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Billy Johnson, MD, Ph.D

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Anti-Aging Supplements (Part 1)
By Billy Johnson, MD, Ph.D   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009

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Although you may be exercising and eating well, often it’s necessary to take high grade vitamin/mineral supplements, especially if you live a very busy and stressful lifestyle on a daily basis. As you age, your body loses the production of certain vital factors, such as growth hormones that are critical for maintaining muscle, skin, and youthful appearance in general. Appropriate vital factors, such as minerals, vitamins, and hormones supplements can help you to stay healthy and youthful by rejuvenating your body from the loss of vital enzymes, cofactors, and other substances necessary to strengthen your defenses against aging at the cellular level.

 

ANTI-AGING SUPPLEMENTS
                                                                                                     
A Healthy Diet May Not Be Enough
 
Although you may be exercising and eating well, often it’s necessary to take high grade vitamin/mineral supplements, especially if you live a very busy and stressful lifestyle on a daily basis. As you age, your body loses the production of certain vital factors, such as growth hormones that are critical for maintaining muscle, skin, and youthful appearance in general. Appropriate vital factors, such as minerals, vitamins, and hormones supplements can help you to stay healthy and youthful by rejuvenating your body from the loss of vital enzymes, cofactors, and other substances necessary to strengthen your defenses against aging at the cellular level.
        A healthy diet with regular supplementation providing nutrients, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and detoxifiers can help to boost your energy, vitality, brain and immune function, youthful metabolism, better sleep, and effective defenses against oxidative damage caused by free radicals.  In addition, DNA mutations caused by oxidative stress have a greater chance of being repaired, thereby, reducing cancer risk. DNA repair as mentioned earlier is one of the body’s primary defense mechanisms against the development of cancerit removes potentially cancer causing mutations in cells. Also detoxification of the liver enables this vital organ to remove more toxic wastes causing damaging oxidative stress in your body.
 
Hormones Replacement in Aging
 
A hormone called DeHydroEpiAndrosterone (DHEA) is produced only by humans and other primates. DHEA levels peak in the late 20s and decline with age to 10% of the peak by age 80. DHEA may protect against the harmful effects of cortisol while contributing to the production of androgen and estrogen in peripheral tissues, promoting muscle growth. DHEA also reduces depression and strengthens immune function 
       Growth Hormone (GH) also declines with age (14% per decade after age 25), which is responsible for increased fat deposition, loss of muscle mass and bone demineralization. There is evidence that GH replacement can improve cardiovascular health, boost immune function and improve cognitive function in older adults, but there is also the danger that GH replacement can increase insulin resistance and cancer risk.
       The hormones DHEA, melatonin, thyroid, and Growth Hormone decline with age. Post menopause women experience mood swings, hot flashes and bone loss with the loss of progesterone and estradiol secretion from the ovaries. The levels of neurotransmitters, dopamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, GABA and serotonin decline with age affecting numerous functions, including memory and mood.
 
 Hormonal Replacements
 
As a means of rejuvenation, some experts have suggested the idea of replacing hormones and growth factors to youthful levels. While this idea seems attractive and appealing, but hormonal replacements carry the risk of promoting cancer growth. Since the incidence of cancer increases with age, declining hormone levels may even be beneficial by increasing longevity of the elderly. Perhaps, it will only be safe to replace hormones for rejuvenation when all cancer is eliminated.
 
Anti-Aging Supplements
 
There are a few studies indicating that some supplements may extend the lives of laboratory mammals such as mice, rats or guinea pigs. A compound named Deprenyl has been shown to extend the maximum lifespan of a variety of mammals. Other anti-aging supplements used for this purpose are Deanol, Procaine, Levodopa, Pyridoxine, Phenformin, Phenytoin, Chromium, Pantothenate, Melatonin, Cysteine, Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10. It’s speculated that these supplements work by the following mechanisms:
         Reduce oxidative stress and free radicals
         Reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance
         Reduce sugar glycation
         Strengthen the immune system
         Boost metabolism
         Protect and act on the brain
Other measures include using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), such as androgens, estrogens and growth hormone to youthful levels in order to improve cognitive function and muscle tone, but the drawback is that these hormones promote cancer growth and therefore may be dangerous to use until cancer is preventable and curable. HRT has also been linked with increased risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, DHEA decreases the growth of cancer cells, as well as protects against diabetes, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory obesity. Interestingly, exercise is well-known to boost hormone responses to youthful levels and reduces insulin resistance while improving immune function, lower blood pressure and also improve cardiovascular health. Exercise can also boost rejuvenating Growth Hormone (GH) more effectively than synthetic hormones given by injections. However, excessive strenuous exercise can generate harmful levels of free radicals, while regular endurance exercise protects against free radicals by increasing muscle levels of natural antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione, peroxidase, and glutathione. Vitamin E is believed to be protective against exercise-induced free radicals.
 
