Aging is a normal and natural part of life. As the body reaches maturity, it begins to slowly decay, with cells essentially being programmed to “die off” at some point or another. However, it is possible to slow or stop the aging process with a variety of lifestyle and dietary changes, among other changes that work on a cellular and molecular level, such as with anti-aging, or regenerative medicine.
What is Anti-Aging Medicine?
Anti-aging medicine can include everything from preventative medicine and regenerative medicine to integrative and functional medicine to treat an individual’s particular bodily needs. Anti-aging medicine takes more into account than just an individual’s age. An entire workup is needed to pinpoint and address potential metabolic issues and underlying conditions that require treatment for optimal health and longevity.
The purpose of anti-aging medicine is, well, obvious. Slowing down the aging process is often a desire of most, especially for those who are defiant about their age and wish to remain young, limber, and fit for as long as possible. Anti-aging medicine is used to address underlying conditions while also treating age-related diseases to slow the biological processes of aging all the way down to a molecular and cellular level.
What Causes Aging?
Aging is a natural and complex bodily process that involves oxidation, glycation, and methylation. These three processes are responsible for the breaking down and aging of our cells over time, which results in our bodies appearing and functioning as much older than we may feel on the inside.
Other processes that can expedite the aging process include traumatic injuries, diseases, hormonal imbalances, as well as chronic inflammation of the body, such as autoimmune diseases. Understanding the basics of the three processes responsible for aging in the body can help with identifying an anti-aging or regenerate medicine solution that is ideal for one’s own needs.
- Oxidation: Oxidation is one of the most well-known processes, as it is caused by chemical reactions when introduced to oxygen free radicals. Oxidation causes the growth of cells to slow or stop completely, which can expedite the aging process.
- Glycation: Glycation involves various sugar molecules throughout the body, including glucose itself. With glycation, molecules such as fructose and glucose alike find themselves attaching to various proteins, which can cause damage and discoloration to the internal tissues over time, resulting in the aging of the cells.
- Methylation: Methylation is typically triggered by a breakdown of DNA or by receiving damaged DNA signals. Methylation can also be triggered by excessive inflammation or chronic inflammation in the body. Minimizing the risk of a methyl imbalance is possible with a proper dose of folic acid as well as the right amount of B12 in your daily diet. A B12 complex solution may also help reduce this risk in those with chronic autoimmune conditions such as Lupus, Thyroiditis, or even diabetes.
Treating the Root Cause
As we get older, we begin to experience an array of new aches, pains, and potential health issues. “Unfortunately, with modern medicine, much of the time the problem is not eradicated, but the symptoms are simply being managed,” says Lindsay Clark, MD, specialist in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. “With anti-aging medicine, the biochemistry and individualized biological processes of a patient are taken into account along with their vast and complex medical history to find a treatment or an anti-aging pathway that is optimal.”
With anti-aging medicine, focusing on treating and healing the body at the molecular level is a way to completely resolve underlying health issues and conditions that may expedite the aging process in an individual over time (especially when left unaddressed and untreated).
Unfortunately, many medications today are offered as a blanket solution, not as a long-term treatment option. With anti-aging medicine, patients receive individualized care based on their own needs, age, underlying conditions, as well as their personal biochemistry. Because every individual has a unique biochemistry of their own, understanding the makeup of each patient has a significant impact on the level of anti-aging care they are able to receive.
With anti-aging medicine, it is also possible to address potential issues before they become chronic illnesses or diseases. The proper course of anti-aging medicines and/or treatments can help to reduce the risk of developing the following age-related health issues and conditions:
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s and other age-specific diseases
- Heart disease/cardiovascular issues
- High blood pressure/hypertension
- Cerebrovascular disorders
Anti-Aging and Functional Medicine
Using anti-aging and functional medicine together can drastically increase longevity in both men and women. Integrative and functional medicine can help individuals focus on optimizing their body’s overall health, aside from the use of additional supplements and medications. A few methods used as functional and integrative medicine today for anti-aging purposes include:
- Complete vitamin regimens for specific individual’s needs and biochemistry
- Detoxification of the body
- New nutritional path and nutritional planning
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management techniques
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Regenerative medicine
When it comes to healing the body with the use of functional and integrative medicine, the following treatments can be addressed:
- Adrenal insufficiencies and/or adrenal fatigue conditions
- Cancer (certain types of cancers)
- Autoimmune diseases
- CFS, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Elevated Cholesterol
- Menopause/Menopausal symptoms
- Insulin resistance
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Age-related conditions and diseases
Anti-aging medicine, while newer in terms of advancement, has come a long way for patients with degenerative, autoimmune, and age-related conditions such as Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease. With the use of cellular and molecular anti-aging treatments, those who are elderly will have an opportunity to extend the quality of their lives without invasive or risky surgery in the near future.