Anti Aging Tips from a 78 Year Old Martial Arts Champ
As scientists, we know today that everyone past the age of 22 should be concerned with anti-aging. This is NOT just an area that should be read by seniors or by people advancing in age that are worried about their appearance or health.
The sooner you begin to think about anti-aging, the more effective your program will be as the years progress.
In other words, if you are a senior and are concerned with aging, by all means, this is a critically important area for you to study. If you are in your forties, it is even better that you landed here today. In your thirties, even more super. In your twenties, excellent; don’t leave without reading this area.
This area has the potential to extend all your lives and at the very least, improve the quality of life for each of you, regardless of your current age.
Anti-Aging: A Historical Perspective
Before jumping right into the middle of the anti-aging debate, I would like to offer everyone a brief historical perspective. In the mid 1800’s scientists and lay people alike scoffed at the very idea of being able to slow down the aging process. They viewed all discussion of anti-aging as ridiculous and dangerous, both to morality and to human order. Aging and death were inevitable and there was nothing mere mortals could do to change it.
Similar beliefs were held with regard to disease. Disease was a natural event and there was nothing man could do to prevent God’s will. Well-known scientists absolutely ridiculed the notion that tiny living organisms could exist and actually cause infection and disease.
Then the 1870’s came and forward thinkers like Koch and Pasteur proved the existence and the danger of the microbes we call germs. Most of the miracles of modern medicine can be traced to those discoveries.
I mention this because, today, in 2008, the science of anti-aging is at a similar point as was infection and disease in the 1870’s. Science is embarking on a journey that in the distant future, will look historically a lot like the history of disease treatment.
The real fact is that even in 2008 each of us, regardless of age, can do a substantial bit to slow the aging process and extend our lives.
It is very popular in today’s technological world to liken our bodies to that of an automobile. On the face of it the analogy seems to fit. When new, each car is working perfectly and looking shiny and great. As time goes on, wear and tear causes the need for replacement parts and the exterior shine begins to fade. Eventually the car stops working and needs to be replaced.
This analogy is fine except for the fact that we are living beings and the car is not. Incumbent in life are our miraculous powers of regeneration. The difference between humans and autos are that we have tiny invisible “Mr. Goodwrenches” inside, constantly working at fixing everything that is going wrong.
The first indisputable fact that you need to assimilate is that as a human being you are continually repairing yourself, replacing dead cells and denatured proteins, creating new mitochondria and other cellular organelles. That is the very nature of being human.
So what is aging? Simply put, aging is the process by which the body slows its repair processes. It stands to reason then that if we can stimulate the repair process, in turn, we slow aging.
Let’s look at some of the main areas of potential damage.
Aging Caused by Free Radical Damage (oxidation)
A “free radical” is a specific type of atom (or molecule) that contains an unpaired electron in its outermost shell.
Free radicals occur naturally as a result of normal biochemical reactions in the body. For example, burning oxygen for energy or for even simple immune system responses generate free radicals. Free-radical-generating substances can also be found in various foods we eat (especially oil fried foods), the drugs and medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink.
As free radicals react with the various cellular structures, they produce cell damage, which accumulates, causing problems and sometimes cell death. More specifically, the cell is the smallest totally self-sufficient unit of life. It can carry out all the processes needed for life. The cell has various parts, including the nucleus (which stores the DNA), the mitochondria (which are the power plants), the golgi and ribosomes,(which are the manufacturing centers), and the lysosomes (a trash disposal system). All of these cellular parts are enclosed in a membrane called the cell wall. Each of these individual parts, as well as the cell wall, can be damaged when free radicals come into contact with them. Numerous studies have led to the accepted scientific fact that increased production of free radicals causes or accelerates cellular injury and also leads to disease.
Free radicals are also one of the fundamental reasons we age. In fact, oxygen can be considered the ultimate paradox of life in that it is absolutely necessary for life but it is also the number one cause of free radical production which ages and ultimately costs us our lives. Fortunately, although it is impossible to prevent all free radical damage, there is a way to eliminate a significant amount of damage. The answer lies in the simple consumption of antioxidants. Antioxidants, also known as “free radical scavengers,” are compounds that either reduce the formation of free radicals or react with and neutralize them. Antioxidants often work by donating an electron to the outer shell of the free radical. Once the outer shell electrons of the free radical are paired, the free radical is stabilized and becomes non-toxic to cells.
