Regenerative medicine or anti-aging medicine have been increasingly gaining interest in the public eye. Rightly so, who would not like to stop the clock for some time or even change its direction.
Experts on biology of aging see current research so promising that some famous analysts of science, human events and geopolitics are predicting soon coming immortality.
If this is so, how this new science can benefit us in the practical terms? Can we really get younger or regenerate cells and tissues and restore lost functions of our organs?
Before discussing how we can tap to the fountain of youth, let’s define aging and look why we age in the first place and is it all that bad?
We can define aging is a progressive degenerative disease that eventually affects all our cells and organs.
With the passing of time, byproducts of metabolism, toxic load of heavy metals, chemicals, some pharmaceuticals that cannot be metabolized or removed will burden the cells. Oxidation of proteins and lipids, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin, minerals, essential amino-acids, fatty acids) make the situation even worse.
Consequently, cells make metabolic errors and synthesize defective proteins and lipids which lead to degenerative changes of cells, dysfunction of immune system, damage of connective tissue, brain and eventually all organs.
The toxic loads and metabolic or synthetic errors results from endless list of causes. Here are the common ones:
To understand aging, we also need to look at our genome. The genetic code (DNA) is the book of life written in every cell of our bodies and contains entire library of information how human body is build and function.
This genetic code and the process of transcription (translation to a language that cells can understand) are so sophisticated that make even most devout evolutionists scratch their heads how this could have come about by chance. One single error would turn the entire synthesis of protein into shambles. To eliminate potential errors DNA is equipped with enzymatic repair mechanisms that continuously survey and repair errors. We were “perfectly made” indeed.
Nevertheless, the human race experiences about 60 mutations (genetic errors) per generation that will be inherited by posterity. As a result of these mutations the entire human race is slowly degenerating, becoming weaker, more prone to disease and less intelligent. Please notice that the progress in science what we are witnessing is an accumulation of knowledge and has nothing to do with intelligence. Modern genetics tells us just that. John Sanford eloquently said: “man is perishing in the dying world” in his book “Genetic Entropy and the mystery of genome” which I highly recommend.
There is another “catch” when it comes to aging - telomeres. Telomeres are little tails on both sides of every chromosome which are the stabilizers essential for proper transcription of genetic information. These telomeres must be long to work well, but with each cell division, they become progressively shorter and before we reach adulthood, their length is about half. Also, every disease, toxic load, bad diet, nutritional deficiencies, stress, anger, hostility or fear shorten the telomeres even more.
The good news is that telomeres may be lengthened by an enzyme called telomerase that becomes activated when we live healthy lifestyle: good diet, rest, positive states of mind such as happiness, gratitude, compassion, and kindness.
There are products on the market that supposed to activate telomerase and increase the length of telomeres if someone is willing to spend few hundred dollars per month. It may be some truth in it because some herbal extracts are telomerase activators, however, taking them will be futile without changing lifestyle, diet, and the state of mind.
In the center of the repair and regeneration processes are stem cells, the “omnipotent” cells that can take shape and function of any cells in the body. Stem cells are present in all tissues and can replace any dying cell - at least when we are young and healthy.
When we age, the stem cells age also. They are too subject to toxic load, metabolic errors, mutations, nutritional deficiencies and shortening of telomeres.
So, what is the answer to the question of longevity? First of all, we need to accept that we will have no immortality on this earth and genetic entropy (deterioration of human genome) tells us just that. We cannot save ourselves from death so let’s put this behind us. But by reversing the factors leading to fast aging which we have mentioned, we can get healthier and feel better, we can improve our cognition, regain energy and joy of life. This already will account into age reversal of about 10 years.
But if you belong the baby boomers like myself, do we really want to go back to our 20s or even 30s? Not me, God forbid, if I think about all the confusion of this age, because healthy aging brings pleasure in life. This is the time to gather fruits of life and enjoy experience we gained. Scientific research has shown that intelligence increases with age in healthy brain. Unfortunately, what we see most of the time is more sickness, pain, dementia, confusion, more doctors visits, more medications and fear of future.
How to obtain optimal health and mobilize regenerative mechanism of our bodies, that our Creator gracefully implanted in us I will write in next articles.
Platelets Rich Plasma (PRP):
One interesting use of stem cells is a procedure called PRP frequently done at Medical Frontiers. It requires drawing of blood from a patient’s vain and centrifuge it to extract plasma fraction that is rich in platelets. Subsequently this plasma (PRP) is injected into the tissue which doesn't want to heal causing pain and dysfunction. Platelets are not just clotting factors, but also, they stimulate healing through release growth factors. These platelets derived growth factors stimulate and attract stems cells to the site of injection to repair injury. The procedure is very effective.
It is very important after injection of PRP to use laser therapy. Laser therapy independently stimulates stem cells which enhances the effect of PRP injection. The therapeutic effect is very quick but depends on condition treated. For example, rotator cuff tear even chronic would typically require just one injection if used with laser therapy and full recovery is usually accomplished in three to six weeks. Knee arthritis would need more injections and more time.
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