Can we live to be 200 but feel and look like 21? This doctor says Yes!
Commentary by G. Edward Griffin
THE QUEST FOR AGE REVERSAL
“In the last twenty years, there has been a surge of research into the mechanism of cellular aging with the intent of finding ways to reverse the process. This seemingly impossible goal turns out to be less impossible than one might expect when we consider that, in our bodies, there already are cells (called stem cells) that never age. Stem cells have the capacity, not only to replace themselves should they become damaged, but they also are the parent cells that produce all other cells. They can create any type of cell that needs to be repaired or replaced, anything from skin to heart muscle to liver. In the early stages of pregnancy, the most fundamental type of stem cells, called diploid totipotent cells, divide and subdivide to create the entire embryo. They carry within them the entire genetic code for all cells and organs.
Normal cells wear out and replace themselves, on average, about every seven years. In the early stages of life, their replicas are nearly identical to the originals but, with the passage of time, the replicas become less vigorous and acquire flaws. Hair turns grey or falls out, skin becomes wrinkled, muscles atrophy, and organs lose efficiency. It’s called aging.
CHROMOSOMES, DNA, AND TELOMERES
To understand why this occurs, we must know that all cells hold strands ofDNA that provide biological instructions for the cell’s function.
|At the tips of chromosomes are small structures, like plastic caps at the ends of shoelaces, that protect them from unraveling and fusing with other chromosomes. These protective structures are called telomeres.|
Every time a normal cell replicates itself, the new cell is a complete copy of the old one ˗ with one exception: The telomeres in the new cells are slightly shorter than in the previous version. There are only so many times cells can replace themselves before telomeres become so short they can no longer protect the chromosomes. When that happens, chromosomes begin to deteriorate, make imperfect copies, and eventually fail to replicate. It is as though there is a built-in expiration date, and many have assumed that there is nothing we can do about it. When you’re out of telomeres, your time is up.
WHY DO STEM CELLS GROW TELOMERES BUT OTHER CELLS DON’T?
The quest, therefore, has been to discover what it is about stem cells that allows them to keep their long telomeres regardless of how many times they replace themselves. Could that process be made to happen also in normal cells and, if so, would they, too, become immortal? The first part of that question was answered by discoveries made in the 1980s and dramatically confirmed in 2009 when the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Szostak for their discovery of the mechanism by which cells make copies of themselves. (See Nobel Prize press release here.) They demonstrated that telomere growth is stimulated by an enzyme called Telomerase, and that the reason stem cells preserve their telomere length indefinitely is that they produce this enzyme, but normal cells do not.
|Now that the mechanism was understood, the next task was to put Telomerase into normal cells to see if they, too, will re-grow telomeres and become immortal. The challenge was how to get Telomerase into normal cells.|
THE SOLUTION WAS FOUND IN NATURE
Actually, the solution was already known. In the 1990s, the research team at Geron Corporation, under the direction of Dr. Bill Andrews, succeeded in isolating a single molecule from the root of an herbal plant called Atragalus Membranaceus (also known as Astragalus Propinquus) that eliminates the need to deliver Telomerase throughout the body because it activates normal cells to produce their own Telomerase on the spot. In other words, it causes normal cells to mimic stem cells in this regard. Amazing! A Telomerase activator was found in nature. (1)
PROOF OF CONCEPT
So, does it actually work according to theory? The evidence so far is impressive. In his book, Curing Aging,(2) doctor Andrews described the following studies:
► In 1990, scientists at the Geron Corporation found that adding Telomerase to human cells “produced a line of cells that was able to divide indefinitely… [and] did not show any signs of losing growth control.” (p. 49)
► “In 1999, researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute … produced mice with telomeres short enough to show many of the classic hallmarks of human aging: graying hair, frailness, spontaneous malignancies, and a reduced capacity for wound healing. This indicated clearly that these classic symptoms of aging are the result of telomere shortening in humans, and that our ‘natural aging process’ had its roots in short telomeres.” (pp. 49, 50)
► “In 2000, Geron Corporation … cultured human skin cells… so their telomeres would be as short as those of the elderly. … As expected, the skin showed the hallmarks of ‘old’ skin, such as fragility and subepidermal blistering. It looked, to the naked eye, like the skin of an elderly person. The team then added the Telomerase gene to a second batch of the old skin cells. … The telomerized skin visually resembled young skin and it also shared the same gene expression profile as the young skin. By all available measurements, telomerizing the skin had actually reversed the aging of the skin itself.” (p. 50.)
