Reverse aging



Immune system may be key to enhanced longevity.

By: Benjamin Friedrich, M. D.

R ESEARCHERS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF GERIATRICS OF THE GENEVA University Hospitals in Switzerland recently turned a long-held belief concerning longevity on its head. Instead of old age being responsible for health problems, they postulate that the reverse may be true. In other words, health problems may hasten the aging process.

The researchers point out that when the body’s defenses are run down, health complications can tak e hold . This may actually accelerate aging due to the stress on the body’s tissues, defense system, and cells, which become strained to their limits, leaving the body even more susceptible to additional health problems.

However, this new theory offers hope: If we are able to bolster our defense systems, giving them the strength they need to stay healthy, we may be able to age more “slowly” and healthfully . Supplementing one’s diet with specific nutrients could be a powerful method for fortifying the body’s defenses, thereby potentially boosting longevity.



The link between a person’s longevity and his or her internal defense system was suggested by a Swedish longitudinal study involving 102 people ages 86 to 92. At baseline, the defense system activity of all participants was assessed via blood samples . Two years later, 27 participants had died and 75 were still alive. Upon evaluating the data from the participants, the researchers concluded that death may be linked to decreased numbers of helper T cells and B cells, which are needed for antibody production, as well as to elevated suppressor T cell count (Ferguson 1995).

When we come into contact with foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, the body’s defense system springs into action. Helper T cells first identify an invader, then alert the B cells, which produce antibodies. The antibodies then combine with the foreign bodies (antigens), neutralizing them. Other white blood cells quickly circulate, looking for more of the harmful intruders. Once the debris has been cleaned up, suppressor T cells tell all of the cells to stand down and await further instruction.

Unfortunately, as we age, these T or white cells undergo two distinct changes: First, they respond more slowly to invaders; second, their normally precise ratios are thrown out of balance. Most noticeably, the production of helper T cells declines. With fewer helper T cells available, unwanted microbes are more likely to gain a solid foothold before the body can destroy them . In addition, the excess of suppressor T cells that tell the defense system to relax leaves older people especially vulnerable to health problems (Makinodan 1984).


Our defense cells depend on good nutrition to function properly. In a study published in the Journal Immunology, Canadian doctors found that individuals with nutritional deficiencies had a delayed defensive response to microbes as well as a reduced production of helper T cells. However, after these subjects were given the proper dietary ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for eight weeks, they were tested again. This time, the participants had a higher number of helper T cells and a better overall response to antigens (Chandra 1989).

One nutrient that may boost cellular defenses and therefore overall longevity is colostrum, the premilk substance produced by all female mammals, including humans, 24 to 48 hours after giving birth. It contains important protective micronutrients, including several that enhance the function of the body’s defense system. This was shown when clinical virologists in Sweden compared the effects of colostrum, human milk, and formula milk on B cell function. They discovered that both colostrum and human milk enhanced B cell function, while formula milk had no effect (Juto 1985).

Human clinical trials conducted at the University of Texas Medical School suggest that colostrum may suppress various bacterial toxins. Likewise, doctors at the State University of New York in Buffalo found that colostrum supported a protective effect in people suffering from intestinal complications (Clark 1996). A similar inicronutrient, Iactoferrin, may stimulate the body’s defense response by promoting T cell differentiation (Zimecki 1991).


Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw) is a tropical vine found in the rain forests of South America and Asia. C-Med-100 is a concentrated extract of Uncaria. Today, researchers attribute the herb’s benefits to its ability to enhance repair of our cellula r “blueprints” and to nutritionally support production of white blood cells.

For example, researchers in Sweden gave this herb to animals that had been exposed to radiation. After eight weeks, those given Uncaria had enhanced genetic repair compared to the controls (Sheng 2000).

In a human trial demonstrating Uncaria’s ability to nutritionally support higher production of white blood cells, healthy men received the herb daily for six weeks. At the study’s end, an impressive 75% of the men had an elevated count of white blood cells compared with their baseline measurements (Sheng 2000). (For those on hyper-tension medication, it’s advisable to consult your physician before taking Uncaria).

Gabatein, an extract of green tea leaves, contains beneficial compounds such as flavonoids, antioxidants. and catechins, all of which may also help support the body as it fights common health problems. Doctors at the University of Toronto in Canada found that those who consumed green tea moderately had a 44% lower risk of cardiovascular complications than those who didn’t drink tea. Occasional and frequent tea drinkers were also able to maintain healthier cholesterol levels (Trevisanato 2000).


While further research is needed to confirm that chronic health problems may accelerate the aging process, it is gratifying to think that we may be able to influence the way we age simply by boosting the body’s defenses through nutritional supplementation along with a healthy diet and daily exercise.



