Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

Antioxidants are the master of the health halo: put them in a yogurt, and that yogurt is now a health food. Marketers took that idea and ran, but the science was slim—and the more they research the more scientists find out that antioxidants aren’t the magical disease-shield we’ve been led to believe.

Source: Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

People need to be careful about these claims that eating or taking such and such will prevent, reverse, cure cancer. There are many types of cancer; it’s not one disease.
When a gene “goes nuts for no apparent reason” that’s exactly the kind of DNA damage that antioxidants are theoretically supposed to prevent: damage happens all the time, our bodies fix it, but every now and then something slips through the cracks and with the right kind of bad luck that can contribute to a cell becoming cancerous.

This is not the same as saying someone is to blame for not eating, or doing a certain thing. Even among things we know cause cancer, like smoking and tanning, you can’t guarantee what will happen.  Plenty of non smokers get lung cancer, for example. There is no “get out of cancer free card” and antioxidants definitely aren’t it.

How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class. Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

Source: How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Aging is very expensive for post-industrial society. The reason why pensions, retirement plans and government stipends like social security exist is because many old people are not physically able to work anymore and have a huge range of medical conditions, all stemming from the frailty of aging, that need to be treated or, more likely, merely stanched and bailed out like a sinking ship.

A cure for aging would minimize these expenses, but now you have more people in the workforce who aren’t leaving any time soon.  The age of retirement gets pushed back, and the retirement planning changes.  There’s also the sociological impact of older people who continue living – lots these days have grandparents who are incredibly racist/bigoted.  I don’t advocate the death of simply because, but there is something to be said for a generation passing the torch so we can evolve.  Which also plays into health aspects, as an older generation is likely to be susceptible to something future generations might not.

There are some very serious implications to keeping people alive longer.

Science Confirms That People Age at Dramatically Different Rates

Looking at your classmates in 20 years’ time, you might notice something odd about their appearances: Although you were probably all born within a year of one another, you also probably all look different ages. According to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, internal markers show we really do age at different paces.

Source: Science Confirms That People Age at Dramatically Different Rates

Keith Richards has looked the way he is since he was 40… 😉

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Potential Anti-Aging Drug

Ibuprofen will decrease the clotting ability of your blood even more when combined with blood thinner. Generally people who take warfarin/coumadin should never take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, IE: ibuprofen, naproxen etc) because NSAIDs increase the risk of uncontrollable bleeding.  Do not take Ibuprofen when on warfarin, or any other blood thinners for that matter, unless you consult your doctor. Your doctor may allow NSAIDs over a short duration, but with a background of stomach protection eg Omeprazole, Ranitidine.

One of the most common pain-relievers could be promising in the quest for longevity, according to a new study in animals in the journal PLOS Genetics.

In the research, scientists treated yeast, worms, and fruit flies with normal doses of ibuprofen (which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, popularly known by the brand names of Advil and or Motrin). The doses were akin to what a human might take for a regular headache or a little muscle soreness.

Source: This drug could be promising in extending life (and it’s already in your medicine cabinet)

If you actually look at the study, the equivalent dose in humans for the levels they were testing was a single dose of 400mg. When they looked at humans with on a higher dose (600 mg) they found significantly higher levels that were not found to be protective in higher order organisms. In the higher order organisms, significant lower amounts were protective.

This doesn’t take into account “unhealthy” models like most humans. Even if it translated to the same 15% average gain in human cellular lifespan, there is no guarantee or even likelihood it wouldn’t be wiped out by increased cardiovascular death, renal failure, and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeds. These insect and worm models didn’t eat a typical western diet during the study 😉

But it interesting that more studies have shown that taking ibuprofen increases your risk of heart attack, and the more you take or the more often you take, the greater the risk.  Even in a healthy individual 1-2 weeks of moderate to high dose ibuprofen (600 – 1000 mg, three times a day for “moderate-high” dose. If your old or small then reduce 200 – 400 mg.) use can GI problems (which can range from heartburn like pain to life threatening GI bleeding). I don’t recommend any courses longer than 7 days (followed by that much time off before restarting if needed). It’s also rough on the kidneys and can cause kidney failure – particularly if you are not well hydrated so make sure you take doses with a big glass of water.

The older you get – the worse NSAIDs get for you, and the more prone to adverse effects you become.

Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

…in mice.  This could be huge. On the other hand, let’s see the peer reviewed articles. Remember “resveratrol”?

Scientists at the University of B.C. searching for ways to slow the deterioration of blood vessels may have stumbled on to the key to youthful skin.

While exploring the effects of the protein-degrading enzyme Granzyme B on blood vessels during heart attacks, professor David Granville couldn’t help noticing that mice engineered to lack the enzyme had beautiful skin at the end of the experiment, while normal mice showed signs of age.

Source: UBC researchers may have stumbled upon the secret to youthful skin

I believe it’s already known that avoiding sunlight helps prevent this enzyme from being released, and in turn keeps skin looking younger. This is just artificially lowering it even further in an attempt to to create immortal, sunlight-fearing vampires.  But it could really help burn victims…

Usually most aging-preventing discoveries cause cancer. Tumour cells (for solid tumours) normally have defects in extra-cellular matrix related genes (genes in the collagen family are sometimes mutated in advanced gastric cancer) that help the tumour invade and spread through tissues.  For example, the p21 knockout mice that gained almost salamander-like regeneration also gained a high tumor rate. The idea that processes in your body involving the stopping of growth and areas dying off are things that help prevent cancer from forming or growing makes sense…

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