Paradigm for Approaching the Achievement of Longevity
I will cover a lot of ground here today and we will be skimming the surface. Every topic we hit on could be made into a full hour presentation.
My clinic in Santa Rosa is “The Anti-aging Medicine Clinic” however it is a misnomer. Short of starving yourself by calorie restriction, there may be no method of anti-aging. I could be more truthful and rename my clinic the Anti-dying Medical Clinic, and there are real possibilities for that approach.
There is a difference between longevity medicine and anti-aging medicine. Avoiding death is longevity medicine. Starving yourself is maybe anti-aging medicine and there may be other methods.
Nature has a plan for you. The plan is to put you in the ground in a timely fashion. However, from your point of view it is not such a good plan.
Living long has a lot to do with a good defense. First we will get to know the enemy.
A paradigm is a lens through which a reality is created. If increasing life-span is possible, first we must believe it is possible. A Longevity Paradigm brings this belief into focus. Without such a paradigm the conversation devolves into fatalism.
Do you expect to be in good shape – strong, productive, creative – far past 100? If you do not have these expectations, then you are not in the game, and that is OK, but having a game to play makes life interesting and the absence of a game to play produces depression and apathy.
OK, so if you have the Paradigm of Longevity and you are in the Game of Longevity; now you need a Winning Game Plan.
If you have a game, you need competition. I want the best possible competition, so I choose Jeanne Calment born 1875 – deceased 1997). 1875 to 1997, the longest confirmed human life span in history, living 122 years, 164 days. Born in Arles, France, Jeanne outlived her closest date-confirmed competitor by eight years. That outstrips the competition like someone running an 8 second 100 meters or winning the Superbowl by 100 points.
At 85, she took up fencing, at 100 she was still riding a bicycle. She was neither athletic, nor fanatical about her health. Jeanne lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when she moved to a nursing home after a cooking accident started a small fire in her flat. However, Jeanne was still in good shape, and was able to walk until she fractured her femur in a fall at age 114 which required surgery. After her operation, Jeanne used a wheelchair. She weighed 99 lb in 1994 at age 121. Jeanne became ill with influenza shortly before her 116th birthday but recovered nicely. She smoked from the age of 21 until the age of 117, only five years before her death, though it was said she smoked no more than two cigarettes per day. I presume she rolled her own.
Jeanne ascribed her longevity and youthful appearance to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, AND regular consumption of port wine, AND one kilo of chocolate which she ate every week. I can tell you, one kilo of chocolate in one week is not easy.
There are several things to be learned from Jeanne Calmet’s life. There is the old smart-alec saying “choose your parents well.” I discount inheritance. I believe the body is designed to live long, but that it also needs proper support to realize its potential. So while Jeanne’s parents lived into their 80s and 90s their contribution to Jeanne was probably in the realm of knowledge, attitudes and habits.
Here are a few quotes from Jeanne to illustrate her sharp mind and personality.
“I’ve waited 110 years to be famous, I count on taking advantage of it.”
On her 120th birthday, when asked what kind of future she expected, she replied “A very short one.”
Getting used to growing media attention with every year that passed, she quipped: “I wait for death… and journalists.”
Rebuking an interviewer about memory issues at age 117 she said “When you’re 117, you see if you remember everything!”
All the people of Arles gathered around their “Jeanne D’Arles” on her birthday each year. In one of these parties, somebody took leave by telling her, “Until next year, perhaps,” and she retorted: “I don’t see why not! You don’t look so bad to me.”
Is life valuable? Is it worth living? Is it worth living long? How do you see life in the context of age? Does life become more valuable with age, or less valuable? These are critically important questions which each person either considers consciously or lives out in an unconscious fashion.
Without a wide-awake careful consideration of these questions one is likely to fall victim to Freud’s “death instinct.” As Siggy was sucking on his cigars, giving himself throat cancer from which he would die in 1939, he noticed that other people were busy doing things which brought on early death. By the way, the German word for Irony is the same: Ironie.
If one believes life to be worthless, life – or at least aliveness – will soon cease to exist and the Death Instinct will take over in the context of fatalism. Depression does not kill immediately, but takes away the experience of being fully alive.
Therefore, a Philosophy of Life is critically important to living, aliveness, and to longevity. We all make up truths in which to believe. It is the choice of these truths which makes the difference. In the ultimate sense, there may be no absolute truth. Nevertheless, you will make up something in which to believe. By the power of your own choices you create your life. As Doc Brown said in Back To The Future, “…your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So, make it a good one…”
If you do not learn rudimentary facts like, for example, cigar smoking can lead to throat cancer, then you may die early with a good attitude, but die early anyway. EDUCATION is the most important ingredient to living long and encouraging your patients to educate themselves – continuously – is the most important contribution you can make to their health.
Are you are in school and want to live long? Stay in school as long as you can. Even more important, continue to educate yourself throughout life.
Without the development of healthy habits, health and long-term survival is simply impossible. We sleep, eat, brush, wash, all in the context of habits. If you have not the habit of brushing your teeth, you will not have your teeth for long. Other organs also require habitual care.
So habits cut both way. Some habits keep you alive and healthy. Other habits kill you. As to those kinds of habits, its not what you do which kills you…
It’s what you do every day which kills you.
Or keeps you alive and well.
To have a chance for longevity, negative habits must be ditched and healthy habits developed. Habits are developed by association. If you have a problem remembering to take your vitamins, set your vitamins beside your toothbrush, for example. If you have a problem remembering to exercise before you eat, place your exercycle so that you have to walk around it to get to your refrigerator – again, FOR EXAMPLE.
So, what exactly is aging? The laws of physics offer us a possible answer. Entropy is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy is a measure of energy which escapes in the form or heat. This energy is thus not available for doing work. Our local star is the most obvious example of entropy at work, AND it is scheduled to die.
