Herbs and Aging
Herbs and Ageing
Foods containing a variety of phytochemicals, including phytochemicals with antioxidant properties, may offer greater protection against, or reverse mental decline associated with, age-related disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Oxidative stress may be a key factor in both, recent findings suggest. Research also finds that supplemental doses of ginkgo biloba and other herbal antioxidants are more useful than individual nutrients. Antioxidants are in fruit and vegetables. They slow brain aging. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables may help prevent age-related mental decline, according to a US study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. It has been shown that an antioxidant-rich diet improves memory and slows the decline in nerve cell functions important in movement than a standard diet. "Our results show that these foods, particularly chlorophyll-rich foods, are beneficial in retarding age-related central nervous system and cognitive behavioral deficits," said lead author Dr. James Joseph of the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Ageing - how to prevent it
It is possible oxidative stress, glycation, telomere shortening and chronological age - along with various genes - all work together to cause aging.
What are the prospects for human immortality?
Human lifespan has increased considerably since the 1600s, when the average lifespan was 30 years. By 1998, the average U.S. life expectancy was 76. The reasons included sewers and other sanitation measures, antibiotics, clean water, refrigeration, vaccines and other medical efforts to prevent children and babies from dying, improved diets and better health care.
Some scientists believe average life expectancy will continue to increase, although many doubt the average will exceed 90. But a few predict vastly longer lifespans are possible.
Cawthon says that if all processes of aging could be eliminated and oxidative stress damage could be repaired, "one estimate is people could live 1,000 years."
What are telomeres?
Like the rest of a chromosome and its genes, telomeres are sequences of DNA - chains of chemical code. Like other DNA, they are made of four nucleic acid bases: G for guanine, A for adenine, T for thymine and C for cytosine.
Telomeres are made of repeating sequences of TTAGGG on one strand of DNA bound to AATCCC on the other strand. Thus, one section of telomere is a "repeat" made of six "base pairs."
In human blood cells, the length of telomeres ranges from 8,000 base pairs at birth to 3,000 base pairs as people age and as low as 1,500 in elderly people. (An entire chromosome has about 150 million base pairs.) Each time a cell divides, an average person loses 30 to 200 base pairs from the ends of that cell's telomeres.
Cells normally can divide only about 50 to 70 times, with telomeres getting progressively shorter until the cells become senescent, die or sustain genetic damage that can cause cancer.
Telomeres do not shorten with age in tissues such as heart muscle in which cells do not continually divide.
A major cause of aging is "oxidative stress." It is the damage to DNA, proteins and lipids (fatty substances) caused by oxidants, which are highly reactive substances containing oxygen. These oxidants are produced normally when we breathe, and also result from inflammation, infection and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. In one study, scientists exposed worms to two substances that neutralize oxidants, and the worms' lifespan increased an average 44 percent.
Another factor in aging is "glycation." It happens when glucose sugar from what we eat binds to some of our DNA, proteins and lipids, leaving them unable to do their jobs. The problem becomes worse as we get older, causing body tissues to malfunction, resulting in disease and death. This may explain why studies in various laboratory animals indicate that restricting calorie intake extends lifespan.
There are over 20 chemicals in the body that can help slow the ageing process, but the most effective one is lithocholic acid. This is a bile acid produced in the liver. It has been found to kill breast, prostate and neuroblastoma cancer cells by interfering with the mitochondria in those cancer cells, reports Concordia University in Montreal.
To help improve the liver function and action Herbactive Advanced Botanical Centre of Medicine recommends taking the tonics LiverDetox and Liver Restorative Tonic.
To order these tonics click here.
Cynthia Kenyon PhD
Cynthia Jane Kenyon (born c. 1955) above, is an American molecular biologist and biogerontologist known for her genetic dissection of aging in a tiny worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. Cynthia's research prompted her to make personal dietary changes. She stopped eating high glycemic index carbohydrates when she discovered that putting sugar on the worms' food shortened their lifespans. Kenyon follows a low glycemic index diet similar to the Atkins diet, the South Beach Diet and Jorge Cruise diet. This is what she says:
"No desserts. No sweets. No potatoes. No rice. No bread. No pasta. When I say ‘no,’ I mean ‘no, or not much,’ she notes. Instead, eat green vegetables. Eat the fruits that aren't the sweet fruits, like melon. Bananas? Bananas are a little sweet. Meat? Meat, yes, of course. Avocados. All vegetables. Nuts. Fish. Chicken. That's what I eat. Cheese. Eggs. And one glass of red wine a day."