There are numerous antioxidants available for use today in speeding the repair process. Vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase are among the most popular, but there are hundreds more much stronger anti-oxidants than these.
Aging by Cross Linking Damage (Glycosylation):
The body is made up, largely, of proteins. As we age, during normal metabolic activities, sugar molecules sometimes erroneously attach to protein molecules. The resulting bond is called a “cross-link.” Cross-linked proteins are, in essence, virtually indestructible, damaged proteins. Cross-linking can occur on a variety of different protein molecules, for example, collagen, elastin, enzymes, etc. Cross-linked proteins not only accelerate the process of aging but they also directly cause a variety of serious problems including skin damage and wrinkles, cataracts in the eyes and neurological degeneration.
Worse, cross-linked proteins that interact with free radicals cause even more greatly accelerated damage to cells.
Until recently, biochemists believed that cross-linked protein molecules were totally impervious to change. Once they occurred, they would exist in your body forever, causing increased aging related damage. In other words, they were a natural phase of the aging process.
This entire body of knowledge was turned totally upside down with the discovery of Carnosine and the effect that it has on cross-linked proteins. Carnosine is an amino acid based compound; multifunctional di-peptide made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine.
Long-lived cells such as nerve cells (neurons) and muscle cells (myocytes) contain naturally high levels of carnosine. Carnosine levels decline with age. Muscle levels decline 63% from age 10 to age 70, which may account for the normal age-related decline in muscle mass and function (Stuerenberg HJ et al., 1999). In fact, it has been found that muscle levels of carnosine correlate with the maximum life spans of animal species (Hipkiss AR et al., 1995).
Laboratory research on cellular senescence (the end of the life cycle of dividing cells) suggests that these facts may not be coincidences. Carnosine has the remarkable ability to rejuvenate cells approaching senescence, restoring normal appearance and dramatically extending cellular life span.
500 mgs. of supplemented Carnosine can eliminate destructive “cross-linking” and bring Carnosine levels back to youthful levels. There have been no negative effects seen with carnosine supplementation however it has been suggested that mega doses (2000 mgs. or more) might be associated with an increase in allergy type symptoms like runny nose or sniffles.
A second treatment that shows great promise is Metaformin. Metaformin (also called Glucophage or Metforal) is a standard anti-diabetic drug that used throughout the world to treat both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetes. Although its FDA approved use is to increase sensitivity of insulin and to lower blood glucose levels, there are many other
important actions coming to be seen. Metaformin lowers cholesterol, reduces body fat, stimulates antioxidant defenses, decreases the incidence of thrombosis and heart attacks and inhibits protein cross linking, especially when associated with collagen and with blood.
Aging from Hormonal Decrease
The body’s natural repair processes also slow as a result of a normal decrease in certain critical age related hormones belonging to the Growth Hormone family.
First, let me admit to being a firm advocate of the role that the various growth hormones play in anti-aging, in decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle and in promoting general health. I, personally, have tried every type of Growth Hormone Therapy available and have drawn definite conclusions on each. I am willing to share both my academic and practical knowledge on all of these with you.
Let’s begin by differentiating between the three most powerful Growth Hormone substances known to medical science:
- HGH: Human Growth Hormone
- IGF-1: Insulin Like Growth Factor-1
- GHRH: Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone
Under a doctor’s care, I have used pharmaceutical injections for each of these, as well as what I refer to as more readily available “intermediate” substances that “turn on” the body’s natural biochemical processes that enable higher blood levels of the particular hormone.
Human Growth Hormone:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH or GH) is a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland located in the brain. HGH is a very complex hormone made up of 191 amino acids. HGH secretion reaches its peak in the body during adolescence and steadily declines each additional year through a person’s eighties. If you are a numbers person, here are some average HGH secretion levels:
- At 20 years old we average 500 micrograms/day
- At 40 years old we average 200 micrograms/day
- At 80 years old we average 25 micrograms/day
As secretion of HGH lowers, our ability to repair damaged tissue as well as our ability to engage in a number of other positive, powerful metabolic activities declines.
The amount of HGH secreted is a direct result of the ratio of Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone, technically referred to as Sermorelin, versus Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone, technically referred to as Somatostatin. This is probably a new concept to most everyone. The literature is absolutely full of talk about HGH increasing substances but there is almost never a mention of the equally important counterbalance, that being, the hormone that actually inhibits HGH release. It stands to reason that interfering with the inhibitory chemical is at least as important, if not more so, than simply increasing systemic HGH.