Therefore, it could be said that you, as a warm-blooded creature, exude entropy – that is heat not available for work. Thermal energy always flows spontaneously from regions of higher temperature to regions of lower temperature, in the form of heat.
Entropy reduces the state of order in a system, and leaves in its wake disorder. Biological entropy is a reasonable explanation for some of the changes of aging if the body is conceived of as a machine which wears out with use over time. Perhaps a slightly lower body temperature is conducive to longevity. As long as a patient feels well, I do not worry about low body temperature in a range down to 96 degrees. In most people this is one of those rare favorable changes of aging.
Few people – perhaps no one – lives to demonstrate the date nature intends for us to expire. Dying of old age should happen in this manner: terrific vitality, productive activity, learning and growing until perhaps 2 weeks before death. Then sudden decline and a peaceful exit, maybe in your sleep. After that we all sing your praises for a life well lived, then we somehow get your body out of sight. That is the goal of the Longevity Game, the “touchdown” if you will.
Entropy wins, but at a very late date.
This is one Wyatt Earp, at ages 21 and 71. Here is biological entropy. The aged body can be conceived of as more disorganized and entropy explains this progressive disorganization.
There are examples of immortal cells, namely Sertoli cells, granulosa cells and cancer cells. Cancer cells are apparently genetically immortal and live until you hit them with a chemical, immunological or radiological hammer of some sort or the host dies. They divide but never die, so the number of cells grows out of control. By this mechanism they behave as stupid parasites killing their source of nutrition.
So, here is the problem with immortality. If you could achieve it, what would you do with all the extra cells? There is simply no way of maintaining order unless cells die or stop dividing. You could say this is also true with human populations. If no one died, soon we would have a real population problem unless there were no new babies. Sertoli cells and granulosa cells solve this problem by throwing off their progeny and then reappear in the next generation. However cancer cells have no equivalent mechanism. Immortality presents problems, at the cellular level and in the human population, to which I cannot imagine a solution.
Dodging the Threats to Life
Obviously to live long one must avoid dying young. Let’s take a look at how people manage to die, some at an early age. If longevity is a game here are the players on the other team. According to the National Vital Statistics Reports May, 2010 here are the fifteen leading causes of death in the U.S. To make this real and personal, with each one I will show you a celebrity who either died of that disorder or has that disorder.
The heart – here is the big one, so if you are going to pay attention to preventing disease of only one kind, this is it.
#1 Heart Disease, Here is the wonderful comedian John Candy who died of heart attack at age 43.
#2 Cancer, Steve McQueen and John Wayne, 50 and 72
#3 Stroke, Richard Nixon, 81
#4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: COPD and emphysema, Johnny Carson. In his case emphysema, a very painful way to go, 79
#5 Accidents, Princess Diana, died at 36
#6 Alzheimer’s, President Reagan, died at 93
#7 Diabetes mellitus, Jackie Gleason, died at 71
#8 Influenza and pneumonia, Pope John Paul II, died at 84
#9 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, Alfred Hitchcock, died at 80
#10, Septicemia, Anna Nicole Smith, died at 39
#11 Suicide, Earnest Hemingway, died at 57
#12 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, Pamela Anderson, 43 still living
#13 Essential hypertension & hypertensive renal disease, Sandra Dee, died at 62
#14 Parkinson’s disease – Muhammed Ali, still living at 70
#15 Homicide – Nicole Simpson, died at 35
The following negative habits tend to make accidents less likely.
It could be argued that wearing seat belts, driving safely, avoiding motorcycle riding, staying out of small planes, not bungee jumping, and no sky diving or hang glider would tend to prevent accidents. So avoiding all this could help avoid accidents. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you are at risk if you let your need for thrills affect your activities. If you have to have your adrenalin fix, find a roller coaster and ride it often. They are comparatively safe.
OK, here is the big one. If you are going to do only one thing to live long, here it is: DAILY exercise. Exercise is the most potent method of health promotion and disease prevention. But first a distinction. If it’s easy, it is not exercise. This is activity and activity is vitally important, but it is not exercise. How do we know this? Look at that big smile. Real exercise does not have such a pleasant look. Activity is very important and without it you die, but it is not exercise. Exercise hurts and really beneficial exercise REALLY hurts a lot – but it does not have to hurt for long.
It has long been apparent to me that the exercise revolution in America, beginning in the 1960s with long distance running has been rather unscientific and driven by hunches rather than actual science. After running marathons at ages 27 and 36, I took both of those occasions to look at my physical condition and realized this type of exercise is not designed for health and vitality but for some kind of body image disorder.
This is Jim Fixx, the running guru of the early 80s, author of The Complete Book of Running. Jim died while running at the age of 52 in 1983. You can’t tell me that exercise which almost kills you makes you live longer. So realizing all this, I became an intense runner rather than a long-distance runner. Until age 50 I was able to stay in peak condition with 20 minutes intense running daily. I knew intuitively that maximal exertion for a short period resulted in better conditioning. However, what I did not take into account was the fact that each time a runner’s heal hits the ground a 1500 pound shockwave of pressure travels up the lower limbs and straight up the vertebral column to the base of the skull. So while my heart loved it, my intervertebral disc structure did not love it and by age 50 I had damaged my back and could no longer run for exercise due to back pain.
This is the Schwinn Aerdyne. If you watch NFL football, you will see these on the sideline during games. So, I found the Schwinn Aerdyne exercise bike and did my 20 minutes of do-or-die exercise on that every day. 18 years later along came Al Sears with his book PACE, which stands for Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion. Sears points out that in evolutionary development it is unlikely that we were often required to run 26 miles or even for 20 minutes, but rather we were called on for maximal exertion for very short periods of time, something like 30 seconds up to two minutes. After that much time we had either killed whatever we were chasing or we had escaped from whatever was chasing us – or maybe not escaped and lost out in the reproduction lottery. The survivors were selected for their ability to put out energy in short bursts.
