Comments on Anti-Aging Products/Trends
By STEPHEN HOLT, M.D.
Natural approaches to anti-aging must take into account the modern theories of aging. There has been a tendency to look for “magic bullets,” but the causes of tissue aging are multi-factorial and the approach to anti-aging must be multi-pronged. Dietary supplements and natural topical agents have become extremely popular in the U.S., but their use is often questioned by conventional medicine. An appropriate argument has emerged that “anti-aging tactics” must be evidence-based and not merely fall into the category of “anti-aging antics.”
In brief, widely accepted theories of aging include oxidative stress, cross-linking of body proteins, altered immunity, changes in genetic codes, stress theories and repair- budget theories. Of all theories of aging, most attention has focused on the free-radical theory of aging where the use of antioxidants appears to be of great potential. The selection of diets that have high ORAC value is emerging as an important nutritional maneuver for anti-aging of all body systems. Focused interventions for anti-aging, such as the use of human growth hormone (HGH) or HGH releasers, and topical antioxidants are merely examples of potential anti-aging “band-aids”.
Evidence that adverse lifestyle accelerates aging is now crystal-clear. However, the investment in “behavior change today for health tomorrow” requires much incentivization. Correction of adverse lifestyle in the U.S. population will do more than any other foreseeable public health initiative. I would prefer to redefine the direction of anti-aging approaches in the dietary supplement industry. Nobody wants to grow old or die. The quest for longevity must be seen as the eradication of common diseases that cause premature disability and death. Combat against these common diseases is the first stage of any anti-aging strategy. I believe that we can redefine the significance of certain chronic disorders in terms of their ability to cause premature aging. The modern epidemics of Syndrome X (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and obesity linked by insulin resistance and excess) and maturity onset diabetes mellitus are among the most important public health initiatives, and they form a common basis for premature aging. It is time to stop focused anti-aging interventions and combat chronic diseases with the first-line options of positive lifestyle change, including the important area of nutrition.
COMPONENTS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE METABOLIC SYNDROME X FUNCTIONAL PROPERTIES OF SYNDROME X NUTRITIONAL FACTORS™
Insulin Resistance Patented oat beta glucan fractions of oat soluble fiber (US patent 6,060,519) may lower blood glucose levels after sugar intake. Diachrome® may assist insulin function.
Abnormal Blood Lipids (cholesterol) Oat beta glucan may reduce blood cholesterol levels (LDL and triglycerides) and may variably increase good cholesterol (HDL). Antioxidants and Diachrome® may exert favorable effects on blood cholesterol.
Obesity Oat beta glucan may make people feel full when taken prior to meals and assist in calorie control. The starch-blocker Phaseolum 2250 (Phase 2) may inhibit sugar absorption.
Hypertension Variable but small reductions in blood pressure result from weight control and lifestyle change in the PLAN!
Oxidative Stress (advanced glycation end products) Antioxidants may be beneficial for health, e.g. bioflavonoids, ellagic acid, anthocyanidins and alpha lipoic acid.
Homocysteine Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid may reduce blood homocysteine levels.
Natures Benefit has embraced the science behind the free-radical theory of aging by producing a quintessential, redox-balanced, powerful antioxidant sold as Ellagic Acid Plus™. This product combines antioxidants that access lipid and water compartments of tissues with antioxidant potential over a comprehensive redox range. The product contains the following ingredients:
Proprietary Ellagic Acid concentrate 100 mg
Lycopene from tomato 0.12% 400 mg
Green tea as a source of polyphenols 200 mg
Grape seed extract containing oligomeric proanthocyanidins and resveratrol 95% 50 mg
Turmeric (curcumin) micronized 200 mg
Selenium amino acid chelate* 70 mcg
Zinc (oxide)** 15 mcg
Other ingredients: Silicon dioxide, rice flour, gelatin and magnesium stearate as delivery.
**Selenium 100% RDI and **Zinc 100% RDI
Osteoporosis is a devastating disease for the mature population. Bone fractures and impairments of skeletal functions occur in elderly people with osteoporosis and they are milestones for loss of quality of life, precipitation of institutionalization and sometimes premature death. Natures Benefit has produced the most complete bone-boosting nutritional supplement on the market with a complex evidence-based formula that contains patented ingredients. Antiporosis™ is part of the “Antiporosis Plan” proposed by Natures Benefit.
The principal boost to the sale of anti-aging products will come from public education where the issues that cause tissue aging become clearly understood. The dietary supplement industry should be able to provide the message that the first-line approaches to anti-aging are rooted in natural medicine which includes change of adverse to positive lifestyle.
Anti-aging dietary supplements represent one of the most attractive segments of the growing interest in the promotion of longevity. The expansion of the elderly population presents a unique commercial opportunity. The category of anti-aging dietary supplement will flourish only in the production of scientific evidence to support nutritional support claims. Aging cannot be considered a disease, but anti-aging claims will face increasing scrutiny from the FDA and FTC, which are given the responsibility of policing deceptive marketing practices. Several anti-aging “products” have made overexuberant claims of benefits. This will hurt the category. Simple clinical outcome research is required to show that dietary supplements may benefit specific aspects of body functions or structure that deteriorate with age. Primary opportunities exist in the areas of failing vision in the elderly, where several nutritional agents can be effective, the development of osteoporosis and its nutritional management by bone-boosting substances, and a nutritional approach to common modern diseases of accelerated aging such as Syndrome X and maturity onset diabetes. Syndrome X has emerged as the most important public health initiative facing Western nations, and a general consensus exists that the first-line option to deal with this constellation of problems may involve nutritional change, behavior modification and the judicious use of dietary supplements. Further developments of products that attack disorders and diseases that cause premature disability and death will build the anti-aging category and the more fickle market for anti-aging “band-aids” will not survive the decade.