HE ANTI-AGING TRILOGY: TELOMERES, STEM CELLS AND CALORIE RESTRICTION
Chev. Stephen Holt, MD, PhD, DSc, LLD(Hon.) DNM, ChB, FRCP (C), MRCP (UK), FACP, FACG, FACN, FACAM, KSJ, Distinguished Professor of Medicine (Emerite), Scientific Advisor to Natural Clinician LLC, Knight and Lieutenant Grand Hospitaller, Holy Order of St. John of Jerusalem
Anti-aging medicine seeks evidence-based proposals to promote longevity. I propose “a trilogy” of interventions that are key targets in the future of anti-aging medicine. These proposals will ultimately supersede current “band aid” anti-aging initiatives such as hormone replacement therapies or standard esthetic interventions. In the last two decades there has been expanding scientific research on the importance of telomere shortening as a biomarker of aging; and a confirmation of the role of calorie restriction in the enhancement of average and maximum lifespan. Stem cell sciences are emerging with promise for the management of chronic disease, new methods for organ production and specific actions on longevity promotion. (1) Calorie restriction (at least 30% below free-feeding levels) causes many positive biological changes in a large range of animal species that have undergone biophysiological testing and longevity assessments. Elucidation of the favorable biochemical or physiological changes that accompany significant levels of calorie restriction has led to the proposal that various pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements could be used to mimic these desirable changes in body structure and functions. This knowledge underpins the concept of “calorie restriction mimetics” which are defined as agents that can reproduce one or more of the principal biological effects of calorie restriction. Nutraceutical technology has created synergistic dietary supplements that contain an array of calorie restriction mimetic compounds. (2) Telomeres are protective DNA caps that are found on the end of linear chromosomes. These caps function to prevent loss or corruption of genetic information during cell division. Telomeres are supported by the enzyme telomerase. Telomere shortening occurs with age, resulting in cell senescence and abnormal chromosome function, with emerging chronic disease e.g. cancer or CVS disease. A natural protocol to provide telomere support has been developed by utilizing lifestyle change, telomere monitoring, diet, meticulous disease management and specific nutraceuticals. Valuable natural substances that support telomeres include: Chinese ginger root, Astraghalus extracts, Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, Vitamin D, Folate, Vitamin B12, Nicotinamide, multivitamins, alpha-tocopherol, N-acetylcysteine, statin compounds and extracts of Gingko biloba. (3) Stem cell treatments can be used to replace diseased or ailing tissues and they may exert a primary role in “anti-aging itself”. Several drugs and pharmaceuticals are known to mobilize adult stem cells. Drugs such as G-CSF, interleukins and other cytokines are used in conventional medical treatments or research to mobilize bone marrow stem cells. Recent research has shown that the use of a combination of several natural agents can effectively mobilize stem cells to a significant degree. In some circumstances, studies imply that stem cell mobilization is more effective with natural agents in combination than it is with certain drugs (G-CSF). Stem cell mobilizing formulations can include: synergistic combinations of oleic acid, linolenic acid, blueberry, blue-green algae (AFA), green tea, fucoidan and Vitamin D3. There are other putative releasers of stem cells that may afford antioxidant protection e.g. fucoxanthin, beet root, spirulina, spinach, Ashwagandha and grape seed extract. There are other obligatory co-factors: e.g. Vitamin B12, Folate etc. The trilogy of anti-aging initiatives that I present is interconnected in a new and exciting jig-saw puzzle of longevity medicine. No other areas of anti-aging science have an evidence base that comes close to the promising sciences of telomeres, stem cells and calorie restriction in this “Anti-Aging Trilogy” for natural clinicians.
Reference: Holt S, The Anti-Aging Trilogy, 2010