|LE Magazine May 2001 |
Anti-Aging Clinic: a follow-up
Within the walls of the Longevity Institute of Australia at Redwood
by Marilyn Bitomsky
Page 1 of 2
Dr. Warwick Greville
The Longevity Institute of Australia at the Redwood Clinic, the country’s first anti-aging clinic, opened its doors on February 1, 1999 in Melbourne. That same year Life Extension ran a story on the Institute, introducing its novel approach to comprehensive medicine. Here we revisit the clinic, and follow Redwood patients in their quest to retain youth and keep aging-related diseases at bay.
For Iris Lustig-Moar, 56, finding Dr. Warwick Greville and Australia’s only anti-aging clinic, the Longevity Institute of Australia at the Redwood Clinic, was “the best thing I have ever done for myself.”
In 1995, Iris was very concerned about the fact that she was reaching the age of menopause and of potential hereditary brain ailments. Her mother had died with Alzheimer’s disease and her father has Parkinson’s. “I thought if there were something I could do to help myself slow the deterioration rate or even avoid it altogether then I should do that for myself. I became very interested in the longevity theories because of the health of both my parents.”
She voraciously read everything she could about anti-aging, and began purchasing supplements, although without medical supervision. Then she read about Dr. Edmond Chein in Palm Springs, California. “The more I read, the more I became convinced I should make an appointment with him. My initial reason was to avoid the problems experienced by my parents. If that also meant slowing the aging process, that was an added bonus,” she says. “At that time I used to visit the United States regularly, so it wasn’t a problem to go see him. In fact I had already started playing golf and I was aware that Palm Springs was a golfer’s haven.”
That was in early 1995. Because she was perimenopausal she felt some urgency. Her initial appointment with Dr. Chein took three hours, during which time her partner Jeff read all of the material that was available in the waiting room. By the time she came out, he asked Dr. Chein if he could become part of the program too.
Dr. Chein wanted her to return every three months, which presented a problem, so the original plan was for her to have tests conducted in Australia and the results sent to him in the States. She soon realized this was impractical. It was then that Dr. Chein remembered a former patient, who was also a doctor from Australia, and this led Iris to Dr. Greville of the Longevity Institute of Australia at Redwood Clinic.
A potential client receives information on the Redwood service.
“At this time two major things were occurring in my life. Not only was I perimenopausal, but I was also under a huge amount of stress. I was gaining weight and I wasn’t happy with the way both my brain and my body were going.”
A Melbourne menopause specialist whom Iris had consulted was quite unimpressed with the fact that Dr. Chein had prescribed growth hormone.
It was in 1996 that she first consulted Dr. Greville, who she came to learn was overcoming his own health problems using longevity principles.
“Dr. Greville is one of the first people in Australia to follow this methodology. Everyone should take notice because that is the way of the future. I now feel I am on top of everything, including my hormones, and I have a huge satisfaction that I have achieved what I wanted.”
Iris now attends the clinic every three weeks for tests and advice. She is on a regime of regular exercise, healthy diet, a veritable cocktail of supplements including multivitamins, antioxidants and several female hormones including growth hormone, which Iris is delighted with because of its highly beneficial effects.
Dr. Greville urged caution, however: “Growth hormone can be very important, but it is only part of the answer. I must emphasize that there are certain laws of mother nature that we do not fully comprehend and it’s best not to push the growth hormone. However, if a person’s tests show the levels are very low, and there are also clinical indications for the need, then I feel it is beneficial to restore it up to the physiological level of a 30- to 35-year-old. This can either be by oral secretagogues or by growth hormone injections.”
She works out several times a week and plays golf twice a week. “Through the tests conducted at Dr. Greville’s clinic, we discovered that I do not need to work very hard with physical exercise because I am in the A positive blood group,” she commented.
Diets and blood types
Historically it was thought that blood groups were important only with transfusions, but it is now known that the different blood groups can secrete their own distinctive antigens, and over 75% of people are secreters. These secretions show up in the intestinal tract and certain foods react against them. It causes an increase in the inflammatory cytokines and can increase the rate of aging. Also, lectins—the wheat-glute antigen—can be absorbed and interfere with the insulin receptors on fat cells and result in a predisposition to obesity.
Many people, for optimum health, should eat according to blood group. O type blood groups hail from the hunter gatherers so can process red meats appropriately, while A types should eat a relatively vegetarian diet. Many people are intuitive and are already aware of what is digested well. If A groups eat large quantities of red meat, that food can ferment or putrefy in the bowel and increase growth of bad bacteria from which lipopolysaccarides can be absorbed. This can increase or upregulate inflammatory processes in the body. If these people choose to eat red meat, they should have less than 4 oz and then only once every two weeks or more.
However, the A blood group can better digest fish and to a lesser extent white meat. The former have the essential omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid. These are important components in the lining of cell membranes, allowing them to be more flexible and the nutrients to move in and out.
Iris Lustig-Moar (left) has one of her regular blood tests.
