Anti-aging is big business.
Some indications are that it's being pushed by baby boomers. But you don't have to be a baby boomer to want to maintain great health into the later years of life.
We now have more resources for maintaining health and vitality as long as we want - or as long as we can avoid getting hit by a bus.
While a lot of people are dying young from the various diseases of civilization, millions of others are living past the century mark. Well, at least close to a million.
Not all centenarians have practiced anti-aging, but many have without necessarily intending to. Sometimes it just comes naturally.
Nobody really knows how many centenarians currently live around the world. There may a some living in various tribal cultures. One factor working in favor of some tribal cultures may be the absence of stress.
I have this anti-aging urge - or the urge not to become old and decrepit.
Maybe you have the same urge. It's the anti-aging urge.
Alzheimer's Disease is one of several conditions which adversely affect the brain and eliminate any desire to live well and thrive.
I'd love to live to be 100 or even 130 - but I don't have any interest in living in a facility where all the living activity is done for you by assistants and nurses.
There are a few lifestyle problems which interfere with the longevity of many folks.
They have to do with consuming things we shouldn't and failing to exercise.
I could say diet and exercise - but that's simplifying a bit too much. They provide a great start for a strong anti-aging program.
Exercise is a great stress reliever - and a really correct diet can also remove stress from your life, big time.
The stress thing may be the biggest problem in western cultures.
Not only do we get stress from occupational activities, we get lots of stress from eating the wrong foods and drinking the wrong beverages.
Stress comes from constant noise, loud music, threatening circumstances or fear, and even from imagined fearful situations.
There are lots of other sources of stress including job-related stress.
I've known a lot of senior citizens who have had so much stress from their jobs and careers that they just want to retire and relax for the rest of their lives.
They could care less about anti-aging.
I can understand that. In some ways, that rocking chair scenario appeals to me.
My observation is that in many cases, when retirement means sitting in a rocking chair on a porch or in front of a TV, physical deterioration becomes the order of the day.
When I visit my 95-year old Mom, who has been living in a retirement community for almost 2 years, I see that she is one of the most active people living there.
There are quite a few men and women who are 20-30 years younger who rely on their small electric vehicles - glorified wheelchairs - for their mobility.
Mom feels this is a mistake, and so do I.
These chairs and scooters have been heavily promoted through infomercials on TV with the result that many people use them - to the detriment of their own physical conditioning.
Most people using those things have both their legs.
For many, the only reason they don't walk is they've allowed the muscles and bones of their legs to deteriorate or atrophy instead of exercising to maintain strength.
Back pain often causes seniors to lose their mobility. They stop walking because of back pain.
Back pain often comes from kidney problems - or other internal disorders.
Chronic pain of any kind tends to kill the anti-aging urge.
If you've used medicines to relieve back pain or other problems, you likely have covered up the real problem instead of solving it.
I blame medicine for this trend among seniors.
In addition to nearly always prescribing drugs to "fix" problems, many medical doctors still seriously disparage chiropractors and they work they do.
Chiropractors actually deal with the cause of back pain, headaches, stiff neck problems along with many other problems having to do with bones and muscles.
Some are so well trained that they know how to help patients to self heal from a lot of organic problems having to do with nutrition, mobility and obesity.
To find out whether a chiropractor does more than just spine adjustments, ask some questions over the phone before scheduling an appointment. Ask whether she is an applied kinesiologist, a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, and whether he is certified for work on extremities.
Many chiropractors are very well trained to promote longevity and anti-aging.
Medical doctors often respond to the idea that drugs alleviate pain, so when there's a painful complaint, a diagnosis is made, and a drug is prescribed.
Most pain medications have serious side-effects. Then you wind up on more medications for the side-effects.
Before long, you're so drugged up you hardly remember what each medication is actually supposed to do.
So much for anti-aging - if it ever had a chance in the first place.
Sometimes they skip the diagnosis. If the patient says it hurts badly, out comes the prescription pad.
Two problems with that approach.
The first is that the medication does not solve the problem. It only covers the pain - or at least relieves some of the pain.
The second problem is that all medications have side effects - usually serious side effects. Often the side effects are worse than the condition for which the medication is prescribed.
Extensive use of medications tends to kill the anti-aging urge.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a prime example.
For most of the last 20 years or longer, the best medicine could do for arthritis sufferers was to control the pain through powerful pain killers.
Recently doctors have had the availability of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs known as DMARDS, and biologic-response modifiers, known as biologics.
