Anti-Aging

This topic is part of a series of health-related topics with a focus on anti-aging. Most of the source material comes from a weekly eletter from the economist Patrick Cox who has an investment advisory service for the biotechnology field with Mauldin Economics.

General Discussion

In the following articles, Patrick Cox gives a brief overview of the state and implications of anti-aging and age-reversal research:

The Role of Mitochondria

A recent process (read: Why Three-Parent Babies Could Help Restore Health to the Aged) to replace the damaged mitochondria in a woman’s ovum with the mitochondria of a donor by DNA swapping has lead to a foetus that is biologically more healthful. Patrick Cox discusses mitochondria in general and this application in particular[1]. The faster mutation rate of mitochondria (than the host cell DNA) is seen as a driver of accelerated aging.

In the past few years, several promising molecules have been found that improve conditions for mitochondrial communication and function.such as nicotinamide riboside and oxaloacetate. Other promising compounds are also being studied including humanin, a peptide-signaling molecule manufactured naturally by mitochondria.

“Another recent finding has to do with the long-running controversy about free radicals. Scientists refer to them as reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are used by the immune system to fight certain diseases. But chronic overproduction of ROS (especially hydrogen peroxide) is a major cause of autoimmune disease. We now know that most of the excess production of ROS occurs in mitochondria.”

Patrick Cox further discusses aspects of the role of mitochondria in the aging process and avenues of research that mitigate the effects of aging including Oxaloacetate and Calorie Restriction: Fasting, Artificial Intelligence, and Oxaloacetate.

Other Links

Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition (CRON)

In Thanksgiving, Famine, and the Fasting Mimicking Diet, Patrick discusses the benefit of a periodic calorie restricted diet, namely significantly improved health and increased life spans. A diet developed by biogerontologist Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute (read: Diet that mimics fasting appears to slow aging) entails five consecutive days of artificial famine. This is not calorie restriction, which entails just enough food to survive. Longo’s diet is five consecutive days consuming about one-third of normal caloric intake. Some comments on the fasting mimicking diet (FMD):

Longo and his colleagues show that cycles of a four-day low-calorie diet that mimics fasting (FMD) cut visceral belly fat and elevated the number of progenitor and stem cells in several organs of old mice — including the brain, where it boosted neural regeneration and improved learning and memory.

Bimonthly cycles that lasted four days of an FMD which started at middle age extended life span, reduced the incidence of cancer, boosted the immune system, reduced inflammatory diseases, slowed bone mineral density loss and improved the cognitive abilities of older mice tracked in the study.

In a pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects, according to Longo.

For 25 days a month, study participants went back to their regular eating habits — good or bad — once they finished the treatment. They were not asked to change their diet and still saw positive changes.

Patrick adds some comments:

For people who are already at optimum bodyweight, five-day FMDs once or twice a year probably suffice. If you’re not close to ideal body weight, you can benefit from more frequent FMDs.

During the FMD, our genomes activate autophagy or “self-eating.” Our bodies begin to look for the components that are unnecessary and non-functioning. They are selectively broken down and the nutrients they contain are utilized.

At any one time, about a third of your [immune system] T cells are old and non-functioning. So, they’re broken down and utilized for their nutritional content during the FMD. … your stem cell processes quickly kick in and replace those missing T cells. So, you have a supercharged fully functioning immune system …

Our [cellular] mitochondria are essentially a symbiotic species of bacteria … creating the intelligent energy grid that powers our bodies.

Some scientists believe the health benefits of CRON are the result of clearing out old mitochondria through autophagy. Specifically, this process of recycling malfunctioning mitochondria for their nutrient value is called mitophagy.

In summary, a 5-day diet reducing caloric intake by 50% – 66% while retaining protein, micronutrients, and some carbohydrates and fat applied a couple of times a year (more if you’re significantly overweight) should bestow some of the benefits sen in mice and early human trials.

Another article supports the idea of reduced quantity and calorie-restricted diets: The Secret to a Long and Healthy Life? Eat Less.

DNA Plasmids and Anti-Aging Medicine

In Genetic Engineering Will Make Pills and Needles Obsolete (and Enable Radical Life-Extension), Patrick Cox talks about the use of DNA plasmids to deliver anti-aging elements to the body.

DNA plasmids are microscopic circular rings of DNA that when almost any gene is inserted by genetic engineers into the ring, acts as a factory to keep reproducing the proteins and hormones that the inserted gene encodes.

Human growth hormone (GH) is important for several health benefits that decline when age-related GH production declines. The hypothalamic hormone GHRH stimulates natural production of GH. Using DNA plasmids to manufacture GHRH is a safer way of conveying GH to the body than GH applications directly.

Animal studies of plasmid-based growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) delivery have shown a reversal of cancer-induced anemia and cachexia, better cancer survival rates than untreated animals, better disease rates, acuity, activity level, fertility, immune system function, exercise tolerance, and life span.

COX7A

A gene switch that when turned off allows for tissue regeneration: The Embryonic Gene-Switch That Will Change the World and Unleashing Embryonic Superpowers UPDATE.

Metformin

Patric Cox has written a brief article: The World Could Be Changed June 16 by the Metformin TAME Trial. It is a geroprotector.

Rapamycin

A drug that extends life expectancy and reverses aging effects in animals is rapamycin: Mission One: Grow Old Enough to Get Younger. Therapies based on this compound will hopefully come to market soon.

One researching is Alan S. Green, M.D. His website is titled: Rapamycin-Based Prevention of Diseases of Aging. Patrick Cox mentions him in a discussion on rapamycin: Rapamycin Use Comes out of the Closet. A number of doctors, researchers and veterinarians are using the drug personally as they can determine their optimal doses but it is generally not available to the public – yet.

References and Links

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