► “In 2003, a team at the University of Utah … found that the mortality rate of individuals with shorter telomeres was nearly twice as high as those with longer telomeres, and that mortality as a result of heart disease was over three times higher in individuals with shorter telomeres. This provided solid evidence of a correlation between telomere shortening and death from old age or age-related diseases in humans.” (pp. 51, 52)
► In November 2010, a team of scientists at Harvard Medical School altered the Telomerase gene in a group of mice so that telomeres became short enough to display human-like symptoms of aging. Then they activated the production of Telomerase within their cells. “This treatment successfully decreased the abundance of cells with critically short telomeres in these mice and caused a 33% increase in telomere length. More significantly, it allowed resumption of cell proliferation and eliminated the symptoms of degeneration across multiple organs, including the testes, spleens, and intestines. The mice experienced a restoration of fertility, of spleen size, of sense of smell, and of brain size and function. These were results that, if seen in elderly humans, would constitute successful reversal of the aging process.” (pp. 52, 53)
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE WEIGHS IN
The following summary of the Harvard study was published in the April, 2011, edition of Life Extension Magazine: After only 30 days, there was a reversal of the degenerative changes in every system the researchers tested. The brains of the treated mice, not only started growing new neurons, but began to thicken the protective myelin sheath surrounding existing neurons. As one of the researches was quoted, they were able to “reverse neuro-degeneration.” The treated mice produced new viable sperm, their spleen atrophy and intestinal damage were reversed, and even their sense of smell was restored (indicating restored olfactory function in their brains). … In humans, this would be like restoring the health and vigor of a sickly 80-year-old to that of a young adult! Incidentally, there is a blood test for measuring telomere length, and it has been shown conclusively that patients who undertake Telomerase activation therapy, experience a significant increase in the length of their telomeres
In the meantime, users report deeper sleep with vivid dreams, better energy and stamina, elevated mood, and mental clarity. Those who have been users for more than a few months often report improvement in skin color, reduction in wrinkles, fading of age spots, and darkening of hair. Bear in mind, however, that these are anecdotal reports. There have been no controlled studies so far. In fact, there may never be any, because this comes from nature and cannot be patented. Manufacturers will not spend millions of dollars for controlled studies when competitors can benefit without bearing any of the cost. It may take years before the empirical evidence will tell us for sure if human age reversal is really happening.
CAN ONLY THE SUPER WEALTHY AFFORD THIS?
The Telomerase-activator was developed by Geron Corporation and branded as TA65. It became available in 2005 for those with deep pockets. In the beginning, a year’s supply cost $25,000 plus travel to New York. Since then, the price has fallen dramatically, but is still beyond the reach of most people. Currently, a 90-capsule bottle of TA65 sells for $500. But do not despair. A chemical analysis by The American Analytical Chemistry Laboratories in Champaign, IL, showed that more than 95% of TA65 is Cycloastragenol, which is the technical name for the unique molecule found to be the Telomerase activator. Since then, other producers have entered the market with what they claim is the generic form of TA65 at lower cost.
Health food stores sell various brands of Astragalus, the herb from which Cycloastagenol is taken, but that is not even close to the substance that activates Telomerase. It is merely the ground up root. Some products claim they contain Astragalus extracts, some as high as 25:1 concentration, but that still is not Cycloastragenol. I am told that it would take bushels of these herbal products to produce thirty tablets of the real thing.