Let’s talk, first, about increasing HGH. Secondly, we will discuss the absolutely essential matter of blocking the effects of Somatostatin, the HGH inhibiting hormone.
The most obvious way of increasing circulating amounts of HGH is with synthetic HGH injections. We refer to this as Recombinant Growth Hormone Therapy. All this really amounts to are subcutaneous injections of a lab synthesized biosynthetic hormone that is identical to naturally occurring human growth hormone. A company called Genentech made the first synthetic GH in 1985 but it was a 190 amino acid match; they were one amino acid off from natural HGH. One year later Eli Lilly patented a 191 amino acid hormone that was identical to the HGH produced by the pituitary gland. The drug is called Humatrope and is the most widely used recombinant growth hormone today.
HGH injections are extraordinarily expensive, often causing the average patient over $30,000 a year. I know many people obtaining Humatrope far less expensively in Mexico or certain Latin American nations (less than 1/10 the cost of the same product in the US) but they still need a dosage regime still costing me close to $200.00 every 8-10 days to see results.
Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1. IGF-1 is also known as Somatomedin-C. IGF-1 is directly synthesized from HGH. As important as HGH is, it does not last long in our bloodstream. In fact, in just a few short minutes, our liver absorbs HGH and converts it into other growth factors. IGF-1 is the most important growth factor that is produced from HGH. You can think of HGH as the hormone that gets the ball rolling, but IGF-1 as the hormone that does most of the does most of the work. Therefore, it is not surprising that, in theory, IGF-1 injections will do for you what GH does-and a whole lot more. After injecting IGF-1, it is expected that you will see increases in lean body mass, fat reduction, bone building and increased muscle and nerve repair.
IGF-1 is also thought to improve glucose metabolism. As its name indicates IGF-I, or insulinlike growth factor-I, has similar properties to insulin, and it has improved blood sugar profiles in type 2 diabetic patients.
One of the most exciting potential uses of IGF-1 is the repair of peripheral nerve tissue that has been damaged by injury or illness. If a nerve is torn in the arm or leg, the connection to the muscle is impaired, there is loss of movement and the muscle atrophies. While peripheral nerves can regenerate to a small extent, severe tears of more than a few millimeters may result in permanent injury. Fantastically, IGF-1 has repaired and reconnected severed nerve endings of up to a distance of 6 millimeters, an effect previously thought impossible.
Additionally, in studies of cells in culture and in animals, IGF-1 has been shown to have remarkable effects on the spinal cord motor neurons. It increased motor neuron activity in spinal cord cultures by 150 to 270 percent and it increased intramuscular nerve sprouting a whopping tenfold when it was given to normal adult rats.
Unfortunately, as interesting as all this sounds, injections of Somatomedin-C are ridiculously expensive and nearly impossible to find. I imagine that no one sells it because very few could afford the price.
As with most pharmaceutical agents, there are nutrient manufacturers trying to convince you that their combination of aminos or their extracts of deer or elk antler works even better than the drug. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to try things, I know, I’ve made a life-long study of such things.
Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH)
GHRH is the faucet that turns on human growth hormone in the body, so it stands to reason that it may be the most natural method for inducing a rise in HGH levels. Synthetic GHRH is made by Serano Laboratories in Nowell, Massachusetts and is sold under the brand name of Geref. It has only limited approval as a drug in the United States; that approval granted for the treatment of Growth Hormone deficiencies in children.
I can give GHRH a strong and hearty stamp of approval. I have found that injecting GHRH leads to near immediate results. You can see the change in musculature and in adipose tissue within three to five days. Muscle definition increases very dramatically and fatty tissue is reduced. The fat just burns away. It gave me increased energy and strength in the gym while making me feel, literally, like a teenager.
If you are having trouble conceptualizing GHRH, think of it as an umbrella with Growth Hormone under it, and below that insulin growth factors 1 and 2, and under that the myriad growth factors, which carry out the specific actions on the cells and tissues of the body. Therapeutically, it is difficult to imagine anything working better than GHRH injections.
