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  • alobar

HIGH Dose MSM as Anti-Aging for Arthritis, etc.

        Jim on Coconut oil list has convinced me to start supplementing with MASSIVE amounts of MSM for horses, swished around in my mouth for oral absorption. Dreadful taste! But the older I get, the more my joints complain in cold weather.

       I had stopped taking MSM. Not cheap and it did not do much for me. Jim is 75 and he swears by it. But daily dose need to be far FAR higher than most humans I know could afford if buying capsules. And capsules are just not as effective as putting the powder into one's maw and absorbing it there as well as thru the gut.

       I have been looking around. So far best inexpensive Equine MSM is $18 (plus $10 shipping) for 4 pounds. NOW MSM capsules are on sale at the moment. 240 grams (~½ pound) for $13.


Equine Veterinary Science, September 1983
Reprinted with permission

There is a dearth of scientific literature regarding feed additives and supplements for the horse. One reason is that little work has been done in this area. But, perhaps, a more important reason is that most studies in this area are done by commercial feed companies that wish to guard their secrets.

I believe that when exciting information about new equine feed supplements surfaces, everyone in the horse industry would like to know about it. Therefore, I pass the following information along that was sent to me from Dr. John Metcalf.

John is an equine practitioner in Auburn Washington. He has pioneered the use of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) in horses. Some 20 years ago he was asked by Dr. S.W. Jacob to try this promising drug on horses. Dr. Jacob had been involved in research with the drug in humans. Since then, John has used it on a variety of cases. He has given it IV and tried various concentrations topically.

Now John has another interesting story about a substance chemically similar to DMSO. He was asked to try this substance much in the manner he first tried DMSO years ago. His communique to me is printed below. WEJ

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  • alobar

Reaching for Near Immortality with my Critter Companions!

        I came upon a nice long article which talks about life extension of fruit flies using Rhodiola.  I am assuming similar life extension properties of Rhodiola would benefit humans.

       Website is long and filled with technical detail which do not interest me. Myriad graphs as well. So go to the website if interested.


Extension of Drosophila Lifespan by Rhodiola rosea
through a Mechanism Independent from Dietary Restriction

Samuel E. Schriner, Kevin Lee, Stephanie Truong, Kathyrn T. Salvadora, Steven Maler, Alexander Nam,
Thomas Lee, Mahtab Jafari

Published: May 21, 2013
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063886


Rhodiola rosea has been extensively used to improve physical and mental performance and to protect against stress. We, and others, have reported that R. rosea can extend lifespan in flies, worms, and yeast. However, its molecular mechanism is currently unknown. Here, we tested whether R. rosea might act through a pathway related to dietary restriction (DR) that can extend lifespan in a range of model organisms. While the mechanism of DR itself is also unknown, three molecular pathways have been associated with it: the silent information regulator 2 (SIR2) proteins, insulin and insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS), and the target of rapamycin (TOR). In flies, DR is implemented through a reduction in dietary yeast content. We found that R. rosea extract extended lifespan in both sexes independent of the yeast content in the diet. We also found that the extract extended lifespan when the SIR2, IIS, or TOR pathways were genetically perturbed. Upon examination of water and fat content, we found that R. rosea decreased water content and elevated fat content in both sexes, but did not sensitize flies to desiccation or protect them against starvation. There were some sex-specific differences in response to R. rosea. In female flies, the expression levels of glycolytic genes and dSir2 were down-regulated, and NADH levels were decreased. In males however, R. rosea provided no protection against heat stress and had no effect on the major heat shock protein HSP70 and actually down-regulated the mitochondrial HSP22. Our findings largely rule out an elevated general resistance to stress and DR-related pathways as mechanistic candidates. The latter conclusion is especially relevant given the limited potential for DR to improve human health and lifespan, and presents R. rosea as a potential viable candidate to treat aging and age-related diseases in humans.

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  • alobar

Niacin Beats Statins (which is NO Surprise to ME)

        Below from Doc Saul.

       Even before I got back onto high dose daily Niacin, I would NEVER even consider using statin rugs. Statins are wretched for longevity. I do not want a tombstone which reads
"Death by Doctor".

       Note:  You want the Niacin flush.  Flush free forms of Niacin ain't effective for heart and cholesterol.


This article may be reprinted free of charge provided 1) that there is clear attribution to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, and 2) that both the OMNS free subscription link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and also the OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml are included.


Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 14, 2013

Niacin Beats Statins
Supplements and Diet are Safer, More Effective
by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

(OMNS Nov 14, 2013) Statins for everyone? If media are to be believed, and if the drug industry has its way, the answer is "you bet." The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that kids as young as eight years of age might take statin drugs. Specifically: "As a group, statins have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol in children and adolescents with marked LDL cholesterol elevation . . . when used from 8 weeks to 2 years for children aged 8 to 18 years." http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/Supplement_5/S213.full

Strangely enough, American Academy of Pediatrics projects receive cash from Merck & Co., Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, as well as from Procter and Gamble, Nestlé and other large corporations. http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/corporate-relationships/Pages/Friends-of-Children-Fund-President%27s-Circle.aspx

Statin drugs can produce serious side effects in adults. Such risk is of even more concern for the still-developing bodies of children. Statin side effects may include liver damage; elevated CPK (creatine kinase) and/or muscle pain, aches, and muscle tenderness or weakness (myalgia); drowsiness; myositis (inflammation of the muscles); rare but potentially fatal kidney failure from rhabdomyolysis (severe inflammation of muscle and muscle breakdown); memory loss; mental confusion; personality changes or irritability; headaches; difficulty sleeping, anxiety; depression; chest pain; high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes; acid regurgitation; dry mouth; digestive problems including bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation; nausea and/or vomiting, or abdominal cramping and pain; rash; leg pain; insomnia; eye irritation; tremors; dizziness; and more.

What a list. Well, this is America, and you have the right to remain sick. Evidently you also have the right to be continually bombarded with exhortations to take statins, and to give them to your children as well. Statins for second-graders? Sure! Do you want fries with that? The news media, television commercials, medical schools, and especially the pharmaceutical industry all want you and your family to be good, uncritical, daily consumers of pharmaceutical medicine.

However, you also have the right to refuse drugs, and you have available nutrition-based alternatives. Here are researchers and physicians who say "no" to statins, and their reasons why:

W. Todd Penberthy, PhD (Research Professor, University of Central Florida):

"Niacin raises good cholesterol (HDL) more than any known pharmaceutical, while simultaneously lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and the most pathogenic form of cholesterol-associated lipoprotein (VLDL). Good medical doctors will prescribe niacin for reducing cardiovascular disease risk and provide a description of how to use it. Niacin is frequently the gold standard control used for basic research experiments using animal models of atherosclerosis. In clinical trials, when niacin has been compared to other marketed drugs it has led to most undesirable effects for business, but most therapeutically beneficial effects for the fortunate patients.

"Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more individuals than any other disease. Accordingly, there is tremendous drive in the pharmaceutical industry to make drugs. Merck and Schering Plough convinced doctors to spend 21 billion dollars over seven years selling Zetia (ezetimibe). Ultimately however, clinical trials revealed that Zetia actually increases cardiovascular events, making mean arterial walls thicker. Regular niacin works just as well as prescription extended release niacin, and it costs thirty times less. (Prescribed extended release niacin products cost approximately fifteen dollars a day to obtain 3,000 mg, while plain immediate-release niacin costs about fifty cents. Extended-release niacin causes less of a flush response initially, but with regular usage, regular niacin results in little to no flush at all, while all of the benefits are still maintained. The benefits of niacin for treating CVD are undeniable.

"It is rare that anyone addresses the most important question: "What works best?" It is such a simple question. Instead, too much research today proceeds primarily for profit. We have witnessed the transformation of medical motives from a "health-and-improvement motive" to a "much-increased income motive." The profit machine has ultimately consumed the spirit or focus of many a well-intentioned doctor.

(Above abridged with permission from the foreword to Hoffer A, Saul AW and Foster HD. Niacin: The Real Story. Basic Health Pub, 2011.)

Robert G. Smith, PhD (Research Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania):

"Although statins can lower cholesterol, they lower the risk for heart disease mainly through their anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects. However, statins have many side effects, some very serious, and for most people do not greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Niacin is a much safer way to lower cholesterol. A much more effective treatment to prevent heart disease is vitamin C taken to bowel tolerance (3,000-10,000 mg/day in divided doses), vitamin E (400-1600 IU/day), niacin (800-2,000 mg/day in divided doses), magnesium (chelate, citrate, malate, chloride, 300-600 mg/day, divided doses), along with an excellent diet that includes generous servings of leafy green vegetables and only moderate amounts of meat."

Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD (Cardiologist):

"The lower your cholesterol goes, the greater your risk of cancer, as cholesterol is a protective agent against toxins. Efforts to lessen the chances of morbidity and mortality of one major disease (coronary artery disease) should not substantially increase the chances of morbidity and mortality from another disease (cancer)."

Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD (in Niacin: The Real Story):

"Niacin is effective in decreasing the death rate of patients with cancer by protecting cells and tissues from damage by toxic molecules or free radicals. In the body, niacin is converted to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), used by the body to catalyze the formation of ADP-ribose.

"When the long chains of DNA are damaged, poly (ADPribose) helps repair it by unwinding the damaged protein. Poly (ADPribose) also increases the activity of DNA ligase. This enzyme cuts off the damaged strands of DNA and increases the ability of the cell to repair itself after exposure to carcinogens."

Ralph Campbell, MD (Montana, USA):

"You have likely heard about the conclusions from Cleveland Clinic gathering of heart specialists. Their objective was to zoom in on LDL levels as they relate (directly to heart disease. No mention of LDL/HDL ratio or of triglyceride levels. Again, niacin got very little recognition. Statins have some side effects that are serious, including rhabdomyolisis and kidney failure. The panel was made up of many with financial ties to industry, but "it is practically impossible to find a large group of outside experts who have no relationship to industry." This was followed (yes, actually) by stating the new guidelines are based on solid evidence and that the public should trust them."

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND (in The Magnesium Miracle):

"The mineral magnesium is the natural way that the body has evolved to control cholesterol when it reaches a certain level, whereas statin drugs are used to destroy the whole process. If sufficient magnesium is present in the body, cholesterol will be limited to its necessary functions - the production of hormones and the maintenance of membranes - and will not be produced in excess."

Jorge Miranda, PharmD (Puerto Rico):

"Statin drugs are one of my favorite examples of a sickening drug. A fixation on cholesterol fails to address the importance of correcting the excessive oxidation of LDL, and fails to recognize the importance of correcting many other contributing risk factors such as homocysteine, LPa, and CRP. It is important to recognize that the reason we form cholesterol is because its needed to form membrane, the eye's lens, hormones and many other molecules including CoQ10. Decreasing cholesterol decreases CoQ10, which means less energy for a multitude of functions. The result can be neurologic disease and even cancer."

William B. Grant, PhD SUNARC:

"Statin use reduces co-Q10 concentrations and leads to myopathy (muscle weakness), which can lead to heart failure. Those taking statins should be aware of this problem and consider taking co-Q10 supplements."

Damien Downing, MBBS, MSB (United Kingdom):

"Statins overall succeed in reducing the risk of coronary events by about 17% - but that isrelative risk. Taking a statin each day actually lowers ones chance of an event by about 0.16% - that is the absolute risk. But these figures are not lives saved; recent meta-analysis found only a non-significant reduction in mortality of 7 per 10,000 patient-years, or 0.07%. The difference between statins' effects on relative risk and absolute risk is about two orders of magnitude. Just ask any man in the street whether a reduction of 0.16% in the risk of a coronary event is "significant" to him, and whether it warrants him taking statins. Unpleasant muscular side-effects occur in up to 10% of statin-takers, which may rise to 25% if the person exercises; this is unhelpful to anybody seeking to improve their cardiovascular health. But because the primary threshold for acceptance under "evidence-based medicine" is statistical significance, we are to accept that the benefit of statins has been proven. Data on worldwide sales of statins currently run at approximately US $30 billion per year."

Perhaps this helps explain the massive media blitz favoring statins. But drugs are not the answer, unless you are a drug company.

To Learn More:

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  • alobar

31 Rhodiola Posts

       The community is very very quiet these days. Below is a list of links to my LJ regarding Rhodiola. Not all the posts pertain specifically to life extension, but they all point to long-term survival, vitality, and dealing with stress.

       Over the past half month, Rhodiola has made my life far easier and I have far more vitality.

        I gathered together all the LJ posts I made about Rhodiola over the years. Some contain material from various websites delineating it's many many uses, while other posts are my own observations from my own use of Rhodiola in this month.

       In some ways I feel like Ponce De Leon and the Fountain of Youth. 

       When I was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2001, I began seeking some kind of magic bullet which would cure me. Along the way, I discovered life extension supplements, which tied into diabetes control.

        I began posting interesting material about Rhodiola back in 2009, but did not begin taking it until this month.

       The more I use it and the more research I do, the more things it is useful for.

       I am not saying Rhodiola is a magic bullet good for everything, BUT it appears to be such a useful supplement for so many MANY things, that I can't give a quick summation of uses and benefits in a paragraph or three.

       Hence this post.