I concur with Sears in most of what he proposes. So, here, in a nutshell is what Sears has to say. At least three times per week go through three or more cycles of intense exertion followed by recovery periods. The exertion should accelerate the heart to 80% of it’s maximum rate – which is calculated as 220 minus age. This exertion should last until it is no longer possible to sustain at maximum. The recovery period should be long enough to “reset,” that is you are no longer struggling to catch your breath and you feel ready to go again. At that point your pulse rate will be well above the resting rate, but below your 80% of maximum. Then you repeat – you go again, same procedure, same duration, You recover and repeat and go through this cycle 3-5 times. Unless you begin this program already in peak condition, you are to increase the duration of exertion – up to a low number such as perhaps 60 seconds and/or increase the number of cycles.
So, let me give you an example – MY OWN ROUTINE, HOW I DO IT.
My resting pulse varies from 45 – 60, so from that you know that either I am a well trained athlete, or I have a heart rhythm problem. My maximum expected heart rate, age-adjusted is 153. Now in reality 168 is my actual measured maximal heart rate, so I am aiming at achieving 80% of that figure. Therefore at the end of a set of PACE exertions I should be doing something around 134. Here is how I do it. This is my routine which I carry out at least three times per week and alternate with weight lifting and 20 minute periods of intense cycling on the other days.
45 seconds maximal exertion
2 minutes rest and recovery
45 seconds maximal exertion
2 minutes rest and recovery
45 seconds maximal exertion
rest and recovery – about 10 minutes
So, I spend a total of 2 minutes and 15 seconds of exertion in my work-out and approximately 14 minutes in rest and recover. That’s it. I am done. It is painful, but I know it will soon be over. I hate pain, but I hate spending time exercising when I could be spending that time other ways. Anyway, I can put up with any degree of pain for 45 seconds. Unless you are already a well-trained athlete, you will not begin like this, however this is where you can be after, perhaps, 6 weeks or 6 months.
How does this relate to longevity? A review of the Framingham Heart Study reveals that the maximum volume you can exhale in one breath, your vital capacity, is the single best predictor of how much longer you will live. PACE increases vital capacity, so this type of exercise is the best move you can make to increase your life span. In addition, exercise in general gives statistical protection from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, benefits hypertension, lowers the incidence of infections, even lowers the incidence of suicide by relieving depression, and on top of it all makes you look good, feel good, and gives you sex appeal. And we could all use some sex appeal.
OK, onward to diet. If you are going to do only two things to prolong life, the second one after exercise would be food selection. What to eat to stay alive longer? Given that diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer are in the seven most common causes of death, it only makes sense to design food selection around preventing these illnesses. But how? Forget for a moment WHAT you eat and consider HOW MUCH you eat. Our culture emphasizes quantity, and too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. When you go to an American restaurant you are served such a quantity of food you need a vacuum cleaner to finish it all. Now, once you refrain from consuming mass quantities, what is best to eat? This depends on your individual physiology, but a few generalizations are possible. In general grains are high glycemic index foods and predispose to the development of diabetes. Wheat especially is a problem for most people as the gluten provokes allergy or at least produces excess mucus and in some cases provokes inflammatory bowel disease. Grains are best avoided, but there is a problem – generally they are delicious. The problem with commercial beef is that it is loaded with unnatural levels of fat as well as antibiotics hormones to increase growth. Until dairy farmers begin exercising cows on daily runs to and from the gym and stop with the chemicals, the ideal meat is wild game – a little hard to come by, but not out of reach. I advise against ALL sea food due to mercury content and you can get your natural oils from flax and olive oil. Wild turkey is probably the ideal protein choice as it contains large amounts of arginine which converts to nitric oxide and this protects the vascular intima. And, of course, your mother was right, eat your COLORED vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit. And, naturally, choose organic foods when possible.
In perhaps 2% of the population genetically modified food provokes an illness similar to a bad case of influenza. Add to this the fact that the natural food industry has recently caved in to Monsanto and agreed to sell non-labeled GMO foods and we are going to begin to see many more cases of these very ill people.
Veganism and raw foodism may be right for some and while I do not subscribe to eating according to blood type, or social security number, I am convinced there is no one style of diet right for everyone. Fats and proteins are necessary and not evil in and of themselves and animal sources of those items are OK for most people, although excess in all things is to be avoided. If your blood chemistries are acceptable and you feel well on the diet you are on, why mess with a good thing? I should add that RAW FOOD VEGANISM can be used therapeutically in difficult cases of hypertension, usually with good results. Although, let’s face it, it is easier to get a patient to take meds regularly than to become a raw foodist for life.
Important evidence for the link between blood viscosity and cardiovascular events was provided by the Edinburgh Artery Study published in 1991 in a random population of 1,592 men and women aged 55 to 74 years, followed over a period of 5 years. After adjustment for age and gender, mean values for both blood viscosity and hematocrit-adjusted blood viscosity were elevated in patients who experienced heart attacks and strokes relative to those who did not. The link between blood viscosity and the occurrence of cardiovascular events was at least as strong as that of diastolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and stronger than that of smoking.  LSU pathologist Gregory Sloop has proposed that blood viscosity is the one unifying mechanism by which all established cardiovascular risk factors promote atherosclerosis . Numerous studies have confirmed the linkages between blood viscosity and:
Hyperlipidema: positive correlation with LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides
Diabetes, insulin resistance syndrome and obesity [12,14-18] Tobacco smoking [6,19-21] Male gender vs. premenopausal women [12-13,22-23] Aging [12,21,24]
And Negative correlation with HDL cholesterol [7-13]
So, to summarize, if you are an aging male who smokes and has hypertension as well as diabetes and elevated LDL and triglycerides, better take some medical action OR update your will, pay up your life insurance and a nice little piece of land on the rolling hills of Eternity Gardens, get right with God and kiss your ass goodbye.