ENTER, DR. PARK
Which brings us back to Dr. Park. When I decided to try TA65, I searched the Internet for a reliable source and found that, not only was he one of those first users I mentioned previously, but he was the first medical doctor to use Telomerase activation in his practice, so I purchased my first supply from him and, soon thereafter, met him in person.
Ed Park, MD, is an expert on Telomerase activation. In 1989, he graduated from Harvard University with a BA degree in Biological Anthropology. In 1993, he received his MD degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a Master’s degree in Public Health also from Columbia. In 1997, he completed internship and residency at Beth Israel Hospital, a teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School. He is the author of Telomere Timebombs,(3) and his private practice is located in Costa Mesa, California.
MY INTERVIEW WITH DR. PARK
WAIT AND SEE ˗ OR TAKE THE PLUNGE?
To be on the frugal and cautious side, it makes sense to wait a few years for the price to drop further and to see if users really experience unmistakable age reversal. However, if you are like I am, you may decide that waiting is too expensive in terms of continued aging and lost opportunity to beat the clock. Will this really work? Frankly, I don’t know, but the science is sound, and I think it could. For my part, I would hate to find out that it does but I missed the boat.
WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?
It has been about five years since I wrote the previous paragraphs, and it is fair to ask if any evidence has appeared since then to support the theory of age reversal. The answer is that there is a great deal of evidence, but most of it could be dismissed as perhaps caused by something other than Cycloastragenol. Reports of improved energy, stamina, better sleep, mental clarity, and a sense of well-being are almost universal, even a reduction in wrinkles or darkening of the hair. However, that doesn’t prove much, because these same benefits often are reported by people taking herbal products or broad-spectrum nutritional supplements. The problem is that it is difficult to measure aging using a scale that is subjective. “I feel younger” or “You look younger” is not a useful measurement for this purpose. People often tell me that I look fifteen or twenty years younger than my chronological age – and I am delighted to hear that – but this means very little inasmuch as there always are people like that, and they have never heard of Cycloastaogenol. It is for that reason I decided to refrain from passing along testimonials unless there is some way to quantify the results with verifiable measurements of some kind. They will be published below as I become aware of them. If you know of cases that fit this requirement, please let me know so I can share them with others.
SPINAL REGENERATION REVERSED
Dr. Ed Park, M.D., interviews Rocky, who tells how his spinal disintegration was reversed. Based on x-rays of his spine and careful measurements over a nine-month period, it was found that the cartilage disks between the vertebrae of his spine had regenerated. This led to a straightening of his previous curvature and an increase in the thickness of the disks between his vertebrae. The combined effect was to made him taller, thus measurably reversing one of the common effects of aging. This interview is taken from Dr. Ed Park’s podcast. All of the program is interesting, but the part with Rocky’s interview is between 16:54 and 33:50. (Video here)
(1) Shortly thereafter, Noel Patton, an investor in Geron Corporation, purchased the rights for Telomerase Activation (for the purpose of life extension) from Geron and founded T.A. Sciences to bring this breakthrough to market. Geron then dropped research on anti-aging and turned to the possible use of Telomerase Activation as an anti-cancer agent. At that point, Dr. Andrews left Geron to form Sierra Sciences and continue work on age reversal.
(2) Bill Andrews, PhD, Curing Aging (Reno, Nevada, Sierra Sciences: 2014)
(3) Ed Park, MD, Telomere Timebombs; Defusing the Terror of Aging (Costa Mesa, California, Telomere Timebombs Publishing: 2013)
WHAT’S ON THE LABEL
The label recommends 1 to 5 capsules daily, preferably at bedtime with a fatty snack or after a fatty evening meal. Cellular regeneration is more active during sleep, and fats improve absorption. The label shows the following ingredients per capsule: 34 mg Curcuma longa extract; 21 mg Ocimum tenulflorum; 13 mg Rhodiola rosea; and 8 mg Astragalus propinquua exract (otherwise known as cycloastragenol) derived from Astragalus root. Other ingredients: Methylcellulose, silica, and acid-protected vegicaps. There are 30 capsules per bottle.