31 Rhodiola posts


Russian immortalists wish to take part in Davos Debates.

YouTube and the World Economic Forum are opening the doors to Davos to provide unique access for an individual to elevate a worthy and important cause. 'The Davos Debates' are an opportunity to engage and debate with the world's leaders, and join them on stage for a special panel to help pitch your cause to the world. Russian immortalistsScience for Life Extension») wish to take part in this project.
Our video.
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  • alobar

Glutathione Snippets from Coconut Oil List

        Below are the many snippets I harvested from coconut oil list in response to my earlier post tonight, The Vital Key to Maximum Antioxidant Activity is Glutathione.


Deb & Laurie, the rate-limiting factor for glutathione production is cysteine, not in free form which is toxic, but delivered to the cells bonded to another amino acid, such as in the form of cystine or selenocysteine.
Undenatured whey is the best source of bonded cysteine. A method to tell wheys apart based on their glutathione precursors is at the bottom of this page:
 <http://tinyurl.com/whey-page >

Glutamine and glycine are also used in glutathione production but are not in short supply in the modern diet. The glutamine is more likely used to feed the bowel lining. Both glutamine and glycine also occur in the whey.

Selenium is also used but be aware that some highly touted sources like Brazil Nuts may contain no selenium at all unless they are grown in Brazil as opposed to Central America.

Undenatured whey is assimilated almost without digestion so it's a very good protein choice for the very young, the very old, and those with compromized digestion.

The blood work missed by Alobar has been done in many other humans and manmmals; the references are full of this kind of work and the merit of the undenatured whey approach has been established for about 10 years. For example, see the peer-reviewed cancer cures that used whey in the first few links here:

all good,


  You want naturally balanced proteins.  Your best sources would be fresh eggs or sprouted wheat.  Actually I would recommend a combination of both.

That way you not only get the specific things you are looking for, you also get all the added nutrition that nature put in there.  Eating natural foods does more to balance body chemistry than any man made, or processed, substance.
Nature understands nature, man does not.  Supplement sales people hate me, but the truth is the truth. 

Layne, you oughta like this then; the truth is that when the rate-limiting bonded cysteine is not in balance you don't have enough glutathione for optimal health.


No other food increases glutathione like undenatured whey, and naturally balanced proteins are not part of a glutathione discussion because they are too low in bonded cysteine to be useful glutathione promoters.
The truth is the truth on glutathione production. Data here:

all good,


Layne, I wrote that all people who lived to be 100 who had blood drawn had above normal glutathione levels.
I agree with whole foods but sometimes you need a purified one. If you don't want to believe in supplements you wouldn't be unique, but I think the data speaks for itself on elevating glutathione levels. 


So? were all those people who lived to be 100 taking whey protein isolate from now foods or somalife, or etc?  I don't think so.

In fact, those people living in the blue zone to over 100 years in Costa Rica sure don't look like they could afford to buy whey protein. So what is their secret for living active lives beyond 100? Can't be whey protein. Josephine 


The key to long life is keeping high glutathione levels.  It does not much matter if one does it thru diet, good genes, or supplements. Eat well for a year, then get your glutathione levels checked (see below info). If they are not high enough, take supplements, if you want to live a long life.

Testing for a Glutathione Deficiency?
There is no one test that demonstrates a glutathione deficiency with 100% accuracy. But there are some good tests that your doctor can order that will provide important clues if there is a deficiency, methylation dysfunction, or inability to detoxification.
Some tests available today are:
* Genova Diagnostics, Test: Plasma Sulfate & Plasma Cysteine; Test Type: Blood test.

Integrative Genomics, Test: Enhanced Basic Panel; Test type: Swab of the mouth.

These test kits are ordered by your doctor and via prescription only. For my family, the test results have been accurate and helped provide important clues for treatment protocols that have significantly helped my son.



Josephine, let me explain: people over 100 occur naturally as one in three thousand or so, just as a guess for argument; we'll revise that if we have to. You have the same 1:3000 chance of hitting 100 years old without the undenatured whey, as some of the tribes of primitive people you mentioned who also do not use whey powder.
From WIKI: "Much rarer, a supercentenarian is a person who has lived to the age of 110 or more, something only achieved by about one in a thousand centenarians. Even rarer yet is a person who has lived to 115 years old; only 1 in 100,000 centenarians make it to this age."

While some people, like you perhaps, HOPE to hit 100, others KNOW they have a better chance of BEING one of those people. Since NOBODY in the lower glutathione group sees their 100th birthday, we'll increase glutathione thank-you.

