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AGE meeting June, 2012 - Details
I spent May 31-June 4, 2012, at the American Aging Association (AGE) in Ft. Worth, TX. AGE is perhaps the oldest research organization of professors and gerontologists trying to determine the causes of human aging, now esp. looking at how to extend human healthspan. While lifespan is increasing linearly over time, about 1 year longer every 3 years, health span is not doing so well, with many older people facing Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, and more. MOST OF THESE CONDITIONS ARE PREVENTABLE if we pay attention to good nutrition and exercise, rather than waiting for disease to occur and spending a fortune on medical treatments. Here are 3 pages of notes condensed from 30 I took at the meeting:
Cortisol is elevated in people with AD; vitamin C lowers cortisol levels.
MENOPAUSE - Taking calcium supplements increases the risk of heart disease 27%. Only dietary sources are safe for getting enough calcium. Vitamin K can relieve the calcium that has been deposited in your coronary arteries if you took calcium supplements. Low vitamin D intake causes high cardiovascular risk, and 2,000 unit vitamin D supplements are safe to use. Exercise is good for peri- and postmenopausal brain health. Deprovera is hazardous, though doctors write 10 million prescriptions per year.
MICROBIOTA - Intestinal microbes affect your mood. The gut nervous system is mostly independent of the central nervous system, but the vagus nerve connects them. Fat and thin people get different brain signals in response to sweet foods Stress affects motility, pH, immune response, bile, and mucous in the gut, and the gut microflora can cause stress in the brain. So eat at least a few teaspoons of yogurt every day, and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Much gut programming occurs when one is very young, so nursing and playing in the dirt are important to develop gut microbiota. Gut modulates brain development, and autistic children have more intestinal issues.
MUSCLE - Muscle is 45-50% of body mass. It is lost with age, though strength training helps maintain it. There is now a redox stress theory of aging, in contrast to the free radical theory. It suggests pairs of electrons oxidize molecules and damage signaling pathways. People with more oxidative damage have slower walking speeds, in fact gait is proportional to longevity - so walk faster if you can. Slow gait is associated with development of dementia and AD. Cells respond to exercise and produce antioxidant enzymes in response. Everyone loses muscle fibers as they age, but you can hypertrophy remaining fibers to appear more fit. Branched chain amino acids help maintain muscles. Sat'd fats damage and decrease muscles, while MUFA, PUFA and vegetable diet help maintain them.
NATURAL PRODUCTS - Natural products that maintain health and extend lifespan up to 3%. NDGA is an antioxidant/anti-inflammatory that extends life span. Regular aspirin use increases male longevity 8%. Acarbose blocks polysaccharide uptake from the gut resulting in 12% weight loss in men and women. Resveratrol extends health span. Curcumin helps maintain proper protein folding, "proteostasis", which is a new understanding of how to extend healthspan. Curcumin also improves expression of healthy genes. It extends lifespan, suppresses weight gain, drives fatty acid oxidation in animals. Lithium also promotes proteostasis at 100x less than clinical doses. Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory. Diadzein has life-extending properties. Caloric restriction works starting at any age. Late life caloric restriction in people decreases blood pressure, thriglycerides, and cortisol, increases HDL and testosterone. 2g Resveratrol per day (from RevGenetics or BioTivia) mimics caloric restriction in a trial in 10 older men. One suggestion was to store your own blood to use when you get older, as transfusing young blood into older animals in paired mice restores youth. 2 g of Spirulina daily has a potent effect preserving neurogenesis. Other especially useful things to consume are blueberries, green tea, vitamin D3, and carnosine. [Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) is a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. It is highly concentrated in muscle and brain tissues. Carnosine can oppose glycation and it can chelate divalent metal ions. Chronic glycolysis is suspected to accelerate aging.] The combined effects of these are synergistic, so getting them all frequently is better than just a lot of one. Coconut oil contains high levels of short chain saturated fatty acids, and these are beneficial, even though it is saturated fat. The liver converts them to ketones, which counteract carbs. Exercise is so powerful that it can substitute for drug addiction, reduce food intake, and remove preference (addiction) to high fat diet. A high fat diet blunts the leptin response, which in healthy weight people makes them feel full after a meal. Percentage of people over age 70 who are deficient: vitamin E 73%; folate 50%; vitamin D 90%; vitamin B12 25%; vitamin B6 25%; fiber - most. Over 70 one should drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Tufts University has developed an elderly food pyramid.
INFLAMMATION/AD - 35 million (M) people in the US have AD now, 65M are predicted by 2030. Inflammation is promoted by a sedentary life and obesity. Vitamin E reduces inflammation and promotes immune response. The meta-analysis that concluded vitamin E may be hazardous was flawed. DHA (fish oil) is also valuable to reduce inflammation - 900 mg DHA is the most one can absorb daily. Though life span keeps getting longer, inflammation is keeping health span in people fairly constant, so there is a rapid increase in elderly who are ill, esp. AD. Spinach reduces AD risk, though iron increases risk. Deficiencies contributing to AD include vitamins C, E, B12, B6, folate, melatonin, SAMe, DHA, curcumin, and ibuprofen. Fish oil reduces risk 60%. However, if your genotype is APOE4, DHA is hazardous. Too much folate increases risk. 800mg curcumin daily actually reduces the level of AD plaque. Education reduces risk of AD.
AGING/BRAIN - Three major pathways increasing the rate of aging are mTOR, AMPK, and NFkappaB. Strawberries inhibit mTOR, strawberries and blueberries protect the brain. For the average person, the first year after a stroke costs $100,000, and $40,000 annually thereafter. Vitamin C (500 mg twice a day) dramatically reduces stroke damage. 0.5 mg premarin/kg body weight within 2 hours after a stroke or traumatic brain injury dramatically helps, and OHSU Hospital administers a high dose of vitamin C to all brain injuries in their emergency room. Traits of people noted in world regions where people are long lived include fewer carbs in the diet and more fiber. Insulin triggered by carbs induces fat storage leading to obesity. Resveratrol, metformin, capsaicin, EGCG (green tea), and salicylate activate the AMPK pathway that causes burning stored fat.
CLINICAL TRIALS RESULTS SUSPECT - Be suspicious of results of clinical trials, even though they are promoted as the gold-standard of nutrition and drug research. They are often flawed because of the requirements necessary to obtain IRB approval to conduct the trial with minimal risk to participants.
Thanks for being conscious of what you put in your body - Roc, Nutrition Investigator
"Food consists not just in piles of chemicals; it also comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people." -Michael Pollan