 
Vitamins & Supplements
 
Most of us would need vitamin and mineral supplements eating mostly foods deficient in nutrients that do not help our body convert foods into cellular energy. As mentioned earlier, antioxidants and phytonutrients in vegetables and fruits are crucial for fighting free radicals and oxidative stress in our body. As an insurance policy, you should take high grade vitamin and mineral supplements if you are not consistently eating adequate balanced meals. This will help close the gap of nutrient deficiency eating foods probably grown in soil in which minerals are deficient, and fruits are picked before fully ripe.
        As previously discussed most of the vitamins and mineral, including antioxidants necessary to help fight aging and loss of energy can be obtained by routinely eating fresh leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, beans, soy, and whole grains. However, if you are not eating enough foods containing these important micro-molecules, you should not hesitate to routinely supplement your meals. In these chapters, you will find some important supplements you will need. The sources of antioxidant vitamins are either fat soluble (dissolves in fat) or water soluble (dissolves in water). The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K (ADEK). These are stored within fat cells (called adipose tissue) and the liver. Adipose tissues are also the preferred sites for storage of environmental pollutants and carcinogens causing cancer, such as breast cancer. The fat soluble vitamins are often associated with toxicity when large amounts are taken at one time or over an extended period of time. Therefore, taking the proper doses is very important. On the other hand, the water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B-Complex vitamins are water-soluble — they are excreted in the urine when taken in excess amounts and are not usually associated with toxicity. However, both the B vitamins and vitamin C are stored in the liver to some extent.
 
Beta-Carotene
       
Beta-Carotene is converted to the active form called vitamin A. The vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that is needed for healthy vision, skin, nails, hair and immune defense. It is found in yellow-orange or green vegetables and fruits, including carrots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, kale, red peppers, dandelion, kohlrabi, parsley, spinach, turnip greens, mangos, sweet potatoes and apricots. The highest concentrations are found in red palm oil, an edible vegetable oil that you will learn more about later.
 
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid, is a potent water-soluble antioxidant vitamin that helps flush toxins out of the body; strengthens the immune system, blood vessels, collagen and joints; and prevents bleeding gums, varicose veins and the common cold, including fighting bacterial infections. It’s one of foremost antioxidant vitamins involved in promoting longevity. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, and helps protect the fat-soluble vitamins A and E, including the oxidation of fatty acids. Oxidation destroys the structure and function of fatty acids – the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol transforms it into a sticky molecule that adheres to the cell walls of arteries and trigger inflammation.
      Vitamin C is a reducing agent that works with polyphenolic compounds like phytonutrients. It donates the hydrogen atoms that are lost during the reduction (neutralization) of free radicals. In this way it helps to stabilize the reaction that stops the damaging oxidative chain reaction like the one that causes the inflammation of LDL cholesterol. As an antioxidant, vitamin C inhibits the formation of nitrosamines, which are compounds that are carcinogens. It may also prevent or counteract cell damage due to exposure to free radicals and aging.
      Vitamin C is important for the absorption of other nutrients, including calcium from the stomach and intestines into the blood stream. For example, when bound to calcium, it is referred to as "calcium ascorbate" or “calcium citrate” calcium is better absorbed in an acidic environment and explains why certain brand of calcium supplements work better than others. 
      Vitamin C is also important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels, including enhancing the absorption of iron and production of red blood cells. Other wellestablished functions include the proper utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins by the body. Vitamin C is present in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress, lemons, green and red peppers, collard, kale, turnip greens, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, cantaloupe, plum, camu camu, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, berries and papaya.
 
