There appear to be three main reasons for ageing
- Ageing due to decline in hormones level.
- Ageing due to silent inflammation in the body.
- Ageing due to free radicals in the body attacking body cells.
Read the first part of Anti-Ageing Secrets by Dr. Zubair Mirza here.
Role of Hormones
Scientists believe decline in hormone levels is one important reason why we age. Hormones are the juice of life and low levels results in low performance in most daily activities, both mentally and physically. Most hormone levels start to decline from age 30 onwards and by age 60 most of us are working below par. Hormone replacement is the secret to maintaining vitality and younger looks as we enter the 4th and 5th decade. Hormone management has to be done under strict medical guidance and only bio-identical hormones should be used. It is important that you replace your hormones to the level of a youthful 25 to 30 year old thereby reducing silent inflammation.
Since the hormonal system is one of the key regulators of integrated biological function, altered hormone secretions and actions are important in the development of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, impaired cognition, erectile dysfunction and loss of energy and strength.
Millions of men go through andropause (the male counterpart of female menopause) which largely goes undiagnosed as many doctors tell their patients it is just ageing, whereas they can be very easily treated with proper diagnosis and treatment.
Hormone replacement is done in three simple steps.
- Measure. The decline by clinical examination and laboratory tests.
- Mentor. Hormones are given to attain a desired level.
- Monitor. Follow up by clinical and laboratory tests to ensure hormones have returned to an optimum and safe level.
All major hormones should be tested and usually more than one hormone needs to be given (poly therapy).
Some of the hormones which require replacement and testing are
- Thyroid hormone
- Thymic hormones
- Estrogen and Progesterone (Female sex hormones)
- Testosterone (Male sex hormones)
- Human growth hormone
The overall deterioration of the body that comes with growing old is not inevitable. Many aspects of it however, can be prevented or reversed by restoring bio-identical hormones.
Men and women can be revitalized within few weeks of starting hormone replacement. The rapidly advancing medical research and technology especially in the field of anti-ageing has made it possible for middle aged men and women and those beyond to enjoy better life and health. There is no reason for them to suffer unnecessarily.
Ageing due to Silent Inflammation
Current research tells us that all chronic diseases have a significant inflammatory component and inflammation is thought to be at the center of diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, Alzhiemer’s disease, depression, cancer and arthritis.
TIME Magazine cover story (Feb 23, 2004) reads as follows:
“Instead of different treatments for heart disease, Alzhiemer’s and colon cancer, there might be a single inflammation remedy that would prevent all three.
The big problem is although silent inflammation is the cause of many disorders and diseases many of us including both patients and doctors do not know the warning signs of this kind of inflammation or the best way to treat it. This knowledge is critical because if a person has one inflammatory condition, the odds of developing another condition increases dramatically. Identifying and slowing down this chronic inflammation is vital to successful ageing. Silent inflammation attacks the single layer of cells that lines the 50,000 miles of blood vessels within each of us. If brain vessels are involved Alzhiemer’s may result, if vessels to the heart are involved heart attack may take place, involvement of vessels of the male sexual organ may result in erectile dysfunction.
The major cause of silent inflammation is the result of changes in our food supply in the last 50 years or so.
Eicosanoids, glucagon, insulin and cortisol are the major hormones affected by our metabolic response to food. Eicosanoids are powerful biological agents (Prostaglandins and others) which act on inflammation and blood flow. Dietary fat is the only source of essential fatty acids that form the building blocks for all eicosanoids. These fatty acids are Omega 6 which form pro inflammatory Prostaglandins and Omega 3 which form anti-inflammatory Prostaglandins. The original human diet (Paleo diet) had a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 as 1 : 1. Today the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 20 : 1 in favour of Omega 6, as a result the body produces more of inflammatory prostaglandins and less of anti inflammatory.
This ratio is not in harmony with our genetic make-up and silent inflammation sets in. With consumption of high carbohydrate diet in this situation there in an insulin rush in the body to push glucose from the blood into the cells but this does not take place effectively due to SI in the blood vessels as already described earlier, body pumps in more insulin to do the job but again with little success, this condition is known as Insulin Resistance and leads to an insulin build up in the body resulting in conversion of glucose into fat by insulin. “Remember Insulin makes us fat and keeps us fat.” This fat gets stored around the belly in males, females are protected by the estrogen which directs the storage of extra fat to hips, buttocks and breasts. After menopause due to the drop in estrogen level fat gets deposited around the belly also. Apart from looking ugly belly fat is metabolically active and produces many toxins and is also a risk factor for heart disease, high BP, stroke, cancer and diabetes thus accelerating ageing. Increased insulin levels also increase the production of Arachidonic acid, the building block for all pro-inflammatory Prostaglandins (eicosanoids), the major cause of silent inflammation.
It can be seen from the above that diet is one of the important causes of silent inflammation and many diseases. Interestingly enough, diet is also the tool which is used to treat these diseases and reverse the signs of ageing.
Ageing due to Free Radicals
This is the third major cause of signs of ageing. Oxidation is a continuous and essential process in the body which produces oxygen molecules. Normal oxygen molecule has two electrons but some oxygen molecules also produced in our bodies have only one electron, these are known as free radicals and are highly unstable and attack other cells to replace their missing electrons. Free radicals also interfere with enzymatic reactions and cause significant metabolic stress, damaging cells and DNA. Collagen in skin is often the first target of free radicals resulting in the breakdown of collagen tissues and formation of wrinkles and loose skin making one look older than the actual age. The more free radicals buildup, the older one looks. Free radicals are generated in the body from exposure to sunlight (UV rays, toxins, pollutants, poor diet, drugs, alcohol and too much exercise).
It is extremely important to address the issue of free radicals for anti-ageing purpose as this is concerned with looks – a primary concern for women everywhere and now increasingly for men as well.
About the author:
Dr Zubair Mirza
M.B.B.S, L.M.S.S.A (LON)