But the diet is unproven, she cautions, and she's not recommending it for all. Nevertheless, she's pleased with its performance for her. 'I have a fabulous blood profile. My triglyceride level is only 30, and anything below 200 is good.' [now see below about the latest proven diet for ongoing health]
"You have to eat something, and you just have to make your best judgement. And that's my best judgement. Plus, I feel better. Plus, I'm thin—I weigh what I weighed when I was in college. I feel great —you feel like you're a kid again. It's amazing.
“I think a high-carb diet (which gives you a lot of insulin) is not good for you,” she explains. “But I don’t think insulin and insulin growth factor are evil. We need them to grow and to process our food.”
1 Kingsland, J.: "I Want to Live Forever", New Scientist, Issue 2417, October 18, 2003.
2 Platoni, K: "Live, Fast, Die Old", East Bay Express, January 18, 2006.
3 O'Neill B: "In Methuselah's Mould", PLoS Biology Vol. 2, No. 1, e12 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020012
Latest and proven diet (2012)
Science has revealed the best diet following a study that has lasted many years. This was revealed in a report on Horizon on BBC2 in July 2012, in fact only the last 10 minutes of the hour-long documentary.
The diet is very effective in balancing blood sugar, removing fat on the belly, hips, arms, chest and elsewhere, improves general blood pressure, and improves energy within a month. The advantage of this diet is its simplicity and do-ability.
The diet is as follows:
On two consecutive days eat no more than 600 calories per week for a year. That's it!
I repeat: each week for 2 days keep your colorie intake to 600 calories or less.
The remainder of the week (5 days) you can eat anything. It is of course recommended that you be reasonable and eat healthily with plenty of greens, salads, some fruits and grains, fish, cheese, nuts and beans, and not a lot of meat or fats. Drink plenty of water. A glass of wine or real ale or equivalent per day. Exercise at least 3 times a week as well. Apart from this you can eat what you like for 5 days a week.
The result (the conclusion made of the US research in 2012 ): slow safe fat loss until your norm is reached with no loss of muscle which would cause sagging; enhanced vitality; brain cell regeneration; better memory longevity; blood sugar balance; restored normal blood pressure; improved overall organ functionality; ability to wean off dependance on drugs (or at least to be able to safely get onto herbal alternatives); reduction of stress and angst; and a figure you'll be confident to enjoy (and display on the beach or the bedroom).
This anti-aging tonic contains the important constituent resveratrol which can provide nearly identical benefits as calorie restriction, as it activates the same genes as calorie restriction. You can also obtain resveratrol from natural sources such as bilberry, elder berry and sloe (our sources).
Resveratrol is also found in raspberries, mulberries, bilberry (also in SeeMore Tonic), whole grape skins and seeds and peanuts, and is known to have a number of beneficial health effects, including fighting cancer. It belongs to a family of compounds known as polyphenols, which are known to combat damaging free radicals in the body.
* Resveratrol. Experiments from the Harvard laboratory of David Sinclair published in 2003 the journal Nature demonstrated that resveratrol significantly extends the lifespan of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr. Sinclair then founded Sirtris Pharmaceuticals to commercialize resveratrol or related compounds as an anti-aging drug.
Later studies showed that resveratrol prolongs the lifespan of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In 2006, it also extended the maximum lifespan of a short-lived fish, Nothobranchius furzeri, by 59%, and extended its median lifespan by 56%. Also noted were an increase in swimming performance, an increase in cognitive performance (learning tasks), and a lack of neurofibrillary degeneration (found in a control group). The authors observed that "[resveratrol's] supplementation with food extends vertebrate lifespan and delays motor and cognitive age-related decline could be of high relevance for the prevention of aging-related diseases in the human population. Later in 2006, a report in the journal Nature from Sinclair's laboratory and the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging showed that the compound improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet.
The mechanisms of resveratrol's apparent effects on life extension are not fully understood, but they appear to mimic several of the biochemical effects of calorie restriction. This seems to function by means of lipase inhibition, reducing the absorption of fat through intestinal walls. A new report indicates that resveratrol activates SIRT1 and PGC-1α and improve functioning of the mitochondria.
Our Unique Combination of antioxidant medicinal herbs and fruits can be prescribed, which I call AgeLess Tonic.
Reversing Cognitive Decline
"Nutritional intervention with fruits and vegetables may play an important role in protecting against and possibly reversing the cognitive declines seen from aging," Joseph added in a statement released by the publisher of the journal, the Society for Neuroscience.