Vol. 9/No. 9

Reverse Aging

Reverse Aging



By: Steven T. Maroglis, M.D.

I N A COMPELLING NEW REVIEW OF 21 CLINICAL STUDIES PUBLISHED BY THE highly conservative American Heart Journal, German researchers summarized the ability of a natural substance to provide an astonishing degree of support to healthy cholesterol levels. After very painstakingly reviewing data from controlled studies of the breakthrough Cuban discovery policosanol, the University of Bonn researchers reported that policosanol can impact LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 21% to 29% and HDL (“good”)cholesterol by 8% to 15%. Opening a remarkable new window of opportunity for millions of people who are struggling to maintain healthy cholesterol, the researchers point out that there may be even greater advantages to report when policosanol is tested at levels higher than the 10 to 20 milligrams utilized in studies thus far (Gouni-Berthold 2002).

Brilliant new discoveries such as policosanol are seizing worldwide attention as huge segments of the population struggle to find solutions for successful choles-terol management. Building on a framework of natural approaches that shows great promise, many experts recommend specific natural substances, including policosanol, grape seed extract, and a well-tolerated form of niacin (called niacinamide), along with a moderate exercise program and sensible diet.


Like a film star who is “suddenly” discovered by the public—but who has actually been studying and working steadily at developing his craft-----Cuban researchers invested 12 years of intense research that led to the “overnight success” of  policosanol. Extracted from sugar cane wax, policosanol is a mixture of long- chain higher primary alcohols, whose primary active ingredient is octacosanol. According to the Bonn research team it appears that octacosonal may “interfere” with the production of cholesterol in the liver at just the right point in order to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels (Gouni-Berthold 2002).

While the precise mechanism of action is not completely understood, significant evidence suggests policosanol may offer additional beneficial effects, such as encouraging the growth of smooth muscle cells, discouraging the clumping of platelets, and protecting against the oxidation of LDL. All of these potential benefits are promising for keeping arteries healthy, clear and open to the uninterrupted flow of blood needed all over the body (Gouni-Berthold 2002) Other welcome news from this evaluation of over 20 clinica l studies indicates that policosanol presents no health problems, even when taken for up to three years. A good example of policosanol’s benefits can be found in one study with 56 post-menopausal women. While all the women who participated in the study had high cholesterol, only half received policosanol over an eight-week period. The other half took a placebo (fake E pill). At the end of the study, researchers found changes in LDL (bad cholesterol) of up to 26.7% as well as changes in HDL (good cholesterol) among the participants who took 10 milligrams per day of policosanol. Nothing changed in the placebo group. (Mirkin 2001).


Niacinamide. You would be hard-pressed to find any health professional who doesn’t endorse the wonderful benefits of niacin for cholesterol health. However, many people complain about the “flushing effects” that cause a tide of redness to creep up the neck and face and can cause an uncomfortable tingling sensation. To avoid this problem, researchers recommend niacinamide—a much better tolerated form of niacin.

Ever since the American Journal of Cardiology published a major study in 1989, doctors have been thrilled to offer niacin as a natural way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. When 101 individuals with cholesterol and artery problems were given high amounts of niacin for up to eight weeks, researchers noted that one group of study participants experienced many benefits, including a 32% modification in their HDL cholesterol level, which helps balance the LDL cholesterol level—a balance that is vitally important in cholesterol management (Alderman 1989).

Grape seed extract. Grape seed extract is riding the crest of a new wave of interest in the potential for a class of flavonoids known as oligomeric proantho-cyanidins (OPCs). While you may have only recently heard about exciting “new” discoveries relating to the value of OPCs, they are another ‘‘overnight sensation’’ that has emerged from over 30 years of exhaustive research.

Since their discovery by French researcher Dr. Jacques Masquelier in 1948, OPCs have been investigated in depth by European researchers. Their studies suggest that OPCs (which are found in great quantity in grape seed extract) strengthen fragile blood vessels and support blood flow (Wells 2001). In fact, it is in the important arena of troubled blood vessels that grape seed extract offers great promise. Preclinical trials conducted by researchers at the University of California strongly suggest OPCs help reduce problems in the aorta—the main artery leading from the heart. Problems in the aorta are frequently the source of sudden heart emergencies linked with high cholesterol levels (PR Newswire 1998).



Taking control over soaring cholesterol levels is one of the top prionties in Amer-ican health and wellness . With policosanol, niacinamide, and grape seed extract, you have a potent group of substances to assist you in your efforts. What’s more, compelling scientific evidence supports the value of taking these nutrients quite literally “to heart.” When combined with making good lifestyle choices, such as exercise and a well thought out diet, you have an extraordinary plan of action.



Vol. 8 No. 6 2002.

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