How Not to Get Old - Part IV: Internal Organs
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In this instalment we will look at the final aspect of the physicality of your body, i.e. your internal organs, how they can be affected by aging and how we might attempt to redress or offset some of these processes.
But first, a quick recap:
- Maintain proper neuronal cell function and intracellular communication.
- Maintain proper intercellular communication and nutrient exchange.
- Maintain cerebrovascular density, compliance and micro-vascular function.
- Prevent atrophy of memory-vital areas such as the hippocampus.
We achieve these goals through use of nootropic supplements like vinpocetine, phosphatidylcholine, CDP choline and Neurochill. We also Stimulate the brain through mental exercise.
The musculoskeletal system
- Osteopenia – prevent age-related loss of bone mineral density AKA ‘osteoporosis’
- Myopenia – prevent age-related loss of muscle tissue mass as well as fatty infiltration
- Glycation – prevent crosslinking of connective tissue leading to joint stiffness and tissue inelasticity
We achieve these goals through use of growth hormone secreting peptides, sex hormones, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and by consuming a diet low in advanced glycation end products. We also stimulate the bones and the muscles through a combination of impact and resistance exercise.
The Internal organs
I am going to list the internal organs that are especially critical to longevity and quality of life. I will have to exclude certain organs (like the bladder for example) because it does not fit into the scope of this article.
Please forgive the ‘list’ format, but there are a lot of organs and presenting the information as a list will be easier for you to assimilate (and for me to write, lets be honest).
We want to prevent macular degeneration and there are 2 supplements that have been shown to help: lutein and zeaxanthin. These 2 compounds serve and retino-protectants from the oxidising effects of free radicals, particularly UV exposure.
We also want to EXERCISE both the pupillary constrictor muscle (focussing muscle) by repeatedly practicing near Vs far focussing for reps. We also want to maintain the strength of the small muscles that move the eyeball.
Try this: Turn a pushbike upside down and put a playing card in the spokes. Now spin the wheel and track the card using only your eyes, not your head movement.
Our primary goal for the lungs should be to maintain elasticity/compliance as well as function. We maintain elasticity by preventing crosslinking of proteins, as discussed in part III. We do this by consuming a diet low in AGEs (advanced glycation end products – see above). We can also assist this process by regularly ‘stretching’ the lungs through deep breathing, whether that be through strenuous exercise or through specific breathing exercises or techniques (yoga etc).
Maintaining lung function, really comes down to not covering the delicate inner surface of the lung tissue (where gaseous exchange takes place) with crud such as tar, dust, asbestos, cigarette smoke, etc. It may also be useful to take a supplement like N-Acetyl Cysteine since it can function as an mucolytic agent. So if you have a ‘phlegmy’ type of chest, the NAC should help you to clear excess phlegm.
Heart and Cardiovascular system
Clearly a biggie, this one! The heart is a muscle, but one that works all the time, so unlike other muscles it has no ‘down time’ for rest and repair, which is what makes it so tricky to repair once damage has been done.
Now I could talk about how you should maintain a high HDL intake and keep triglycerides low, as a way to stave off atherosclerosis (fatty deposits) encroachment. I could even talk about how apple pectin (a soluble fibre) supplementation will help to return excess LDL back to the liver for processing. I can tell you how EXERCISE is highly important for heart health and how STRESS is a silent killer... but you know (or you SHOULD know) these things already if you are interested in your own health.
No, what I want to show you are the more advanced concepts and ideas that you probably won’t read about or hear from your GP.
GHS peptides – these growth hormone secreting peptides have been proven in clinical studied to be both angio (arteries and veins) and cardio (heart) protective, meaning that they assist the body in repairing or even rejuvenating the ‘skin’ in the inside of your blood vessels. Since they also help your body to burn fat, then for the obese person, GHS peptides offer yet another route to improved quality of life and greater health.