So, how to guard against elevated blood viscosity? Simple. Stay hydrated and take Vitamin E, at least 800 IU daily of natural Vit. E. Also, enzymes such as Nattokinase and Lumbrokinase are very useful in treatment and prevention of hyperviscosisty.
To learn more, visit www.thebloodclinic.com.
1. Lowe GD, Lee AJ, Rumley A, et al. Blood viscosity and risk of cardiovascular events: the Edinburgh Artery Study. Br J Haematol 1997; 96:168-173.
2. Sloop GD. A unifying theory of atherogenesis. Med Hypotheses. 1996; 47:321-5
3. Smith WC, Lowe GD, et al. Rheological determinants of blood pressure in a Scottish adult population. J Hypertens 1992; 10:467-72.
4. Letcher RL, Chien S, et al. Direct relationship between blood pressure and blood viscosity in normal and hypertensive subjects. Role of fibrinogen and concentration. Am J Med 1981; 70:1195-1202.
5. Devereux RB, Case DB, Alderman MH, et al. Possible role of increased blood viscosity in the hemodynamics of systemic hypertension. Am J Cardiol 2000; 85:1265-1268.
6. Levenson J, Simon AC, Cambien FA, Beretti C. Cigarette smoking and hypertension. Factors independently associated with blood hyperviscosity and arterial rigidity. Arteriosclerosis 1987; 7:572-577.
7. Sloop GD, Garber DW. The effects of low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein on blood viscosity correlate with their association with risk of atherosclerosis in humans. Clin Sci 1997; 92:473-479.
8. Lowe GD. Blood viscosity, lipoproteins, and cardiovascular risk. Circulation 1992; 85:2329-2331.
9. Rosenson RS, Shott S, Tangney CC. Hypertriglyceridemia is associated with an elevated blood viscosity: triglycerides and blood viscosity. Atherosclerosis 2002; 161:433-9.
10.Stamos TD, Rosenson RS. Low high density lipoprotein levels are associated with an elevated blood viscosity. Atherosclerosis 1999; 146:161-5.
11.Hoieggen A, Fossum E, Moan A, Enger E, Kjeldsen SE. Whole-blood viscosity and the insulin-resistance syndrome. J Hypertens 1998; 16:203-10.
12.de Simone G, Devereux RB, Chien S, et al. Relation of blood viscosity to
demographic and physiologic variables and to cardiovascular risk factors in apparently normal adults. Circulation 1990; 81:107-17.
13.Rosenson RS, McCormick A, Uretz EF. Distribution of blood viscosity values and biochemical correlates in healthy adults. Clin Chem 1996; 42:1189-95.
14.Tamariz LJ, Young JH, Pankow JS, et al. Blood viscosity and hematocrit as risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Am J Epidemiol 2008; 168:1153-60.
15.Jax TW, Peters AJ, Plehn G, Schoebel FC. Hemostatic risk factors in patients with coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes – a two year follow-up of 243 patients. Cardiovasc Diabetol 2009; 8:48.
16.Ernst E, Weihmayr T, et al. Cardiovascular risk factors and hemorheology. Physical fitness, stress and obesity. Atherosclerosis 1986; 59:263-9.
17.Hoieggen A, Fossum E, et al. Whole-blood viscosity and the insulin-resistance syndrome. J Hypertens 1998; 16:203-10.
18.Carroll S, Cooke CB, Butterly RJ. Plasma viscosity, fibrinogen and the metabolic syndrome: effect of obesity and cardiorespiratory fitness. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2000; 11:71-8.
19.Ernst E, Koenig W, Matrai A, et al. Blood rheology in healthy cigarette smokers. Results from the MONICA project, Augsburg. Arteriosclerosis 1988; 8:385-8.
20.Ernst E. Haemorheological consequences of chronic cigarette smoking. J Cardiovasc Risk 1995; 2:435-9.
21.Lowe GD, Drummond MM, Forbes CD, Barbenel JC. The effects of age and cigarette-smoking on blood and plasma viscosity in men. Scott Med J 1980; 25:13-7.
22.Kameneva MV, Watach MJ, Borovetz HS. Gender difference in rheologic properties of blood and risk of cardiovascular diseases. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc 1999; 21:357-363.
23.Fowkes FG, Pell JP, Donnan PT, et al. Sex differences in susceptibility to etiologic factors for peripheral atherosclerosis. Importance of plasma fibrinogen and blood viscosity. Arterioscler Thromb 1994; 14:862-8.
24.Coppola L, Caserta F, De Lucia D, et al. Blood viscosity and aging. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2000; 31:35-42.
The heart. So here it is. The source of life. 2.8 trillion beats in an average lifetime. If each beat were $1 you could pay off the national debt in five lifetimes.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, so let’s consider common sense methods to keep the heart young and strong. Obviously, the heart is a muscle and like all muscles it responds to stress by increasing the size of each fibrile and thus enhancing overall strength. Testing confirms your exercise is effective. Measured energy output over 20 minutes is the most revealing method to demonstrate STRENGTH AND STAMINA. The Schwinn Aerdyne exercycle serves admirably to perform this test.
While I agree with Sears that long aerobic work-outs are unnecessary and even harmful, I disagree with Sears on one point. He does not recommend weight training and contends that it only builds bulk and not strength. There is simply no doubt that rigorous weight training builds muscular strength and surely enhances circulation AND anything which benefits circulation benefits the heart.