The side effects of so many medicines include debilitating muscle and bone pain and loss of muscle mass and bone density.
If you're caught in that trap of being on a bunch of meds, you might want to find a doctor who will wean you off the drugs.
There are actually medical doctors who are trained to help you return to great health without a barrage of drugs. They practice integrative or holistic medicine.
They might even be interested in anti-aging.
I first became interested in anti-aging and longevity nearly 12 years ago when Joyce and I were still young - in our 50's.
I had stumbled across a book titled The DHEA Breakthrough by Stephen Cherniske published in 1996.
Cherniske holds a masters in biochemistry.
At the time he wrote the book, he was a trained nutritionist, a college instructor in clinical and sports nutrition, and a researcher. His research which led to the book led him to regularly take DHEA and quantify the results.
His book is about the benefits of DHEA - which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands of us humans. Apparently peak production is somewhere around age 20, and natural internal production drops off steadily after that.
DHEA supplementation may offer benefits including decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. It may also improve memory and cognition, and has anti-obesity influences through accelerating fat burning and promoting gains in muscle mass.
The official line of the medical establishment is that it does none of those things. So it probably does all of them.
I don't really know. But Cherniske presents some compelling evidence that it does.
Joyce and I have been supplementing off and on with DHEA for most of the last 12 years.
One of the benefits of DHEA supplementation is that libido is often increased. This benefit can be a great impetus to the idea and plan of longevity.
We've also been supplementing with various vitamins and minerals along with some enzymes and herbs.
I think the most effective thing we've done for our health and vitality is to continue to read, study, and change our diets - becoming increasingly careful about what we eat.
Of course, we're also avid users of daily exercise routines including walking, biking, and weight routines.
During 1995 considerable excitement was generated by a conference sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences. The name of the conference was "DHEA and Aging."
About ten years before that DHEA supplements were removed from the market in the U.S. because of concerns about false claims about the benefits.
After that it was available only by prescription, but was reintroduced as a nutritional supplement after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed by Congress in 1994.
It's likely that some of the benefits of taking various supplements, including DHEA, come from the placebo effect. If you believe in the efficacy of a supplement capsule or tablet, especially if it has been recommended by someone you trust, the placebo effect increases the positive results of using the supplement.
Joyce and I have been supplementing with DHEA fairly regularly since 2000. We feel strongly that we've benefited. There are no side effects.
Some medical websites imply that there might be undesirable side effects - but that's to be expected.
Cherniske's book has a great chapter - lots of great chapters, actually - but Chapter 10 gives us a brief history of DHEA along with comparison to other hormones produced by the human body.
Among other topics it has some meaningful information about where the DHEA available from health food stores and pharmacies comes from, and what the basic process is for deriving the hormone from its plant source.
The DHEA that we have available for supplementation comes from diosgenin - a natural substance which in turn comes from certain wild yams.
Another vital piece of information from the same chapter is under the heading, <b>NATURAL OR SYNTHETIC</b>.
Lots of us who have been into health foods and supplements for years have bumped into the question as to which is more beneficial, natural or synthetic.
Cherniske does an excellent job of explaining that DHEA, for example, is just not available for human assimilation in natural form. The process can only be accomplished in a laboratory.
The author also informs us that some products in health food stores which are touted as natural, or all natural, are not only not helpful to us, but are downright harmful.
Caffeine is a natural part of coffee - which is also a natural product.
Huge numbers of Americans of all ages drink a lot of coffee.
Joyce and I avoid coffee completely - and not because we don't like it.
Who doesn't love the wonderful aroma of coffee brewing and the rich flavor of a fresh cup of coffee.
I feel very fortunate to have gotten off all caffeine about 30 years ago.
To read somewhere that caffeine has a very harsh effect on the adrenals and nervous system (Cherniske says it slams the adrenals) is sometimes easy to dismiss.
To realize fully that the effect of continuous regular caffeine consumption produces incredible stress equivalent to being chased by the biggest thug in the ghetto takes more reading and understanding.
I miss the pleasure of drinking coffee, but I don't miss the periodic migraines and the stress.
Coffee, along with all beverages or foods which contain caffeine, is anti- anti-aging.
Just in case you don't get over to my arthritis page, eliminating wheat from your diet is another big step in the anti-aging and healthy longevity process.
Severe arthritis often causes knees to go bad. Inflammation and pain in the knees makes a lot of us feel old even while we're young.