Co-enzyme Q10 and L-carnitine – The combination of these two amino acids (or indeed, either taken alone) has been shown to positively affect the energy-producing ability of your mitochondria, which are the ‘cells within cells’ that produce all the energy needed by your body tissues. Think about this: if the heart muscle has a greater, more efficient energy supply, then it not only has more energy to beat/contract but also more energy for maintenance and repair. One warning though: oral l-carnitine is NOT advised by this author, due to its negative effect on TMAO with leads to greater oxidative stress and damage within the cardiovascular system. The only way I advocate l-carnitine is via intramuscular injection. And I am NOT advocating self-injection. After all, this is just one mans’ opinion, NOT medical advice.
Bacopa Monnieri – This is a truly excellent herbal supplement. It can help your heart and CV system in 2 ways. Directly, by acting as a strong anti-oxidant, preventing LDL oxidisation which is a critical step in the formation and build-up of atherosclerosis.
Indirectly by acting as an anxiolytic agent, meaning that it will being your stress levels down. Chronic stress affects all body systems negatively, leading to a host of health conditions. You must try to negate stress wherever you can in your life.
Ginkgo biloba – this herb acts as a vasodilator, meaning that it allows your blood vessels to expand, facilitating the transmission and return of more blood around the body and organs. You might almost see this as ‘exercising’ the blood vessels, which in turn might help offset age-related stiffening and loss of compliance. However a better way to achieve the same goal is EXERCISE, preferably vigorous exercise undertaken in an interval training format.
Another highly significant organ, responsible for manifold critical functions. If we want our livers to serve us well into old age then we need to 1. Minimise damage and 2. Optimise function.
We minimise liver damage by limiting our exposure to environmental toxins such as alcohol, drugs, pesticides, pollutants and other industrial chemicals. We also need to keep our livers fat-free i.e. prevent fatty liver syndrome. Fatty liver syndrome occurs when we over-eat rich food for a period of time and allow the liver to build-up stores of fat within itself (insulin resistance contributes significantly to this and insulin resistance occurs from poor diet and lack of exercise). This fat seriously compromises normal hepatocyte (liver cell) function and leads to various metabolic diseases. Poor diet, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, alcohol, etc all contribute to this condition, however assuming you have corrected these things first, there are certain supplements and prescription drugs that can help restore normal function and even give a ‘boost’ to your liver function.
Metformin/Glucophage: this is the most widely prescribed drug in America. That doesn’t mean it is entirely without unwanted side-effect (such as reduced protein transcription in the body)! However by and large, if you have a fatty liver, the benefits of metformin probably outweigh the negatives by a significant amount. Metformin helps restore insulin sensitivity over time.
Co-enzyme Q10 and l-carnitine: Much like in the heart tissue, these two amino acids help optimise cellular energy so that there can be surplus energy for cellular repair as well as optimal cellular function.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: This amino acid has a remarkable list of benefits that have been show in clinical studies. However the fact that it helps the body to dispose of excess blood sugar helps the liver to work properly without being overloaded by glucose whilst it is trying to do its work.
Tri-methyl glycine (TMG/Betaine): In terms of aiding the liver, TMG serves as a methyl donor aiding in the detoxification process (methylation train) as well as (over time with chronic use) optimising the expression of critical enzymes and hormones through epigenetic mechanisms.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): This amino acid supports detoxification via the sulphation train and allows the liver to optimise its production of its own ‘master antioxidant’ – glutathione.
There are many other supplements that I could list here, but these are Imo the primary ones to consider because of their strong positive effects on liver health – and heart health, kidney health, and cellular health in general. In fact that is exactly why Neuroprime is formulated in the way that it is, with these specific ingredients – because they form a highly potent ‘cellular rejuvenation’ complex.
The kidneys are slightly less easy to restore to optimal function, partly because their function is to filter out chemicals, so it’s harder to get supplemental products to hang around long enough to effect positive change. However we can improve mitochondrial function through use of Q10 and l-carnitine, just as we can in other tissues.
You will probably realise by now that this author strongly believes that the key to minimising organ disease and dysfunction is to optimise cellular function and that the best way to optimise cellular function is to minimise ‘damage’ whilst promoting mitochondrial energy production.
There are 2 primary ways to promote mitochondrial health and function. The primary way is via EXERCISE and the secondary way is to use a product like Neuroprime which has the right combination of co-enzymes and amino acids to aid the mitochondrial energy cascade and maintain membrane function.