Vitamin E
 
One of the best-studied antioxidant credited for promoting longevity. Vitamin E helps prevent damage to cell plasma membrane, which surrounds and protects all cells—it allows the entry of nutrients into the cell so that energy and useful compounds are synthesized and removes toxic metabolic wastes out of the cell. Vitamin E neutralizes free radical and toxins, improves circulation, endurance, asthmatic symptoms, and helps prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases. It is believed to significantly decrease total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides (fat) when used in combination with proper diet. The vitamin also prevents anemia, and like vitamin A, it’s beneficial for healthy skin, nails, hair and immunity.
        Vitamin E helps protect arteries and fight LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. LDL cholesterol left unchecked can build up in the blood vessels, and oxidizes into damaging free radicals. These unstable molecules can develop into artery-clogging plaque, resulting in atherosclerosis—a leading cause of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Vitamin E, which is fat soluble, absorbs into the fat-based tissue and the arteries of the heart to eliminate the damaging free radicals. In essence, vitamin E keeps the arteries clean and the heart pumping strong and healthy. Its effects are similar to the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids that are also a natural blood thinner that reduces the threats of blood clots in the arteries.
        Vitamin E also protects other molecules, including vitamin A and essential fatty acids,   from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues, which can lead to disease. Recent research has indicated that higher doses of 1,200 units are effective in preventing or slowing memory loss, such as seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a degenerative brain disease with a root cause of brain-clogging plaques. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been beneficial in slowing progress of memory loss and dementia.
      Vitamin E is found in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, almond oil, canola oil, hazelnuts, asparagus, avocado, soybeans and mangos. Supplemental vitamin E is available in natural or synthetic form. The natural forms have the prefix d-, as in d-alpha-tocopherol, whereas, the synthetic forms have the prefix dl-, as in dl-alpha-tocopherol. The natural form is more effective and you should read the label to choose the right form of the vitamin. Experts claim that vitamin E is considered safe at dosages of up to 1,000 IU daily, but first consult with your physician, particularly, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, heparin or aspirin. The standard dosage is 400 IU, and for those with heart disease, 800 IU.
 
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
 
This is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body create energy and increase metabolism. Every cell in the body needs CoQ10 to create energy and it is naturally present in all the tissues of the body. CoQ10 helps the heart utilize oxygen more efficiently, increases endurance, decreases fatigue, and helps protect HDL and LDL from damaging oxidation that makes the molecules sticky. It appears to also lower high blood pressure. It probably works in combination with other antioxidants, like folic acid, beta-carotenes, vitamin E and C, including vitamins B6, B12, and the minerals selenium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
     In addition to increasing cellular energy production, CoQ10 is also believed to promote healthy skin and longevity. The recommended dosage is 30-60 mg daily. Higher doses of 60-120 mg daily are recommended for heart disease and high blood pressure. Doses up to 400 mg daily have been used for potential prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The rich food sources of CoQ10 are meat, poultry and fish. Other relatively rich sources include canola oil, soybean oil, sesame seeds, and nuts like peanuts and pistachios. Vegetables, fruits, eggs and dairy products also contain a modest amount of CoQ10.
 

Food Type
Serving size
CoQ10 (mg)
Beef
3 oz
2.6
Herring
3 oz
2.3
Chicken
3 oz
1.4
Soybean
1 tbsp
1.3
Canola oil
1 tbsp
1.0
Rainbow trout
3 oz
0.9

 
 