Dr. Emiliano Corpas and his colleagues at the Gerontology Research Center, Francis Scott Key Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that twice-daily subcutaneous injections of GHRH restored the levels of growth hormone and IGF-1 levels in older men to that of men three decades younger. All the older men had reduced levels of GH and IGF-1 to start. The study was set up so that the older men were given injections of either low dose GHRH (.5 milligram) or high dose (1 milligram) twice daily for fourteen days, then no treatment for another fourteen days. At that point those who had gotten low doses received high doses and vice versa for another two-week period. At the end of the study period, the men who received the high dose of GHRH had levels of growth hormone peaks and IGF-1 that were comparable to those of the younger groups. None of the subjects reported any problems or side effects with GHRH and there were no adverse changes in function, such as increased blood glucose or blood pressure. The researchers concluded that “short term subcutaneous administration of GHRH to healthy old men reverses age-related decreases in HGH and IGF-1, suggesting that prolonged treatment could improve age-related alterations in body composition.”
Another group of researchers found that doses of only 80 micrograms of GHRH given intravenously were enough to raise growth hormone levels significantly in a group of young healthy men without causing unwanted side effects. There was no difference in GFI response above that dosage.
It has been tested on animals as well as humans. For example, in pigs, it increased the muscle weight by 16 percent and decreased fat weight by 25 percent. It also increased skin and bone weights by 29 percent and 19 percent, respectively. While the researchers in this case were interested in producing leaner pork, presumably what works for Ms. Piggy should work for us as well.
Right now GHRH is being used almost entirely for research purposes. It is available in synthetic form from Serano Laboratoriy. and Hoffman-La Roche. And it is sold in pharmacies across the border in Mexico. More studies, including long-term treatment, have to be carried out in humans before the hormone can be sold for therapeutic purposes. But the potential is great for GHRH because it more closely mimics the way growth hormone is released in the body, and the studies of the Baltimore group show that it can actually reverse the loss of growth hormone that occurs with age.
I am aware of only one proven natural precursors to real GHRH although the rest of the marketing world hasn’t quite caught up to this natural substance. There is no doubt in my mind that in the coming months we will all be bombarded with some outlandish marketing claims from the less reputable nutrient hucksters, however, they it will not be a substitute for the real precursor.
Earlier we discussed Somatostatin or Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone. Since this naturally occurring hormone increases with age and inhibits the release of a number of critical substances including HGH, insulin and gastrin; it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the negative role this hormone plays in our health and general vigor.
Unfortunately, since this is a relatively new field of biochemical study, there are no current pharmaceuticals offered for sale to lessen the inhibitory effects of Somatostatin in healthy adults. In fact, there will never be, as the FDA does not recognize HGH promotion in healthy adults as a valid medical issue for clinical trials to be undertaken.
Furthermore, there are no known nutrients that directly block Somatostatin. But there is hope in that we know that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine markedly interferes with Somatostatin. In other words, as acetylcholine levels rise, Somatostatin falls and as acetylcholine levels fall, Somatostatin absolutely skyrockets. It appears then that keeping acetylcholine levels high is the best way to lower the negative effects of Somatostatin and increase the positive effects of HGH precursors.
There is a preponderance of clinical findings indicating that acetylcholine levels can be increased by ingesting 50 mcgs. of Huperzine A. Additional studies indicate simple Choline to be effective in this regard as well. To achieve maximal HGH secretion it is important to take the Huperzine A anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours before taking any Growth Hormone promoter (such as GABA or a real secretagogue) or any direct injection of HGH.
We recognize that there are a great many people who begin thinking about anti-aging, not to prolong their lives but to look younger, longer.
Cosmetic Aspects to Anti-Aging:
Everyone is aware that with age, come wrinkles.
There is no particular age that wrinkles become noticeable for everyone. There are simply too many individual variables to make sensible predictions.
Most importantly, there is your individual genetic code. Your genetic code predisposes you to wrinkle early in life, at an average age or late in life. I have a good friend who just turned 23 and is becoming self-possessed by the number of small wrinkles that are forming in her face. She is “showing age” before most. Yet my Mom, who at 92, was virtually wrinkle free. Heredity can be a great gift or a painful burden and this fact is as true with your skin and hair, as it is with height, weight or health.
A second set of factors that determine wrinkles are traceable to the environment. For example, there is no doubt that the sun causes wrinkles. The more sunlight you get, the more likely you are to wrinkle. This factor is so powerful that many women concerned with keeping a wrinkle free face refuse to go outdoors with a sunscreen. While sunscreens will help to delay the onset of wrinkles and help to keep wrinkling to a minimum, remember, no one can avoid wrinkles. They are an inevitable part of the aging process. Another strong environmental factor is stress. When your body is under high stress, you secrete chemicals that are damaging to your skin. The more stress you have, the faster your wrinkles appear and the worse they become.