It is now known that our food talks to our genes, which are pleiotropic, and the omega-3 fatty acids can turn on and turn off the genes—they actually speak to them. They can affect the workings of our peroxisomes, which are tiny organelles on cells about half a micron in size. They surround the energy factories of our cells, the mitochondria. They transform the longer C24 fatty acids into C20 fatty acids and allow them to be used for cellular signalling or oxidation. They also have oxidative enzymes, especially catalase. The activity of those peroxisomes on the fat cells can be increased by the omega-3 fatty acids through the peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma, increasing thermogenesis and helping control weight.
An increase in fat relates inversely to longevity. Many of the clinic’s major clients are people who were not thin as teenagers but have actually become fat by middle age. “Mostly we find this is due to insulin resistance, which is almost endemic in our society,” said Dr. Greville.
When Life Extension magazine caught up with Iris, she was having her regular bioimpedence analysis test done. “This tells the doctors how my body is reacting to things, how much fluid I am carrying, the ratio of body fat compared with muscle. So I don’t just get on the scales, I get all this other information.”
The use of impedance measurement was developed by the Japanese, but US-based company Metagenics has taken it a step further, Dr. Greville said. It assists in analyzing the cellular environment. This is where one cell talks to another through our hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokines. These are the molecules that the cells of different organ systems use to communicate with one another in a web-like connection. Some, like the interleukins and tumor necrosis factor alpha, increase inflammation and they increase the aging process.
“This test is part of the Longevity Institute International’s Biomarker Matrix Analysis (BMA) system, which provides us with an accurate blueprint of how your body is aging,” Dr. Greville explained. “It measures aging at four levels: physiological, cellular, molecular and genetic. Once your BMA is complete, we use the information to formulate a treatment program specifically designed to target your individual anti-aging needs.
“When using the bioimpedence analysis, we take the height and weight of the patient, then attach leads to the feet and wrists before sending a small current through. This gives us information about the relative proportion of fat-free mass or muscle mass, the percentage of fat, the distribution of intracellular and extracellular water, and the phase angle. The higher the level of phase angle, the better it is. There is also a statistical extrapolation that tells us about the body’s toxicity. It also calculates the recommended number of calories.
“We correlate this test with many other tests and the blood group. For the overweight, we also look at the quantity of insulin the patient produces and correlate that with their fasting blood sugar. This gives an idea of the reserve capacity of the pancreas to produce insulin. Then we look at the amount of insulin put out after feeding. There is a nomogram that gives us an estimate of how much insulin resistance there is, and an idea of the functional capacity of the pancreas to produce insulin. We vary the diet accordingly.”
Iris is on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet because she is insulin resistant. Many overweight people aged over 50 are overweight for this reason, said Dr. Greville. However, obesity is a multifactorial problem, he continued.
“Many people are born with a thrifty gene and they might be able to survive in the desert. But when they eat Western food they put on a lot of weight. So we always look at a person’s metabolic rate. We find these women have a decrease in their responsiveness to leptin, a hormone that controls appetite, a decrease in their fat burning and an increase in their inactive reverse T3 instead of the normal T3, which is one of the many thyroid hormones. As we age we tend to become insulin resistant, so there is a gradual increase in the population of people with syndrome X. About 10% will end up with diabetes, and if they have a family history, their chances are particularly high.”
Iris said she started with a high protein, low carbohydrate diet and lost about 30 pounds over about two years—“and I have kept it off. I am very strict—I have to be because I have a terrible sugar craving to the point that I can understand people who are alcoholics and drug users.”
Since the Longevity Institute of Australia at the Redwood Clinic opened its doors, becoming Australia’s first anti-aging clinic, it has been gradually changing focus. “Anti-aging has a negative connotation, and we want to be more proactive so we are now focusing on well-being and healthy aging, because this is what will keep you functionally better off, preserve your organ capacity, improve the quality of your life and maximize life extension,” Dr. Greville said.
The clinic is actively encouraging young people to embrace this type of lifestyle, particularly to eat a more natural, less processed and optimum diet with less saturated fats, especially less synthetic fats like the trans in margarine. They also need more fresh fruit and vegetables, and to move away from the multitude of sugary carbohydrates. This, according to Dr. Greville, should be tackled early in the preschool years and even outside the medical system.
"This test is part of the Longevity Institute International's Biomarker Matrix Analysis (BMA) system, which provides us with an accurate blueprint of how your body is aging."
“Unfortunately many men want a quick fix. They wait until something goes wrong and then they want a pill to fix it. Medicine now is wonderful to treat acute illnesses and there is surgery to repair hernias, etc. But for chronic illnesses—the lifestyle diseases and the degenerative diseases—this requires a more involved approach with a commitment from the well-informed person to take responsibility for their own health.”
Many people are reluctant to take vitamins, but clinic staff impress on them that the body is just like their motor car. It is far better to have a full tank and reserve capacity than to have to fight off an illness without help.