Increase Your Longevity – Simply


Originally Written by: Whitaker, Julian, M.D.

Julian Whitaker is a graduate of Emory University Medical School and a member of the American Medical Association. In 1976 he began working with Nathan Pritikin and this changed the direction of his professional career. In 1979 he opened the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California where he uses preventive medicine with low-fat nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes as the primary treatment for patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Along with Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Linus Pauling, Dr. Whitaker founded the California Orthomolecular Medical Society. He is the author of Reversing Heart Disease, Reversing Diabetes, and Dr. Whitaker’s Guide to Natural Healing. He is the publisher of Health and Healing, the nation’s leading health newsletter.

THEORIES OF AGING There are three basic theories of aging: the telomere theory, the pineal gland theory, and the free radical theory. The telomere is a little cap on each chromosome. Each time the chromosomes divide and separate into two new cells, a little section of that cap is lost, and it continues to be reduced with each cell division. Once it is gone then the chromosome begins to fray at the ends and cannot divide. It is believed that most cells under optimal conditions can divide 60 to 70 times in cell cultures. It is not known why this self-replicating entity isn’t maintained indefinitely. Our bodies can heal. All the mechanisms are there, but we do age and ultimately die. The second theory is that a kind of death hormone comes out of the pineal gland. I don’t know whether that is true or science fiction. We can’t do anything about these first two theories of aging at present, but we can do something about free radicals. We can increase our longevity through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements and hormone replacement such as DHEA and pregnenolone.

THE FREE RADICAL THEORY OF AGING proposes that the actual process of living causes deterioration in the body. When we burn nutrients in the presence of oxygen to produce energy, the by-products are carbon dioxide and water, and in this process, molecular particles called free radicals are produced. A free radical can be hydrogen peroxide or molecules that are produced by hydrogen peroxide interactions. These free radicals cause damage to the individual cell walls and particularly to the fats. When we burn something in the presence of oxygen, we produce free radicals. For example, when you burn gasoline in an engine, a by-product of gasoline burning is heat. Just as there are all kinds of methods to combat the detrimental effects of heat, the body has built-in mechanisms to combat the damages of free radicals.

DOWN’S SYNDROME: UNCONTROLLED FREE RADICAL PRODUCTION I am doing research in the United States with a group called the Trisomy-21 Group which studies the dangers and consequences of uncontrolled production of free radicals. People with Down’s Syndrome are born with an extra Chromosome 21. This produces characteristics of weakness, mental retardation and early death. Their life is shortened by about 25 to 30 years. When I was in medical school, I couldn’t figure out why having three chromosomes wasn’t better than two. What has been discovered is that the third chromosome overexpresses the gene that produces superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase is one of the body’s mechanisms to control free radicals and turn them into hydrogen peroxide which is also a free radical, but it is controlled by the glutathione system. The extra genes in Down’s Syndrome which produce superoxide dismutase cause the production of 50% more hydrogen peroxide than in a normal individual. So people with Down’s Syndrome are generating free radicals which are literally eating them up. This is the primary cause of mental retardation. We have discovered that they are not born retarded, but are born virtually normal except for some characteristic facial features. For the first several months of life they develop normally, but this hydrogen peroxide generating system begins to destroy the development of the brain post-natally. Well, guess what – it is a treatable disease. The blood levels of people with Down’s Syndrome show excessive hydrogen peroxide and excessive damage from free radicals. Their vitamin C and vitamin A levels are characteristically low, so these children can’t compensate for the overexpression of superoxide dismutase and several other products. Nutritional compensation with additional vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin E is the treatment. Hydrogenated fats should be avoided because they create a lot of free radicals. Once they are treated, these children become normal. The Down’s Syndrome Congress in Atlanta and the Down’s Syndrome Association in Boston are claiming that there are no studies which prove this, but that is absolute nonsense.

