Hormones may be the best available anti aging medicines. Studies show that many adults age 40 and over have low levels of vital hormones. Hormones assist in regulating our metabolism, repairing injured or damaged tissue, protecting our bones, obtaining restful sleep, improving libido and reproductive function, keeping us mentally sharp, and much more.
Beginning around age 30 we begin to lose 1% to 3% of our hormones each year. For many adults, a critical threshold decline in hormones has occurred by age 45 to 50. Around that same time our energy levels drop, we gain weight, libido declines, we loss muscle mass, bones become more brittle, and we do not seem as mentally sharp as we once did.
In addition, the incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases increases during those years.
The major hormones that affect how we age include growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, melatonin, cortisol, and insulin. Several studies have shown that individuals whose hormone levels are in the upper third of normal are less likely to get heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease than individuals whose levels are in the lower third of normal. See “Anti Aging Hormones“.
Anti-Aging Effects of Calorie Restriction
It has long been known that calorie restriction extends longevity in every organism and animal studied. Calorie restriction induces a stress that triggers various survival metabolic mechanisms. This includes enhanced repair of chromosomes, increased repair of tissues and immune defense, enhanced energy production and utilization, increased cell survival, and improved stress response.
Supplements and Medications that Mimic Calorie Restriction
The health benefits from calorie restriction can also occur by taking small molecules produced in plants that have been stressed. These molecules activate sirtuin genes, which produce these health benefits. These molecules are called STACs for sirtuin activating compounds. The most powerful STAC is resveratrol, which is produced in grape skins. One doesn’t have to drink wine, though, as resveratrol is readily found as a nutritional supplement.
Other powerful STACs include quercetin, fisetin, and butein.
Metformin is a prescribed medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Metformin improves glucose metabolism and utilization. It also induces metabolic changes similar to those seen in calorie restricted animals. Whether it has an anti-aging effect in humans remains to be determined.
Fight Free Radicals with Antioxidants
One major theory of aging is the Free Radical Theory. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron that then “steals” an electron from another molecule setting off a chain of events that leads to cell death and tissue damage. Antioxidants “neutralize” free radicals.
Inflammation is thought to be at the center of many chronic diseases. The best natural anti-inflammatory supplements are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds, nuts, and other foods, but readily available in supplement form as well. Curcumin, found in tumeric is also anti-inflammatory.