Pulse rate receives not nearly enough attention. Pulse rate is equally important to blood pressure and usually overlooked in counseling patients. An ideal pulse rate is 60 or less. Highly trained, young, athletes can achieve pulse rates in the 30s and even in the 20s. In middle age and beyond a resting pulse of 60 or less is acceptable, some would even say 70 is acceptable. Endogenous acceleration of pulse rate is a common change of aging and you cannot change it adequately with conditioning. Consider a person with a non-conditioned heart or an endogenous acceleration of pulse rate to 80. Let’s do the math. At 80 per minute an extra 20 beats per minute translates to 1200 extra per hour, 28,800 per day, and 10,512,000 EXTRA BEATS per year. Finding people with resting pulse rates of 80 or more is not hard. Could it be these people are wearing their hearts out needlessly? Could this even be a cause of the eventual development of congestive heart failure? If it is true that a heart has a finite number of beats and after that it is finished, then the resting pulse is of great importance. So, how to slow the heart? The first line of defense is, naturally, regular exercise. A strong heart tends to slow down because it simply does not need to race along to pump the required amount of blood. HOWEVER, NATURE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU and therefore with age heart rate tends to increase, so we see people in their 60s and beyond who exercise properly, have well conditioned hearts, and still have heart rates well over 60. Nature’s plan is, apparently, to get rid of you and wearing out your heart is one of her methods. What to do about that? I use what I consider to be a true longevity drug, Atenolol, although other beta-blockers would also work. If your heart rate is slower and does not wear itself down early thus extending your life because you avoid dying of heart failure, then everything else being equal, you will live a longer life. Proper exercise – with Atenolol if necessary – provided there is no attendant heart disease, will slow the heart to a healthy rate.
The most common heart arrythmias are skipped beats and extra-systoles which are said to be harmless. Maybe they are harmless, but they are very distracting and a great bother for most people. Cardiologists often prescribe beta-blockers for this problem, but they are usually ineffective. (By the way, this is an EKG of ventricular tach and if you are giving IV EDTA, this is the one to watch out for. Be prepared to resuscitate.)
What is effective in extra-systoles and skipped beats is DHA and a great source of DHA I have found is Udo’s Oil which is, by the way, “fish free.” I am not yet certain what the effect of DHA may be on other heart arrhythmias. As to Atrial Fibrillation, of course this is a dangerous, and common arrhythmia. The most common mainstream treatment is Coumadin but the possible side-effects of this drug are scary. If I had this condition, I would take 2000 IU natural Vit. E daily and nothing else. However if it is present, it must be treated if you are in the Longevity Game.
Hypertension is the most prevalent undiagnosed illness among Americans. AND, hypertension is the most inadequately treated condition in medicine. Medical students are instructed to measure blood pressure under unnatural conditions. Blood pressure must be normal if taken in the standing or sitting position NOT lying down after a period of relaxation UNLESS that is how the person lives life 24 hours each day. So, you give the instructions: no extra salt, daily exercise, low fat diet, loose weight, lower stress – and often all this does not work adequately. So, then what? Educate your patient on the importance of maintaining a low normal blood pressure every day to the very end of life. I tell them frankly that it will kill them unless something unexpected gets them first. Many people will require immediate intervention and not many of these people are going to make radical changes to their life-styles. So, we are left with drugs and I SAY, USE THEM. My favorites are Lisinopril, hydrochlorthiazide, and Atenolol, but whatever your favorites, use them and INSIST ON regular measurements until low normal BP is reached. I advise my patients to purchase a BP apparatus, learn to use it and measure BP twice daily. I prefer the OMRON for its durability. One more thing. BP tends to go up during sleep. This is counter-intuitive, but calls for taking BP medication at bedtime, and probably in the morning as well, but definitely at bedtime. BP must be in good control around the clock, so measurements should be taken at various times of day.
Heavy Metals and Chelation
Heavy metal overload causes inflammation and is important in the development of illnesses arteriosclerosis, asthma, psoriasis, arthritis, hepatitis, acne, colitis, and other degenerative diseases. Heavy metal overload is an almost universal condition, interferes with the equilibrium of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid and steroid conversion pathways. Lead levels in humans, for example, have been shown to be 500 times pre-industrial levels. That is published in The New England Journal of Medicine, May 7, 1992 titled “Lead Levels in Pre-industrial Humans.” This is presumably true for other toxic metals used in the industrial age. Therefore, oral chelation on a daily basis is an essential part of any rational longevity program. Intravenous chelation is a way of accelerating the results in conditions which represent a more immediate serious threat to life. Daily oral chelators we can use for toxic heavy metals include Vitamin C, DMSA and EDTA. They are well tolerated orally and are relatively inexpensive.
So, here we are at OHM, so I better talk about Vitamin C. There is no doubt that sometime back in the past, perhaps at a bottleneck of evolution when some ancient ancestors who could not produce ascorbate survived a global natural disaster, we lost our chances to make vitamin C. Now we are one of a handful of mammals which cannot do this.
Here are some of the few mammals which cannot make Vitamin C. Humans, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs, apes, and guinea pigs. All of the other 5400+ species of mammals can make Vitamin C. This is precisely why, for us, C is a vitamin. The amount of C needed to avoid death from scurvy turns out to be a minuscule fraction of what is needed to achieve optimal health. So supplementation, especially in times of illness or stress, is very advisable and common clinical experience tells us that it accelerates healing at multiple levels. Dosage should range from ½ to 10 grams daily and can be adjusted to bowel tolerance. The RDA for C is 60 mg., just enough to avoid scurvy. Here is what we think of the RDAs for vitamins.
Here is a case of scurvy. The problem here is loss of connective tissue integrity. The person literally comes apart. The English discovered that all it took to prevent scurvy on long sea voyages was a good supply of limes and thus the English sailors became known as “limeys.”
