Anti-wrinkle creams, Hormone shots, Herbal supplements and other anti-aging related breakthroughs.
Today, a number of products – including beauty and wellness products, specific diets, and drugs and supplements – are promoted to have anti-aging properties.
In this article, we review some of the latest anti-aging methods, technologies, and products to find out which ones are actually effective and which ones are not.
Among all of the anti-aging interventions out today, dietary interventions have shown the best potential. Calorie restriction – without malnourishing the individual – has been shown to slow the aging process and expand the average lifespan in animals of diverse origin.
Researchers reported that restricting the food intake in rats extended their medium and maximum lifespan and decreased the onset and severity of chronic illnesses. Furthermore, succeeding findings emphasized that calorie restriction has an effect on lifespan in a broad range of organisms .
In humans, the positive effects of calorie restriction has also been shown in several studies. Calorie restriction while maintaining a well-balanced diet has beneficial effects, such as protecting against the development of hypertension, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In a controlled study, calorie restriction with high levels of physical activity showed a decrease in body weight, insulin levels, blood pressure, and other physiological and anthropometric parameters. However, the mechanisms by which calorie restriction induces life-extending and anti-aging properties are not fully understood yet.
Hormone levels decrease with age, and this process is linked to decreased secretion from the adrenals, gonads, and pituitary gland. Decreased hormone levels are linked with decreases in muscle mass, bone mineral density, sexual desire, intellectual activity, and erectile function. In this context, hormone therapies and supplements have been widely used to help reverse the effects of aging.
- Estrogen Therapy
Approximately two-thirds of women suffer from uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal dryness or hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is used to reduce such symptoms. Estrogen therapy with or without a progestogen (progestin and progesterone), has long been prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms. Estrogen comes in many forms, including pills, patches, topicals, gels, sprays, and creams.
- Testosterone Therapy
Low testosterone levels in older men has been linked to various age-related conditions. For instance, studies show that osteoporosis are more common in older men with low plasma testosterone levels. Thus, testosterone replacement therapy is beneficial as it can increase strength, muscle mass, and bone mass density in older men. Aside from its physical benefits, testosterone therapy has also been shown to improve cognitive function, including working memory, spatial, verbal, and visuospatial function in elderly men.
The free radical theory of aging is one of the popular theories of aging. Essentially, when oxygen is used to make energy in human cells, it releases reactive compounds known as free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species.
To fight reactive oxygen species, cells possess a variety of defenses known as antioxidants, many of which can be extracted or synthesized, purified, then sold – typically in tablets, such as anti-aging drugs. Common antioxidants include Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as Coenzyme Q10. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough evidence to provide that these products actually work. For instance in mice, many studies indicate that antioxidants do not slow the aging process, although they can sometimes slightly increase longevity. Other studies show that Vitamin C supplementation does not affect lifespan in mice.
On the other hand, resveratrol and other constituents of red wine can also act as antioxidants and might be protective agents of brain aging. These studies show that antioxidants might be healthy in the same way that vitamin supplements, often including antioxidants, may be healthy.
Stem cells have received widespread attention in recent years. This fame is partly due to the huge potential of stem cells for regenerative medicine . The possibility of using stem cells to treat age-related diseases and for rejuvenation is also fascinating.
Having said that, and while stem cell dysfunction/depletion is thought to play a role in aging , there is no evidence that stem cell-based anti-aging treatments will work. Preparing and/or harvesting stem cells for treatments is complicated and much work remains to optimize proper protocols.
However, stem cells have been shown to be useful in other areas. For instance, marrow- and blood-derived stem cells have been successfully used in some cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases . Remarkably, mesenchymal stem cells transplanted from young donors has been shown to extend lifespan in mice .
However, stem cell applications are still in its infancy and has a long way to go before physicians can employ stem cells for anti-aging purposes.
Recent research has shown that rapamycin, a drug that has long been used as an immune suppressor, may also slow human skin aging . A small clinical trial found that regularly applying rapamycin to the backs of the hands can reduce wrinkles and sagging, as well as improve skin tone.
Furthermore, after 8 months, most of the hands that had received rapamycin showed an increase in collagen and lower levels of a marker of aging in skin cells compared to those who received placebo.
Researchers concluded that rapamycin treatment shows a clear impact on skin aging – both at the clinical and molecular levels.
However, the researchers pointed out that these findings are just the early stage of their research and that they need to do a lot more testing before they can say how best to apply rapamycin to delay aging. Researchers foresee rapamycin applications that include enhancing human performance and extending the lifespan.
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The Guide to a Long, Healthy Life
At present, there is no magic pill that delays the aging process. However, that is not to say that there are not simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments that can make you live longer.
Most components of a healthy lifestyle are already well-known – exercising regularly; getting enough sleep; and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and low in fats and carbohydrates is likely to help you live longer. Conversely, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise are all associated with higher mortality. One study showed that middle-aged individuals who adopted a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), eating more fruits and vegetables daily, and not smoking experienced lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as medical advice. If you want to undergo any of the treatments or take any of the products mentioned here, you should consult your doctor first. Also, make sure to consult your doctor before taking any ‘anti-aging’ supplements, vitamins, creams, serums, and other related products.