Other factors influencing wrinkles are rapid weight loss, lack of sleep, cigarette smoking (including second hand smoke), repeated consumption of foods containing certain additives and pollution in the air.
My goal will be to teach you how to avoid accelerating your natural timeline of wrinkling and what to best do about turning back the process, once it begins.
Ready to learn the dark secrets of facial aging? Ok, here we go.
- The skin is comprised of 3 layers;
- Epidermis – outer layer
- Dermis – middle layer
- Subcutaneous Tissue – inner layer
The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin. This is the layer of skin that flakes off and regenerates itself, as a normal matter of course. While most people think of wrinkles as being on the surface of the skin, actually, the epidermis is less important than the other skin areas, comparatively speaking, when considering wrinkles.
The dermis contains the connective tissue of the skin, in other words, its supporting structure. There are different types of connective tissue, each with a different function. For example, in the dermis you can find collagen which gives the skin strength, glycosaminoglycan proteins which give the skin turgor and elastin fibers that give the skin spring. The dermis is a very important layer of skin for wrinkles.
There is an important structure lying between the dermis and epidermis that is called, appropriately enough, the dermal-epidermal juncture. This interlocking area has fingerlike projections called rete ridges. The rete ridges increase the surface area of the epidermis that is exposed to the nutrient containing blood vessels from the dermis.
The subcutaneous layer of the skin is the bottom layer and it contains the fat cells. The fat cells insulate the body and help the skin look full and wrinkle free. Young wrinkle free skin has an appropriate number of fat cells in the subcutaneous layer. It has adequate rete ridging helping to deliver nutrients to the skin. It has great structural support. And it is constantly rejuvenating itself.
Then aging happens.
- Your epidermis becomes thinner, making wrinkles and imperfections in your skin appear more prominent.
- Your collagen begins to break down, weakening the skin.
- Your elastin fibers loosen, creating less rebound in the skin.
- Rete Ridges flatten out, creating less surface area to the skin and therefore less nutrient availability.
- Sweat glands and oil glands atrophy while sebaceous glands enlarge…all decreasing the natural moisture in the skin.
- Fat cells begin to atrophy are not able to “fill in” the aging damage produced in the other layers. This causes the skin to sag and serious wrinkle lines to form.
All these natural events cause wrinkles. And sadly, overtime, as nature takes its course, wrinkling gets worse and worse.
Let’s pause for a minute and consider the term “wrinkles” more specifically. There are five main types of facial wrinkles:
- Forehead Lines – these are located on the forehead and run horizontally across the forehead. Forehead lines occur naturally with age but are made worse with repeated facial movements such as raising your eyebrows.
- Frown Lines – these are located on the forehead between the eyes and above the bridge of your nose. They run vertically down the forehead and are made worse with repeated unconscious frowning.
- Crows Feet – these radiate from the side of the eyes and travel back toward the eyes. Crow’s Feet can be made worse by squinting.
- Lip Lines – they occur above the upper lip and can run horizontally or vertically, often appearing as networks of cracks radiating from the upper lip.
- Oral Commissures – these are deep wrinkle lines that appear as vertical crevices on both sides of the mouth. They are often referred to as “smile lines,” since smiling makes them far more pronounced. The wrinkles occur as a result of the aging process, as described earlier, and are made worse by repeated facial movements such as smiling, frowning or raising the eyebrows.
Now that you know what wrinkles are and where they appear, it is time to learn what do about them.
LESSON 1: Moisturize.
The most important and most fundamental thing you need to do to combat wrinkles is to moisturize the skin of your face. Let me state that more emphatically: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. This is especially true in the immediate area of the wrinkles. If your facial skin is losing moisture, you are fighting a losing battle. Avoid using soaps and harsh cleaners on your face and moisturize your skin whenever possible.
Related to this moisturizing rule is your choice of a good wrinkle crème. If you try one out and it doesn’t feel like an excellent moisturizer, then throw it out or use it somewhere else, like on your feet. For a wrinkle crème to have a chance to work, it should be an excellent moisturizing crème as well.
LESSON 2: Sunscreen.
Use a sunscreen on your face.
This is a hard, fast rule. Again, use a sunscreen on your face. Did you notice that I didn’t say when going out in direct sunlight for prolonged periods, use a sunscreen? Or use a sunscreen when you are not planning to wear a hat and sunglasses? Or use a sunscreen whenever you go outdoors? No, I didn’t say any of that. I said, use a sunscreen on your face. That means everyday, always.