               B-Complex Vitamins for Energy
 
Convert Food into Energy and Stabilize Mood
 
The B-complex vitamins are a group of eight vitamins, which include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid and biotin. These vitamins are essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose to provide energy for the body. They also support the breakdown of fats and proteins into cellular energy and reusable compounds, which provide recycled raw materials for synthesis of new compounds used to strengthen the nervous system and other organs. 
       The B complex vitamins are important to the body for many reasons. They generate energy from food and play a role in ensuring healthy brain and nerve function. By helping to convert food into energy, they boost metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, and prevent mood swings, craving, anxiety, nervousness, premenstrual syndrome and water retention. In general, they help body cells grow properly and converting food into energy that is used to sustain life and optimum health. Some of the B vitamins also appear to help strengthen the immune system, inhibit formation of blood clots, and play an antioxidant role.
       The B-vitamins are often called the "stress" vitamins because the body specifically uses them to combat stress. When your body is under severe physical or emotional stress, the B-vitamins and other key nutrients are the first to be depleted. As a result, not getting enough B vitamins can cause mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, fatigue, poor memory, and low energy. Lack of B-vitamins is even linked to poor growth of hair and nails. Other conditions that are seen as a result of B-vitamin deficiency are inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), ringing in the ear (tinnitis), inflammation of the large intestine (diverticulitis), and over sensitivity to stress.
        High levels of the B vitamins seem to raise the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. As a result, people feel better and happier when they take high doses of multivitamins, particularly the B complex vitamins sometimes in dosages up to 10 times the recommended daily allowance or RDA. The B-vitamins may not only help Omega-3 fatty acids to enhance the production of mood enhancing serotonin and endorphins, but also help to maintain a steady level.
       Toxicity with the B-vitamins is rare even at relatively high dosages because they are excreted in the urine, except for people with poor kidney functions. The dosages typically found in high potency B-complex multiples are safe. The best way to take the B-vitamins is in supplemental B-complex form, particularly if you require high doses of a particular B-vitamin. Usually a single dose of B-complex 100 mg daily may be adequate to support the nervous system and prevent mood and energy disturbances from occurring.  
       Severe vitamin B deficiency is more likely to be expressed as a series of symptoms, instead of single organ-specific symptoms. Only the most severe deficiency cases result in the classical deficiency symptoms of pellagra and beriberi that are now rarely seen in industrialized nations. However, if you are not getting enough or not adequately replacing depleted B vitamins it can cause anxiety, trigger craving and emotional eating, low energy and even depression. Most people generally get enough B vitamins from their diet to avoid deficiency symptoms. The exceptions are people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol, smokers, women who take contraceptive pills, the elderly, children treated with antibiotics, and people who consume a lot of refined grains, pasta and bread made from refined white flour and refined sugars. Children in particular, require B vitamins for normal growth and development since these vitamins are essential for the renewal of cells.  
The B vitamins can be beneficial in treating the following conditions:
  • Anxiety, irritability and increased sensitivity to stress
  • Low energy, weakness and fatigue
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Sugar craving, hunger pangs and overeating
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)—characterized by mood swings. irritability, sugar and chocolate craving, headache, backache, bloating and water retention
  • Post-partum depression—characterized by irritability, emotional disturbances and severe depression—is believed to be due to hormonal imbalance and often treated with anti-depressants like Wellbutrin or Prozac. This condition may be due largely to depletion of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) and B vitamins during and after pregnancy. Perhaps, a combination of therapy that involves low dose of anti-depressants, high doses of Omega-3 fatty acids and B-complex vitamins will be more effective treatment if it also accompanied by an anti-inflammatory diet and tailored physical activity
  • Decrease sexual drive and menopausal symptoms including severe mood swings, hot flashes, memory loss and sleep problems
  • Poor growth of hair and nail
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Inflammation of the skin (dermatitis)
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
 
Spirulina (A Source of B Vitamins)
 
Spirulina is a type of blue-green microscopic algae that flourishes in warm climates and warm alkaline water in most lakes and ponds. African natives, Asians and Mexicans have consumed it for thousands of years with no known adverse effects. Spirulina is a potent source of protein and is considered a complete protein because about 62% of its makeup consists of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It is also rich in other nutrients including vitamin E, beta-carotene, B complex vitamins, selenium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and Gamma linolenic Acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid. GLA from Spirulina can help to lower blood cholesterol levels far more than that of Linolenic Acid found in plant oils, such as borage and primrose oils. Moreover, the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in Spirulina are absorbed at a faster rate into the blood stream than that found in meat or other sources.
       Spirulina is the world’s highest source of vitamin B12, and contains 250% more vitamin B12 than animal liver. In addition, its concentration of beta-carotene is 20-25 times more than that of carrots. Spirulina has been used to enhance immune function such as increasing production of antibodies, cytokines, and other molecules that improve immunity by fighting infections and chronic diseases such as cancer. It is a rich source of iron and may promote production of hematopoiesis, which is the process by which red blood cells form and develop in the bone marrow. This stimulation of iron production along with the B-vitamin complex could also be responsible for the dramatic increase in energy after taking a Spirulina supplement.
       It appears that Spirulina may protect against allergic reactions by preventing the release of histamines, which are inflammatory compounds that cause allergy symptoms, such as a watery eyes, runny nose, hives, and soft-tissue swelling.
       Laboratory studies suggest that Spirulina can promote the growth of benign bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and other probiotics that protect the intestinal track against harmful bacteria and yeast. This property is interesting since it is well known that conventional antibiotics used to treat pathogenic bacterial infections also destroy the protective bacteria and other probiotics, which sometimes cause diarrhea and loss of calcium, potassium and other electrolytes. 
       Spirulina is available in tablets or powder form and most of the Spirulina consumed in the United States is cultivated in laboratories. There are many different Spirulina species. The most commercially available products are cultivated in Mexico (Spirulina maxima) and in California (Spirulina platensis). The label does not always states where they are cultivated. Seek the advice of your physician before using Spirulina. The standard dosage is 4 to 6 tablets (500 mg each) per day. There are no known adverse reactions from taking Spirulina, even in large doses.
 
 
 Coming Soon:
Excerpted from “New Anti-Aging & Longevity: Better Health, Longevity, Vibrant Energy & Libido”.       Billy C. Johnson MD, Ph.D,  Kurt Jones MD, FACOG, & Peter Cherici.  March, 2009                                                                                                             
 

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/30/2009
well done



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