body.
Aging Factor 3: Methylation
The DNA within every cell of your body requires constant enzymatic reactions called methylation for maintenance and repair. Aging cripples youthful methylation metabolism. The resulting DNA damage can manifest as cancer, liver damage, and brain cell degeneration.
Solution: Methyl Donors
Low-cost nutrients can safely restore methylation activity to youthful levels.
Taken together, the following nutrients are referred to as “methyl donors.” They induce so-called remethylation reactions—boosting levels of methylation activity and restoring healthy cellular function and repair.
Aging Factor 4: Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Over 350 studies published in 2010 alone show how mitochondrial degradation leads to the onset of virtually every degenerative disease. Mitochondrial dysfunction can result in congestive heart failure, muscle weakness, fatigue, and neurological disease. The good news is that researchers have found that age-related mitochondrial decline may be reversed.
Solution: Mitochondrial Support
To energize and restore aging mitochondria, the following four nutrients should be taken each day.
Aging Factor 5: Hormone Imbalance
The cells in your body are synchronized to function by communication signals called “hormones.”
Aging creates severe hormone imbalances that contribute to depression, inflammation, osteoporosis, coronary artery blockage, and loss of libido.
These age-related hormone imbalances drastically affect quality of life. As testosterone, estrogen, progesterone (in women), and thyroid hormone levels inevitably decline, mood, energy levels, muscle mass, metabolism, memory, mental performance, and fulfilling sex all go by the wayside.
Age-related declines in hormone levels can be extreme. Serious health problems often don’t get the right care because doctors fail to recognize that their aging patients’ disorders may be caused by hormone concentrations that are up to 90% lower than in their youth.
Solution: Bioidentical Hormone Replacement with Nutrient Support
The most effective way to bring your sex hormones into balance is by restoring them to youthful levels with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. There’s no fixed dosage for these hormones. You and your doctor tailor the amount that’s right for you through careful monitoring of your blood test results.
How to Support Hormone Balance
* Consult with your physician before taking DHEA or pregnenolone. Do not use DHEA or pregnenolone if you are at risk for or have been diagnosed as having any type of hormonal cancer, such as prostate or breast cancer.
Those taking bioidentical hormones should consider taking nutrients shown to help aging men and women safely utilize their hormones, protect against hormone-dependent cancers, and eliminate potentially carcinogenic compounds found in our diet and environment.
Estrogen imbalance poses a major threat to both women and men. Clinical studies reveal that too much or too little estrogen puts men at greater risk for heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, prostate cancer, and osteoporosis. Compounds found in cruciferous vegetables help our bodies regulate estrogen metabolites, neutralizing dangerous ones.
The chart in this section describes bioidentical hormones you can obtain right now and the nutrients you should take with them. Fortunately, many of these nutrients are available in special multiformulas, so you don’t have to take a lot of pills.
Aging Factor 6: Excess Calcification
Aging disrupts calcium transport, resulting in excess calcium infiltration into the soft tissue cells of the brain, heart valves, and middle arterial wall (causing arteriosclerosis). Many age-related disorders are related to excessive calcification, including memory loss, aortic valve stenosis, atherosclerosis, vision problems, even dementia.
Gradual calcium buildup in your coronary arteries can constrict blood flow, causing chest pains and putting you at greater risk for a heart attack.
These deadly age-related processes can be halted and possibly reversed using two low-cost nutrients.
Solution: Vitamins K and D
Lining our blood vessels is a protein that regulates whether or not circulating blood calcium infiltrates (calcifies) our arteries. This protein requires vitamin K2 to function. When one is deficient in vitamin K2, vascular calcification occurs. When sufficient K2 is present, this protein functions to shield against arterial calcification.
Vitamins D and K work together to help remove calcium from circulation in the blood, trigger bone formation, and maintain bone strength. Vitamin D helps your bones absorb calcium. Vitamin K ensures that calcium is deposited in your bones and stays out of your arteries. Together they work to prevent excess calcium from depositing in your brain, arteries, and other soft tissues.
* If you’re taking anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin® (warfarin), talk to your doctor before starting on a vitamin K regimen.
Aging Factor 7: Digestive Enzyme Deficit
Digestive enzymes are essential to the body’s absorption and full utilization of food. They speed the chemical reactions that break down food in the digestive tract. Raw foods also provide enzymes that naturally break down food for proper absorption. The capacity of the living organism to make enzymes diminishes with age. One reason we pack on the fat pounds, feel sluggish, and grow more vulnerable to infectious disease as we grow old may surprise you. It’s a connection I never made until I started talking to antiaging experts.
Our aging bodies no longer produce sufficient amounts of the active chemical compounds we need to extract essential nutrients from the foods we eat.
Meeting the full range of our nutritional requirements can create a high demand for these digestive enzymes. Their gradual loss accounts for many health problems that plague aging adults, from impaired immunity to digestive distress and nutritional deficiencies.
Solution: Tailored Enzymatic and Nutritional Support
Another way to restore digestive enzyme balance is to ensure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut. Supplements that supply these living bacteria are called probiotics.
You also need to ensure that “good” bacteria are getting enough of the nutrients they need to thrive. Dietary deficiency of these nutrients—known as prebiotics—is another reason we don’t have the robust digestive enzyme balance of our younger days.
So your digestive support strategy is threefold:
One final word of caution, and something else that might surprise you: High-quality digestive enzyme supplements can cause you to gain weight if you’re not careful.
They work so well in helping your body break down food efficiently that you don’t get that “full” feeling as quickly. So you may wind up eating more than you should, even though you know you shouldn’t.