You might wonder why? I am sure that you have been taught that the sun is damaging to your skin but, actually, that is not the true story. The truth is that certain types of light are damaging to your skin, and it just so happens that the sun provides these damaging light wavelengths.
First there is UVB light. UVB light comes from direct sunlight and is best known for being responsible for that dry, red, inflamed painful condition we have all experienced, sunburn. Actually, the effects of UVB don’t normally travel much beyond that annoying burn. Damages to the skin, aging and skin cancer are actually due in most part to a second type of light the sun provides, UVA light.
UVA light is tricky. It attacks your skin on both bright and seemingly cloudy days. It reflects off surfaces and the reflected UVA is as bad as the direct light. In fact, UVA comes in through windows and attacks the skin so your face is not safe in the car or even in the home.
Once wrinkles begin to form, UVA light is a natural accelerator for wrinkling. Repeated exposure to the UVA, even during simple tasks like walking through town or sitting in your car, will speed wrinkling along. If that is not bad enough, the damage to your skin from UVA is irreversible.
But I am not done yet; both UVB and UVA light will also dry out your skin nearly as fast as a harsh detergent soap will.
Although we all love the sun, not to mention daylight, if you are serious about preventing wrinkles and, in fact, improving them, you have to use a sunscreen on your face. It’s that simple. Don’t panic and stay indoors…just wear the sunscreen everyday, always.
Now, here is the catch…..most sunscreens don’t protect your face from the harmful, aging effects of UVA light. Most all sunscreens, even the SPF 15 products you have been taught to buy, only block UVB light. They are useless against UBA light. Useless, as in no protection at all.
You need to use a UVA sunscreen. Unfortunately, there are very few products on the market that are labeled specifically as UVA screens. You need to determine the effectiveness of the product, yourself, by looking at the ingredient list.
You will have a UVA screen in your hand if the ingredient list contains any of the following main UVA blockers:
- Avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789)
- Mexoryl® SX (terephtalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid)
Only buy a product that contains one of these ingredients. If you buy any other type of product you are protecting yourself from sunburn but are not protecting yourself at all from wrinkling or sun damage.
LESSON 3: Washing Your Face
Your mother probably taught you to scrub your face hard, once or twice a day. She probably had you using soap and water. As you got older, you might have switched to a mild soap but increased the heat of the water.
Believe it or not, Mom was wrong. Washing your face strips your skin of moisture. Washing your face with tap water containing chlorine causes oxidative damage to your skin. As you heat up the water, the more powerful the chlorine becomes and the more damage occurs to your skin.
When you wash your face, I recommend that you use a very milk skin cleanser with warm water or even distilled water. Distilled water has no chlorine added and is available in gallon jugs from every supermarket.
LESSON 4: Smoking
Inhaling cigarette smoke damages skin almost as badly as does UVA light. The chemicals in cigarette smoke create a cascade of “free radicals” which cause rapid aging and damage to the skin. While a good antioxidant supplement can limit most of the free radical damage caused by smoking, your skin is better off with you simply “butting out.”
Lesson 5: Evening Behaviors:
Most of the day gravity pulls your skin downward, contributing to sagging and wrinkles. When you sleep on your side or on your stomach the pull of gravity on your face becomes worse, effectively giving it no rest. Sleeping on your back, however, results in minimal gravitational pull and the skin of your face gets rest.
Drinking alcohol in the evening increases capillary leaking allowing water to move from the bloodstream to the tissues of the face. This coupled with the
horizontal position of your body during sleep causes stretching, puffiness and wrinkles in the face.
Commercial Wrinkle Treatments
Tretinoin is short for trans-retinoic acid. Tretinoin is related to Vitamin A but very different in many ways. Tretinoin produces many effects on the skin that Vitamin A cannot. Most importantly, tretinoin increases the effects of epidermal growth hormone (EGH), the natural hormone that stimulates skin growth.
Topical tretinoin is one of the few substances whose anti-aging effects have been solidly documented in many serious clinical research studies. It is available by prescription and sold by the brand names Retin A and Renova.
Fortunately, however, tretinoin is not the only substance that is able to activate retoid receptors in the skin. There are a number of related, yet different substances called retinoids that achieve similar, sometimes better results. Two new retinoids, tazarotene (Tazorac) and adapalene (Differin) have gained wide acceptance by dermatologists. Based on the studies, these retinoids work as well on wrinkles as tretinoin without the possibility of skin irritation with prolonged use.