Mediation Helps Preserve the Little Grey Cells
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles have found that meditation helps to prevent the loss of grey matter in the brain as we get older. When they compared the brains of people who were long-term meditators with those of non-meditators they found significant differences in the quantity of grey matter between the two groups. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed that although al the older people had some loss of grey matter it was far less in those who had been carrying out meditation for at least four years. (2015)
"Free radical destruction is thought to be a contributing factor to the decline in memory and motor performance seen in aging."Fruit and vegetables are key sources of antioxidants, nutrients that disarm harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals - the undesirable byproducts of various metabolic functions - damage cells. Over time, this damage, called oxidative damage or oxidative stress, is believed to play a leading role in certain diseases and age-related changes. Although the body also produces antioxidants, over time production declines. "The brain may be particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals because it is relatively deficient in antioxidants to begin with," Joseph said in a press statement. "Free radical destruction is thought to be a contributing factor to the decline in memory and motor performance seen in aging."
Tests to Prove Herbal Antioxidants
To determine whether an increase in antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetable consumption might offset these age-related declines in antioxidant production, and their consequences, Joseph and colleagues did tests with an array of "phytochemicals," or plant chemicals, that appear to have anti-oxidant properties.
Various tests designed to measure brain and mental functioning showed that the diets supplemented with greens saw the fewest age-related declines, followed by those fed fruit extract. Vitamin E also helped slow mental decline over time, but not to the same extent, Joseph and colleagues report. "Thus, phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods, may be beneficial in retarding functional age-related central nervous system and cognitive behavioural deficits," they conclude. Specially formulated for each person and taken daily will serve admirably to help offset free radicals and subsequent mental decline.
Herbal medicines can have a unique blend of herbal anti-oxidants. Take on a low dose long-term basis.
7 Deadly Things
Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey believes aging is a preventable phenomenon, much like a disease, stating that aging is merely a side effect of being alive.
He explains his belief that humans could live for centuries, if only we approach the aging process as “an engineering problem.”
He outlines the seven basic ways people age, and how to solve each one. And if we get to work now, he says, humans alive today could live to be 1,000.
According to de Grey, these “7 Deadly Things” are responsible for your physical aging, and are the basis of his “engineering approach” solutions:
1. Cell loss/atrophy
2. Death-resistant cells
3. Nuclear mutations and epimutations
4. mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) mutations
5. Protein cross links
6. Junk inside cells
7. Junk outside cells
Essentially, de Grey’s hypothesis states that if you can keep these seven deadly cell-damaging processes below the threshold of pathology – the state where processes start to break cells down until your body dies from the cumulative damage – you will be able to extend your life indefinitely.
In other anti-aging news, published in Best Life magazine, two preeminent aging experts have placed a bet on whether or not someone living today will be alive in 2150.
Steven Austad, biologist and professor of cellular and structural biology at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, believes someone alive today will still be alive in 2150. For the past 20 years, Austad has researched the fundamentals of aging, and has been able to drastically extend the lifespan of various animals by tinkering with their genes, or restricting their calorie intake.
Jay Olshansky, on the other hand, believes there are too many hurdles to be overcome, suspecting any benefit derived from anti-aging drugs will probably be wiped out by rising threats to public health, such as obesity and diabetes. In fact, the demographic models Olshansky and his colleagues have built project that obesity alone will cut the life expectancy of Americans by two to five years within the next 50 years.
Both experts agree, however, that science is making radical advances. Scientists now have a much more detailed understanding of how shutting down certain genes and restricting calories slow your aging process.
The shared factor between all long-lived animals is their superior capability to repair their DNA.
Edward Masoro, at the University of Texas, pioneered research in the 1990’s, showing that a low-calorie diet switches on a key gene called SIRT1 that controls a network of other genes, which in turn create proteins that protect cells from damage. The idea proposed by more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies working on anti-aging drugs, is that you may one day be able to simply take a pill that switches on SIRT1 in your cells.
One such molecule is resveratrol, produced by grapes and other plants (in Herbactive's AgeLess Tonic). Sirtis Pharmaceuticals, Elixir Pharmaceutical, and about a dozen others are pursuing these kinds of molecular-based anti-aging drugs.
The current old-age record holder is Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who died in 1997 at the age of 122.
What to do to improve your longevity and maintain a younger you
Take the following herbal health tonics on a rotational basis
(Total) Detox Tonic
MoveMore for sluggish bowel movement
ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus - One of the preeminant ways of nurturing your cells and organs is to take the ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus which has over 75 nutri-rich herbs which amounts to over 10,000 organic micro-elements, vitamins, minerals, and bio-nutrients that will help your cells and organs to function more normally and efficently.
Other tonics that may be useful to you:
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
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General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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