Vitamin D comes in milk and is manufactured in the skin in response to sunlight, so technically it is not a vitamin. Milk is loaded with vitamin D and is the officially recommended source. However, milk has its problems for many people thanks to casein allergy and lactose intolerance. In nature, the major source of calciferol is skin synthesis in response to sunlight. As North America is actually north and therefore has less sunlight in winter combined with the fact that most of us do not run around naked in the sun anyway – it comes as no surprise that almost all Americans are deficient, especially those with dark skin. So, while we all wish we were sun bathing at a resort making Vitamin D, supplementation is the rational choice. The RDA for Vitamin D has traditionally been just enough to avoid rickets. True therapeutic doses to achieve the real benefits of Vitamin D are in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 IU or more per week and official recommendations vary by age with levels for the older age groups much higher, but not exceeding 28,000 IU per week. In fact much larger doses are perfectly safe. I personally take 75,000 IU per week. Given the benefits of therapeutic doses of Vitamin D, we cannot delete it from a Longevity Program.
So, lets mention briefly, some of the benefits beyond strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the most active form of vitamin D. Supplementation has been well studied and shown to have a growing list of probable benefits to the fetus when given to the mother during pregnancy, including
later neurological and psychiatric disorders
low Apgar scores
low birth weight
In adults it appear probable that D3:
reverses inflammatory changes associated with age-related memory impairment
helps prevent cancer (especially breast and prostate cancer)
helps normalize blood sugar levels
and delays the onset of Parkinson’s disease
Let me drop this pearl on you: severe vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with chronic pain.
In conclusion, D3 is a part of a good longevity program if it prevents potentially fatal diseases, and apparently this is exactly the case.
Telomeres are literally the “end parts” of chromosomes which are made of repetitive DNA sequences which protect DNA near the end of the chromosome during replication. This protection breaks down progressively with each replication and when the telomere is gone, replication stops. During cell division, enzymes that duplicate DNA cannot continue their duplication all the way to the end of the chromosome. If cells divided without telomeres, they would lose the ends of their chromosomes, and the necessary information they contain. Therefore, telomeres are disposable buffers guarding the ends of chromosomes. They are consumed during cell division and replenished by an enzyme, telomerase reverse transcriptase. Animal studies suggest that this loss of telomeres is responsible for aging on the cellular level and sets a limit on life span. Telomere extension has successfully reversed some signs of aging in laboratory mice and in a nematode worm species, but nothing has been demonstrated in humans. Also, longer telomeres and especially telomerase activation may cause increased cancer. Apparently, this is not yet confirmed or disproven, so the the subject as far as humans are concerned is in limbo. TO BE CONTINUED.
Gerovital, GH3, 2% Procaine
In the 1950s Dr. Ana Aslan of Bucharest, Romania performed experiments on lab animals injecting 2% Procaine and found that rats and rabbits live around 30% longer if given procaine injections. She wrote a book titled GH3 and became famous treating famous people.
GH3 is sold in Europe as an inexpensive item in pharmacies. However Gerovital for injection is not available here in the U.S. Nevertheless, as a physician you can purchase 2% Procaine for injection – which is exactly what Gerovital is. It would seem to be a logical leap to assume that it prolongs human life and under any circumstance regular injections of 2% Procaine are surely harmless.
Love and Marriage
In the September 2006 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Kaplan and Kronick, described their investigation into marital status and longevity in the United States population. After analyzing a sample of over 66,000 people, they found that the death rate for unmarried people was significantly higher than for those who were married and living with their spouses. This effect was common to all categories of unmarried folk (those who had never married as well as those who were divorced or widowed) – but the observed difference was strongest in those who were never married, although their data did not indicate WHY being married was associated with longer survival. The only actual statistics I can find on the subject (Cohen et al, 1997) are the following. Based on life expectancies, nine of ten married men and women alive at age 48 are still alive at 65, while only six of ten single men and eight of ten single women make it to 65. Those are dramatic figures so if you don’t have one of these, and IF you can stand it, GET ONE.
A couple years before Vince Lombardi died of colon cancer he was advised to have a colonoscopy. Lombardi was a plainspoken man who usually said what he was thinking. His famous last words were “They are not going to stick that up my ass.” Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US just behind lung cancer. There are approximately 150,000 new cases yearly and over 50,000 deaths per year. So, diagnosing colon cancer is critically important to avoiding death by colon cancer, but how about avoiding having colon cancer in the first place? Do a search on the Internet and see what you find under colon cancer. Guaranteed nothing will be found about prevention. Can you think of another place in the human body where toxicity is more concentrated than the colon? I sincerely hope not. Do you suppose that level of toxicity has anything to do with the phenomenally common occurrence of colon cancer? And yet, what are people advised by mainstream medicine to do to lower toxicity? Well, there is a low level conversation which most people ignore about probiotics and high fiber diets. Have you ever heard a mainstream doctor recommend colon cleansing? Probably not. We brush and floss our teeth like maniacs to avoid losing them and yet do nothing to cleanse the colon to avoid losing our lives. Just how rational is that? If you could spend 30 minutes per week doing something that would almost surely avoid ending up as a colon cancer statistic – which would also improve your energy and well-being – would you do it?
What does it take to cleanse the colon and probably prevent colon cancer? Of course high fiber diet, of course probiotics. Of course regular checkups. Anything else to really prevent colon cancer? A colon cleanse machine is one possibility. Not a bad choice in serious illness, but what about for simple prevention and maintenance of health? Here it is, in my opinion. Simply buy a couple enema bags and go for it. The trick is to completely fill the colon. The average man’s colon is equal to the volume of two full enema bags. It doesn’t help if you avoid cancer in the descending colon yet die of cancer in the ascending colon, so cleanse the whole thing. Now, for those of you who can still hear me and are not in a colonophobic catatonic panic, here is my final advice, if you will allow me a very mixed metaphor: take that puppy to the car wash at least once per week.
Avoiding Senility? Avoiding Alzheimers? Avoiding Parkinson’s?