Buyer Beware! Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are often touted to be very new and cutting edge. And Alpha-Hydroxy Acid formulations often carry with them crazy, high prices. The truth is that there is nothing new about these products. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids have been around for decades and they are incredibly inexpensive ingredients. I have analyzed Alpha-Hydroxy Acid products that are priced anywhere between $60.00 – $150.00 that have only twenty five cents worth of “acids” actually in them.
Let’s talk more about the Alpha-Hydroxy Acid products as, even though they are ridiculously over-priced, you should know more about them so you can make informed decisions regarding their use.
There are two different ways alpha-hydroxy acids are commonly used. The first place you normally find them are in “chemical peels” in the dermatologists office. These are typically 25% solutions. There is good evidence then used weekly for at least a month or longer, they increase skin thickness, improve the quality of elastic fibers and increase the density of collagen. Stated another way, they help wrinkles.
The second place you find alpha-hydroxy acids are at the make up counter in the aforementioned ridiculously over-priced products. Most such products contain a relatively low percentage of AHA’s, usually 5-15 percent. One fact worth noting, the research into products containing less than 8% AHA’s demonstrate no positive effects and the products containing 8-15%
show only modest signs of improvement. And once you get close to that 15% threshold, you are beginning to enter the land of “peels” and they might in fact cause irritation. Are alpha-hydroxy acid products worth using? Perhaps, they are. Are they worth the money? Absolutely not.
As estrogen levels decrease. The skin loses it’s elasticity and smoothness and wrinkles begin to spread rapidly.
The decision to go on estrogen replacement therapy is a complex one requiring careful thought by you and specific consultation with your doctor. There are a number of possible health benefits for some people but also an equal number of health pitfalls for others.
You should be aware, however, that there have been numerous studies demonstrating the positive effect estrogen has on the skin of postmenopausal women. The universal finding is that women taking estrogen have better skin texture and elasticity, and less wrinkles than do women not taking estrogen.
Most everyone has heard about collagen. Some of you may have even purchased one form of a collagen product. Unfortunately, collagen is a very misunderstood product.
First, you should know what collagen is a naturally occurring protein. It is a key structural component of skin, bones, muscles, etc. As with any of the body’s materials, collagen is subject to wear and tear, in other words, it slowly degrades as time passes.
In the skin, when collagen breaks down, specific cells called fibroblasts are called on to produce new collagen to take the place of the old worn out, damaged molecules. This process works very well until we begin to age and the fibroblasts are unable to keep up with the replacement supply. Your skin’s ability to re-make collagen quickly gets increasingly worse when certain factors are present, most notably sun damage, free radical damage, age related hormonal changes, smoking, damaging chemicals, etc. To compensate for a lack of collagen many women turn to collagen related products.
Topical Collagen Products:
Collagen molecules are simply too big to penetrate the skin and reach the dermis. Topical collagen is useless for eliminating or preventing wrinkles, however, it can temporarily fill in lines externally and make wrinkles appear to have been improved. This is very temporary, as its effects will only last, at most, a couple of hours.
Collagen injections are quickly gaining in popularity. The idea here is to inject collagen into the skin, underneath noticeable wrinkles, in a manner that forces the wrinkle upwards thereby rendering them less visible. This procedure does help wrinkled skin appear younger, however, there are problems. First, the collagen that is used is from animal sources so your body might decide to react against it as a foreign invader. That can lead to allergic reactions, or worse, auto-immune disease. Second, since it is foreign to the body it fails to get integrated into your own naturally occurring collagen matrix. This means that the injected collagen breaks down very quickly and the positive cosmetic benefits are eliminated.
Human Collagen Injections:
Recently, biotechnology advances have allowed some women to begin to receive injections of human collagen rather than animal collagen. This is much more expensive but eliminates the chance of triggering auto-immune disease. It also appears to last a bit longer than animal collagen, however, its effects can not be considered as anything more than a transient fix.
Skin Fibroblast Stimulation:
This is, without a doubt, the best most lasting method of combating wrinkles. Stimulating collagen synthesis has repeatedly been shown, in diverse clinical trials, to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. While stimulation of collagen synthesis is both realistic and practical, please understand that it is a complex process. A few ingredients must come together efficiently for the process to work.
First the crème should be a good moisturizing base crème containing vitamin c and a wide spectrum of amino acids, especially collagen critical aminos such as proline, hydroxyproline, lysine and glycine. By themselves, these ingredients would be relatively useless in stimulating collagen synthesis, however, in combination with two other critical ingredients, collagen is able to be made, naturally, far more efficiently.