Undenatured whey is an anti-aging tool anyway, well supported by facts and use. A read of titles such as glutathione in aging, in brain function and in cancer treatment would be an eye-opener; I have many of those titles in my glutathione references:

The anti-aging doctors say in order to age well, don't get sick. Glutathione helps to prevent one from getting sick, as it forms the seat of immune response. I take the whey because ensuring high glutathione is more proactive for health and age management than simply holding out the hope that I would be in the 1:3000 lucky ones.


Do you have any evidence that "NOBODY in the lower glutathione group sees their 100th birthday"? 


  Emma, from a Google on centenarians glutathione: "...centenarians exhibit a high activity of glutathione reductase in red blood cells. In this study, those centenarians having the best cognitive and physical functional capacity tended to have the highest activity of this enzyme.[6]"

...among several other cites from the WIKI given as listing #4.

Good enough for me, but the search turned up lot more on the subject.


  "in comparison with young healthy female adults the centenarians had significantly higher red blood cell glutathione reductase and catalase activities and higher, although insignificantly, serum vitamin E level."
"The range of Glutathione Reductase activity was shifted toward higher values in the centenarian group than in the younger (age 60-79)group and those centenarians having the best functional capacity tended to have the highest GR activity"

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  • alobar

R-Dihydro-Lipoic Acid: The Optimal Form of Lipoic Acid

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  • alobar

The Vital Key to Maximum Antioxidant Activity is Glutathione

        Some people on the coconut oil list get upset because Duncan posts about whey so much.   As a list moderator on the Coconut oil list, I have absolutely no problem with Duncan's posts.  People who live very long lives all have one thing in common.  Those who make it past 100 all have high glutathione levels.    Since I want to live forever, keeping my glutathione levels much higher than people my age is important to me.    

        No guarantee I shall live forever.  But as Robert Anton Wilson used to say, "I will live forever or die trying."  Now I met Bob several times.   He sure did not seem to be doing much to live forever.  He smoked, scoffed at people who exercised, and seemed rather frail.   Not faulting Bob.   We each do what we consider to be important.   My "trying" includes lots of Whey protein isolate, omega 3 fish oils, very high vitamin D3, vitamin C to bowel tolerance, Selenium, Benfotiamine, and many other supplements.   No idea if I will make it past 150 with my current regime, but I figure the more discussion I can promote about glutathione, the more info I can learn from.

        So I thought I would get some more discussion going on the list.   I posted the article below from Natural News.   That generated some discussions which I will post later tonight.


The Vital Key to Maximum Antioxidant Activity is Glutathione
Monday, September 28, 2009
by: Paul Fassa, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) What if you were told you weren`t getting enough cellular oxidation or free radical protection, despite consuming all the high antioxidant foods and some of the best antioxidant supplements available? Would you wonder how that could be, or would you simply ignore it? Don`t ignore it, read on. How it could be, according to many health experts, is that your glutathione levels are too low. This is a very common situation with all the oxidation stress our toxic environment provides, along with a little help from our own personal stress.

Why Are Antioxidants Necessary?

Oxidation occurs on a cellular level during the body`s efforts to produce energy and fortify cells metabolizing oxygen. The oxygen atoms or molecules that are not fully absorbed become free radicals, unstable atoms missing an electron, which begin robbing cells of electrons to balance and stabilize themselves. Then the atoms robbed of an electron become free radicals and continue the oxidation process, robbing electrons as needed from other sources.

A chain reaction occurs. This changes the identity and function of those atoms as they combine in unnatural ways, leading to cellular and DNA damage. And eventually, of course myriad health issues and disease will breed freely. It is the downside of oxygen, similar to the way metal becomes rusty with exposure to air. We can`t stop breathing, so there will be some free radicals loose from just that.

Moreover, the air we breathe is loaded with toxins and heavy metals (www.naturalnews.com/026258.html) as well as in many of the foods we eat (www.naturalnews.com/026216.html), and any pharmaceuticals that may have been taken. All of these create more free radicals while burdening our bodies with toxic material. Add this to the immune system`s damage from psychological stress with our modern lifestyle and the madness around us. Well then, it is amazing that many of us are still walking and talking!

But we need as much protection from all this to be able to walk and talk better and longer and stay out of hospitals in the meantime. So whatever can neutralize the free radical oxidation process while eliminating toxins is necessary. Enter antioxidants, including the most overlooked yet most important one of them all: glutathione, the key to maximum oxidation protection and detoxification while creating a strong immune system.