Preservation of adequate circulation to the brain is essential to avoiding senility. Beyond that, the nutrients which have been shown to make a difference are the B vitamins and DHA. Vitamin E helps prevent blood sludging and thus preserves cerebral circulation. Continued daily learning – perhaps doing math in one’s head, regular reading, discussion of issues, and continued building of vocabulary – are associated with lower incidence of senility with or without Alzheimer’s. We are said to lose 10% of our neurons each decade, but with continued learning more inter-neuronal connections are created which compensate for lost neurons. The brain can become a leaner meaner machine. Higher levels of education early in life predict lower incidence of senility later in life, perhaps because later in life these people continue to use it so they don’t lose it. Finally, people who exercise through life have a lower incidence of senility later. So, if you see an old college professor exercising and carrying a bottle of DHA in one hand and vitamins in the other, probably a good bet not to become senile. Senility is not inevitable even in great old age as Jeanne Calmet has shown us.Still, Alzheimer’s probably has a genetic component and we are all awaiting the final prevention/cure of this dread disease. In the meantime, let us give ourselves the best chance of not having it. As to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, caffeine has been shown to lower the incidence of both.
Coffe and Caffeine
So, let’s talk about caffeine. Here is an item which has received bad press in medicine, perhaps undeservedly so. I am fairly convinced it is an anti-aging drug and gained its poor reputation because the most common source of caffeine is coffee. There is no doubt that coffee aggravates arthritis, no doubt at all. While coffee is vilified for its content of caffeine, the real villains are pyridine, caffeol, tannic acid, aromatic oils, and about 200 other compounds. So, my recommendation is to avoid coffee, but not caffeine. I prefer it as pure as possible and I take it as a supplement in tablet form. The evidence that it is protective against Parkinson’s is extensive whereas the evidence that it protects against Alzheimer’s is limited so far to studies of mice. In both cases, evidence, while highly suggestive, is said to fall short of absolute scientific proof. But in the meantime I will take it.
Care of Joints
When you stop moving, you invite degenerative disease which slows you down and leads to many disease states. So mobility is critically important and joint health is critical to mobility. Therefore, proactive care of joints is a bit of wisdom for those who aim to live long. So how does one be proactive in the care of joints? There are things to do and things to not do. If you want your joints to last for a lifetime, you cannot abuse them. That means: no violent or pounding sports. What are violent sports? Football, rugby, tennis, basketball, all the sports young people love, anything that involves sustained running. I have many former football players in my practice and not a few people – myself included – who engaged in long distance running for many years. They all have knee or hip or back or neck problems. Acceptable sports are swimming and cycling. I recommend you stay away from treadmills and gravitate toward things like exercycles and ellipticals. Exercise must be intense, but non-violent. Perhaps the best proactive activity for joints is daily movement in the form of healthy exercise, but close behind is daily supplementation with the sulfur containing supplements, namely glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin sulfate. This kind of supplementation should begin in mid-life and should be done to PREVENT joint disease. There are two preventable forms of joint disease. Osteoarthritis and chondritis. Osteoarthritis is primarily (my opinion) a nutritional disease manifesting inflammation and mimicing true autoimmune disease.
Chondritis is a result of pounding exercise and is marked by degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage is replaced very slowly and if you wear out your cartilage, you will not regenerate it faster than you are wearing it down by simple activity and aging UNLESS you utilize Pulsed Signal Therapy. PST is a technology invented in the U.S. but not available in the U.S. It does help regenerate cartilage. The FDA can’t seem to get around to approving it. You have to go to Canada, Germany or Mexico. However, here is someone who can have this treatment in the U.S. That’s right – dogs and other animals are permitted to have PST in the U.S., but not you. All vets are familiar with this terrific therapy which regenerates cartilage. Look it up. It works.
Hair and Prostate
Here are a couple items men would like to keep and there is a common thread here: DHT, dihydrotestosterone. One of nature’s tricks to take us down and take away movie-star good looks is to ramp up the enzyme which converts testosterone to DHT. DHT leads to prostate hypertrophy and maybe increases the incidence of prostate cancer AND leads to hair loss. The antidote for this aging effect is finestride, marketed as Proscar. Finestride inhibits the enzyme which causes all this mayhem and because BPH presages prostate cancer, it may also lower the incidence of that common problem. We now believe large dose of Vitamin D also helps avoid prostate cancer, and avoiding prostate cancer gives a man a better chance at longevity. So think of finestride and Vitamin D as longevity agents. Oh, and gentlemen, get your PSA test and prostate exams on a regular basis. Not dying from prostate cancer definitely extends your life.
Breasts and Broccoli
Now, to breasts and broccoli. Women generally like to avoid mastectomies which in turn means avoiding breast cancer. The longevity agent here is Vitamin D in large dose, say 50,000 IU per week. Also, estrogen imbalance and/or progesterone deficiency, both of which predispose to breast cancer, if present, can be identified by 24 hour urine collection analysis and this allows corrective action to be taken which might include orthomolecular hormone therapy and/or the use of DIM, di-indole methane. So, think of progesterone and DIM as longevity agents. There is some evidence that DIM may also have a protective effect against prostate cancer. And, by the way, if you are willing to eat a big helping of broccoli every day, you can get your DIM by that method, but let’s be honest. No one is going to keep that up. So, in that case, you can take your DIM in a capsule.
A few years ago a patient I had not seen in one year appeared in my office and said this to me: “I just had a mammogram and here is what they found. She then showed me a tennis ball sized breast lump in the left upper left of her left breast. It was almost VISIBLE and extremely palpable. I asked her if she had noticed it and she told me no, and admitted that she NEVER examined her breasts. I realized for the first time that there are some people who pay almost no attention to their own bodies.
So, ladies, without fail, do your own breast exams. Do not rely on doctors. You know your breasts and if you pay attention, you will know when there is something new and unusual. You can build this into your daily routine tying it to, perhaps, your daily shower or anything else you are certain to already be doing on a daily basis by habit.