Second the crème must contain copper peptides. The fact is that as the level of copper in the cells increase, so does collagen production. But since cooper is a toxic element in certain doses, it isn’t wise EVER to take a copper supplement larger than 2 mgs. daily. It would also be counterproductive to use a topical copper skin crème since inorganic copper produces free radicals, which actually produce wrinkles. New technology has solved this problem by binding inorganic copper to peptides, which are small proteins. The result is an organic copper, called GHK-Cu, which is not only safe and healthy for the skin, but also promotes collagen synthesis and actually smoothes wrinkles in the skin. Organic copper peptides, in my opinion, are one of the most promising ingredients for not only preventing skin damage but also “rejuvenating” wrinkled and damaged skin.
The base crème with organic copper is great but to maximize collagen production, you need to do more than simply provide the necessary ingredients. You need to turn on the process as well. Collagen creating fibroblast cells are very responsive to a certain growth factor hormone. That is why the skin of a child or young adult produces more collagen than the skin of an older person. As we age, this growth factor hormone radically diminishes and collagen production halts. The best way we know to stimulate this process, in other words, to turn on the cellular machinery which takes the ingredients listed above and creates collagen is through topical application of a specialized growth factor amino acid called GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid).
GABA is the single most promising ingredient there is in skin care research. Why? It’s simple. When you increase GABA concentrations in the skin, you immediately increase hGH levels as well as other anti-aging growth factors. In simple terms, GABA turns on the machinery that prevents skin damage, repairs skin damage and generally allows your skin to regain some of its youthful look and appeal.
Recently, there have been 2 or 3 wrinkle crèmes introducing GABA as the main active ingredient. They missed the mark, however, in that they were formulated with the idea in mind that GABA will relax the muscle of the face and wrinkles will become less visible. While that is true; it makes a great temporary cosmetic fix, GABA combined with copper peptides and mixed into the appropriate vitamin and amino base, does far more than help you wrinkles disappear temporarily. Such a crème actually improves your skin significantly, in a number of ways.
Elastin is the protein found in skin that is responsible for maintaining the skin’s resilience and elasticity. As elastin levels decrease due to age, skin loses its elasticity and increased wrinkling and sagging can occur.
DMAE is short for dimethylaminoethanol, a substance that occurs naturally in the body and is responsible for synthesizing a very important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. DMAE also stimulates the creation of phosophatidylcholine, an important component of cell membranes.
Most importantly for facial aging, studies have found that DMAE reduces the amount of waste present in cells. This in turn seems to help tighten skin cells.
While the effects of DMAE crème may be noticeable for many people, it is rarely dramatic and is certainly not close to what many manufacturers promise, that being, a face lift in a jar.
C0-Q 10 (Coenzyme Q10) has a number of very important uses in the body. First, it helps produce ATP inside of the cells. Second, it is a powerful antioxidant. CO-Q 10 levels in the body decline with age. What does this mean for the skin?
First, higher levels of CO-Q 10 results in a greater ability to produce collagen, elastin and other critical skin molecules. Second, there is far less damage possible from free radicals when higher level of CO-Q 10 is in skin tissue.
Further good news regarding the skin and CO-Q 10 is that since the molecule size is so small, it is very easy for the skin to absorb it topically.
Although CO-Q 10 is a well established product in nutritional circles, it is very new in the skin care market. In the future, look for this excellent ingredient being added to many cutting edge products.
Glycosoaminoglycans and Proteogylcans
These are molecules whose purpose is to hold moisture in the skin. As natural moisturizers, they help the skin to stay plump while providing support for the skin cells. Some common Gycosaminoglycans are hyaluronic acid, keratin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Proteoglycans are larger molecules which are formed when certain types of gylcosaminoglycans attach to a protein backbone. Supplementing these types of molecules will result in better skin moisturizing than most of the common cosmetic ingredients.
Sebum is an oily secretion produced by sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are tiny glands that sit next to hair follicles. Sebum is secreted directly into the hair follicle which spreads it over the skin and hair.
There is a perfect balance of sebum that everyone should have. Too much sebum, as is common in adolescence, results in oily skin and acne. Too little sebum, which is common in middle and old age, results in skin drying and accelerated wrinkling.
Chi Kung Levels 1 and 2 – Experience the Health Benefits of Chi Kung by Dennis Kelly .
Find out how you can start your Anti-Aging program today.