Some Glutathione Details

It has been called the master antioxidant. It is an intracellular antioxidant essential for for maximum antioxidant activity from all other antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, CoQ10, and all the blueberries you can eat. It removes toxins from cells, and protects against radiation.

But there is a catch. Buying anything that says it is glutathione is a waste of pill popping money. The body`s digestive system is very poor at taking glutathione into where it needs to go. Take heart, there are other ways to boost the body`s glutathione, which are disclosed later in this article.

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  • alobar

Insulin, Leptin, Diabetes, and Aging: Not So Strange Bedfellows

        I discovered this article on leptin, diabetes, and aging on google just now.


Ron Rosedale, MD
13 January 2008

Ron Rosedale, M.D., is an internationally renowned expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine and a specialist in the biology of aging. Dr. Rosedale has helped thousands suffering from so-called incurable diseases regain their health. He is the author of the recent books, The Rosedale Diet, and Insulin and its Metabolic Effects. He is currently chief medical officer at Advanced Metabolic Laboratories in collaboration with the University of Colorado and lives in Denver, CO.

To successfully treat any disease, one must know what disease to treat. Treating only a symptom of the disease will leave the underlying disease unchecked and possibly worse. For example, we evolved the "runny" nose to help us clean out upper respiratory infections. So taking a decongestant to eradicate the symptom of a "runny" nose is actually counterproductive for the underlying disease.

Symptoms are the way that evolution has taught us to deal with disease. What are normally called diseases - heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and cancer - are all chronic symptoms of aging. The biology of aging is teaching us that aging itself, though not curable, is treatable.

If you are not treating aging, you are treating a symptom, and you do not know if the treatment will be worse than the "disease" that you are trying to treat. It matters very little if 10 studies show that a drug improves risk for heart disease if it also increases risk for cancer or other diseases of aging. What you really need to know is its effect on mortality rate and, therefore, aging.

Cultivating Longevity

Much of what we know about longevity is derived from studies of humans and animals who have broken the age barrier for their species. The longest lived flies may survive only a few days, mice a couple of years, and dogs for one or two decades, depending on their size. Humans currently have the potential to live at least 120 years, but few actually do. The average life expectancy today is around 80 years, which is impressive but nowhere near our full potential.

Growing in ranks, yet still few in number, are the exceptional group of people who live to be 100 years old and more. Scattered throughout the world, these centenarians are providing scientists with a living laboratory from which they can unravel the secrets of longevity. If we can figure out why these folks managed to live so long, we can use this information to extend the life span for everyone.

It would be easy to dismiss longevity merely as a function of luck, that is, simply a matter of winning the genetic lottery, but we know that this isn't exactly true. That's a good thing, for it means that we may be able to control our own destiny. We have been controlling the longevity destiny of laboratory animals for decades.

Laboratory animals put on calorie-restricted, nutritionally complete diets provide an equally rich source of information on longevity. Since the 1930s, dozens of species have been fed calorie-restricted diets, including microscopic tiny worms, assorted rodents, and more recently, rhesus monkeys - fellow primates that are closely related to humans. These animals virtually always live longer than normal - 30 to 300 percent. Assuming a "normal" human lifespan of 80 years, this would be the equivalent of a human living to be 104 to 240 years old.

Of Mice and Men

At first glance, human centenarians would appear to have very little in common with calorie-restricted animals. After all, humans can eat what they want when they want, and many centenarians did just that. There is no evidence that centenarians followed a particular diet or even had particularly healthy life styles. Some centenarians smoked, some did not; some exercised regularly, some did not; and some were careful eaters, and some ate whatever they felt like.

Despite the obvious differences, there are some striking similarities between caloric-restricted laboratory animals and free-living centenarians. Centenarians and calorie-restricted animals share a particular bio-metabolic profile that distinguishes them from their peers who die younger and sicker. We now know the common denominators that are found in almost all living beings - whether they are worms, mice, monkeys or humans - that defy the odds and live beyond their expected life span. In nearly every study, the longest lived animals share the following traits:

  • Low fasting insulin levels
  • Reduction in fasting glucose
  • Lower body temperature
  • Low percentage of body (visceral) fat
  • Reduced thyroid levels
  • Low triglycerides
  • Low fasting leptin levels (Leptin is so new that it has only recently been measured in centenarians, but it has been measured in calorie-restricted animals. Since leptin correlates with and even controls these other biomarkers in humans, this is also probably true in centenarians.)

Why are these factors shared among long-lived individuals in all species? Read more...Collapse )

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