Orthomolecular Hormone Therapy
The prejudice against orthomolecular hormone therapy in mainstream medicine seems to be that it is not natural, that it is somehow against natures’s plan. So, here is nature’s plan: the grave yard. Nature’s plan is to put us in the ground and make room for the next generations. This is Hills of Eternity Cemetery, about 20 minutes from here in Colma, California where you can find Wyatt and Josey Earp’s grave. We all have to follow nature’s plan, but I prefer later and therefore I support all possible methods of delay, including OHT. The idea with OHT is to properly measure the major hormones, especially the adrenal and sex steroids, and supplement them back to levels typically enjoyed by people 25-30 years of age. There are at least two labs in the U.S. which do this properly – by 24 hour urine hormone analysis. With this information in hand the design of an individualized formula is relatively easy and the clinical results are usually DRAMATIC.
Osteoporosis and Strontium
OK, quick mention of osteoporosis. If you are already weak from age and you break your, let’s say hip, have to lie in bed and die of pneumonia, well there goes your bid for longevity. Bone is made of 18 major components, so taking just calcium is absurd. If bone were made of just calcium it would break like chalk. So before the fall which breaks your hip, a big round of megavitamin and mineral therapy to include all the trace minerals is surely in your interest. Combine this with hormone therapy and you have something very effective. And finally the use of Strontium at one gram three times daily for three months and you have bones of steel, well of strontium anyway. Apparently strontium substitutes for calcium and makes for an even stronger bone matrix. Here we have a brand, Strontium Bone Maker, unfortunately not a substitute for Viagra.
The discussion of longevity would not be complete without consideration of the role played by the brain. While it is apparently not true that smarter people have an advantage by being smarter, those who USE their brains do have an advantage. Thus staying in school correlates with longevity and therefore it only makes sense that a person who “stays in school” even after school is finished has an advantage for longer life. So, here is what I suggest: use it or loose it. Read at least one hour every day. Keep a vocabulary list and add new words every day. Also, whenever the opportunity presents itself put your calculator down and do the math in your head. For example here is the latest page of my vocabulary list. Once you learn a new word, find a place in life to speak it. Word comprehension and speech live in different parts of the brain. It is probable that new connections between neurons are built in many areas of the brain by simply working with language and numbers.
Time Release T3
As we age thyroid receptors become less sensitive. I find this can be compensated with very low dose time release T3 on the order of 10-15 mcg. twice daily. I almost routinely add this to orthomolecular hormone formulas – with age as my guide unless contraindicated by lab test results.
Ergoloid Mesylates, Hydergine
Here is a little item I often add to orthomolecular hormone preparations. Ergoloid mesylates, aka Hydergine. Apparently it has its effect at the synaptic junctions and may in fact increase connectivity in the brain. As you may know, as we loose about 10% of our neurons each decade, the compensating mechanism is increased connectivity between the remaining neurons. Continued learning is the best method of connecting neurons, and Hydergine may help this process. I have not been able to find the reference to the study I read a few years ago demonstrating that in a cadre of doctors measured at 70 and at 80, those who remained in study mode were found to be more intelligent at 80 than they had been at 70. We can look to Dr. Kunin as a person who is clearly smarter each year, so we know it is possible. Richard is clearly a phenomenon worth emulation.
HGH and HCG
Can’t end without mentioning these two. Both are anabolic, although through different mechanisms. Both are libidogenic. We have no idea if they extend life or not, but they surely increase vitality in the time that you are alive. If you must choose between these two, my impression is that you get a lot more vitality bang for the buck from HCG. While it is touted for weight loss, I do not believe it effective for that except as a placebo for low calorie dieting. However as it has strong LH like effects on the adrenals and gonads, its youthing effects on libido and vitality is impressive.
Gut Flora and SanPharma Remedies
Probably the most important area of longevity medicine is also the most poorly understood, namely gut flora and the determinate of gut flora – the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue or GALT, that is to say the 80% of the immune system which resides in the gut wall. A discussion of this topic would take more time than we have, but let me just say the magic words “SanPharma Remedies.” My advice: study it up and learn to use them.
A PROGRAM TO FACILITATE LONGEVITY
Liberal daily use of olive oil
Daily glass grape juice
No excessive risk taking behavior
Avoidance of violent sports
Diet fitted to my metabolism
Prevention of hyperviscosity of blood (daily natural Vit. E 400 IU)
Rigid control of blood pressure and pulse rate
Procaine 2% 5cc IM weekly
Rigid measures o insure colon health
Daily caffeine 200 mg. tablet to maybe prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
MSM, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin Sulfate
Pulsed Stimulation Therapy as needed for cartilage regeneration
Finestride 5 mg. daily
Semiannual PSA tests
Virtual colonoscopies every five years
Orthomolecular Hormone therapy with rgoloid mesylate and T3
Course of oral Strontium every five years
Faithful development of mental acuity, life-long learning
Use of SanPharmaremedies to maintain health of GALT
TOP 10 Ways to know you are getting old
#10 Finally you decide to use the Rogaine and with the first application your one remaining hair falls out – along with your last tooth
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old #9
You remember to go to the dentist but forget to bring your teeth.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 8
You knock on wood for good luck and then go to see who is at the door.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 7
You go to your high school reunion and find out you are the only one left.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 6
Television reporters are coming to your house on your birthday each year.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 5
Your children are putting YOU in THEIR wills.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 4
You find your own name in the obituaries with the title “He Must Be Dead By Now.”
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 3
Sometimes you just wonder “Which the Hell… Where happened to the…When were those things? Oh yeah…CRAP I forgot. NO! I remember! Wait, no I don’t”
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 2
Will you leave me alone, I told you I can’t remember…Oh wait…no forget it.
Top 10 ways you know you are growing old # 1
Nothing much is amusing anymore, not even a top 10 list.