Sunday, July 10, 2011

Practical applications in anti-aging

One nice aspect of aging conferences is that there are usually a few gems of information that can be applied immediately in humans. Several actionable solutions were highlighted at the 40th annual meeting of the American Aging Association held June 3-6, 2011 in Raleigh NC USA (conference summary), in the areas of pharmaceuticals, nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and fasting.

In summary, hypertension drug losartan may help sarcopenia, the healthier fats and antioxidants in walnuts, blueberries, and nectarines may facilitate health, hot tubs may reduce blood pressure, endurance exercise is better for older adults, and protein restriction may be the best form of caloric restriction.
In detail...
  • In pharmaceuticals, the prescription drug losartan (an angiotensin receptor blocker) is typically used to treat hypertension and high blood pressure. It may also have anti-aging benefits in combating sarcopenia and frailty by improving muscle remodeling and grip strength.
  • In nutrition, recommendations were for walnuts, blueberries, and nectarines. Walnuts are good because they are the only nut containing a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and because they are mainly composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, both omega-3 and omega-6) rather than monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), as most other nuts. Blueberries continue to be an important suggestion for anti-aging. They contain anthocyanins, antioxidants which may prevent inflammation and help to improve brain signals and memory function. The 2011 Blueberry Health Study reported that individual cognitive performance improved 1% over a one year period from consuming one half cup to two cups of blueberries per day. Necatrines (and acai) also have antioxidant properties and have been found to reduce oxidative damage and improve longevity in Drosophila melanogaster (Boyd, Free Radic Biol Med, 2011).
  • A lifestyle anti-aging remedy was found in nonhuman primates. Heated hydrotherapy, e.g.; jacuzzis, two times a week for 30 minutes at 39-41 degrees C, induced heat shock response (which declines with age) and increased production of heat shock proteins 70 and 90 which resulted in reduced blood pressure.
  • Exercise is always a good anti-aging improvement especially since 60% of U.S. adults over 60 have insufficient physical activity. Type II fibers (fast-twitch) are most vulnerable to aging so instead of trying to improve these, for older adults, it is better and easier to maintain Type I fibers associated with endurance exercise. For example, 70-80 year olds running 2-3 miles a few times a week had the glucoregulation profiles of sedentary adults in their 20s.
  • Fasting, especially amino acid (e.g.; protein) deprivation, before chemotherapy and surgery was found to help in reducing injurious impact.

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