LONGEVITY IS INCREASED BY USING ANTI-OXIDENTS TO TREAT FREE RADICALS The free radical damage caused in Down’s Syndrome is a study in early aging. People with Down’s Syndrome develop Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease prematurely, and they die early. This early aging is amenable to free radical treatment because our bodies have many systems to treat free radicals. This one theory gives you not only a great potential of prolonging life, but also the potential for preventing disease. I am not too interested in living to 120, but I am very interested in living to 80 or 90 in a productive fashion. Most of us desire quality of life. Normal healthy people age much more gracefully and do not have great degrees of loss of mental cognitive function. In fact studies have shown that in normal aging, vocabulary actually increases. Unless your heart is diseased, heart function stays relatively normal throughout the 70’s and up into the early 80’s. Past the 80’s some flexibility and mobility are lost and your bones become brittle. However, the aging process is much more gentle than we had thought if you intervene in your aging process by taking antioxidants and nutritional supplements, replace some of the hormones that you are no longer producing, and have a healthy diet.

FREE RADICAL SCAVENGERS ARE KNOWN AS ANTI-OXIDENTS The aqueous free radical scavengers are vitamin C, thiamine, glutathione and selenium. The fat soluble scavengers are beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E.

VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS It is not possible to get all the required nutrients from your diet. The overall cultural dietary patterns do not supply the recommended daily allowances even though they are very conservative. Disease expresses itself when a nutrient is present in insufficient amounts, but each individual’s requirement for a specific nutrient is variable. Some people may require three times as much B6 or B12 for optimal health. Each nutrient is involved in a whole host of mechanisms. B6 is involved in 300 biological mechanisms. Magnesium is involved in 350 biological processes. Therefore when you begin reducing nutrients, higher and higher percentages of people get ill. The treatment or prevention is to take nutritional elements in excess of what most people normally need by taking a vitamin and mineral supplement. This will ensure that your individual variable requirements are met. I have seen dramatic improvement when people increase their intake of water soluble vitamins and anti-oxidant nutrients. We have protocols and documentation that heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can all be improved by taking supplements. How does this happen? We are probably extremely nutritional deprived by the foods of industry that are stripped of minerals and vitamins.

PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS DECREASE LONGEVITY How many of you have heard that it is dangerous to take all these vitamins and minerals? There has not been a recorded death from nutritional supplements available over the counter. House plants are more dangerous than vitamins and minerals. In the U.S. one to two people die each year from the ingestion of house plants. You are 15 times more likely to be killed by a dog than from nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements have to be one of the safest industries with the best safety record of any industry that I know. If you compare it to the pharmaceutical industry, which is the major competition and antagonist of the nutritional supplements industry, it has been estimated that somewhere between 70,000 and 140,000 people in the U.S. die each year from pharmaceutical drugs prescribed appropriately, and that is basically within the confines of hospital medicine. That statistic comes from the fact that one to two percent of hospitalized individuals have a fatal outcome from pharmaceutical adverse drug reactions, although you would expect drugs to be used most expertly in hospitals. This statistic doesn’t even include people who die from drug use outside of the hospital from arrhythmias.

Cardizem for instance is a calcium channel blocker we pass out like water. I used to think that Cardizem was safer than the beta blockers which we know are toxic and weaken the heart and the sympathetic reactions of the body. Now studies have come out that Cardizem will cause a 60% increase in death if it is used to control high blood pressure as opposed to no high blood pressure medication at all. So we now have clear evidence that Cardizem is deadly. The oral drugs used for diabetes increase the death rate from heart attacks by about 250%. When an individual who has diabetes dies from a heart attack, they may presume the heart attack was caused by the diabetes, but it is more likely the heart attack came from the use of the drug, so it skips the notice of physicians unless you have really studied the journal literature. Of the 170 drugs approved since the mid-1970’s, roughly half of them had to be either taken off the market or undergo extensive side-effect revisions in the Physician’s Desk Reference because of the toxicity that was uncovered by the widespread use of the drug. You can imagine the pressure to keep the drugs on the market. Very few drugs are taken off the market, even when they are shown to be more deadly than no drug at all. If you take drugs, be aware that the use of prescription drugs is having a net negative effect upon the death rates and longevity. Avoid indiscriminate use of pharmaceuticals to overcome diseases which are originally caused by nutritional deficiencies.

LINUS PAULING AND VITAMIN C Linus Pauling who is one of the top 50 scientists of all time, and won every single significant scientific prize in the world, wrote a book called Vitamin C and the Common Cold and he came up against the medical entrenchment, the anti-nutritional anti-supplement entrenchment which took him totally by surprise. It was a nice little friendly book, well-referenced to support his opinion, and everybody was criticizing his book without even having read it, not countering the statements or references, just saying he is senile. He then followed that with some studies on cancer and vitamin C. He died at 94, still mentally active, and writing another book. This kind of quality of life you cannot get by taking drugs because the mechanism of drugs, of every single prescription drug is poisonous. That is the mechanism. It has never been found in biology and it has to be a poison because it alters biological systems in an aberrant way because the body has never seen it before.

DIET Your diet has to be lower in calories if you want to live longer. There is no question about it You have to burn all the food you take in. If you take in more food than you need, there is an excess of calories to burn up which produces free radicals, and all the biological systems are then overtaxed to overcome the free radicals. Whenever you overtax the body, the albumin levels go down and the immunoglobulins go up. When you reduce calories, the albumin level goes up. The albumin is the transporter protein in the blood which carries all the nutrients and hormones. The albumin levels are just as important as the HDL, the triglycerides and the cholesterol. The average albumin levels range between 35 and 50 g/L of blood. The closer it is to 50, the healthier you are. The albumin levels will predict longevity and survival in prostate cancer more accurately than the extent and duration of the disease. So lowering the calories increases longevity. Everybody understands that. Research done at U.C.L.A. has proven it over and over in animals. In rats, they can increase the maximum life span sometimes by 50%.

EXERCISE Exercise is probably the single most powerful longevity drug available. Exercise increases the albumin level, increases the lean muscle mass and decreases the fat. Exercise maintains the maximum oxygen retention. Like a low calorie diet, it takes discipline, focus and determination to keep it up, but it works.

HORMONE REPLACEMENT: DHEA AND PREGNENOLONE The two hormones, DHEA and pregnenolone (precursors of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone), are produced in the adrenal gland and also in the brain. We can replace them with hormonal supplements. Low levels of DHEA and pregnenolone are associated with disease profiles and age-related characteristics more than any other hormones. If you look at DHEA blood levels in populations of 60 to 80 years, those who are in nursing homes are in the lower 25% of DHEA blood levels. Those in the upper 25% are never in nursing homes. They are caring for themselves. So you can stratify who is in nursing homes based upon the DHEA blood levels. Research has shown that when you replace DHEA in men and women, men had a 79% increase in the sense of well-being, and women had a 67% increase. When you increase the sense of well being in a 75 year old, then that person will groom and take care of himself and be more active in society, so the quality of life of that individual will improve. Low DHEA levels are more predictive of a heart attack than is a high cholesterol level. Those with low DHEA levels are more prone to heart attacks, cancer and other problems. What are the side effects of DHEA supplements? There aren’t any that I know of. Most research on DHEA was done back in the 40’s when it was used as a treatment for arthritis. Pregnenolone was used in the same way. In the U.S. both DHEA and Pregnenolone are available over the counter, but they are only available by prescription in Canada. I have been prescribing DHEA as a physician for about 12 years. We test blood levels before and after, and find that the supplements increase DHEA blood levels. So this type of hormone replacement is a rational definable precise strategy for longevity which can be utilized. It is not dangerous. It is simply physiological supplementation.

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To receive Dr. Whitaker’s monthly newsletter, Health and Healing, call 1-800-539-8219.
For more information, you may call Dr. Whitaker at 714-851-1550.

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~ by 619 on November 5, 2009.

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