#004 We Can Reverse The Aging Process

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I recently had another birthday. Birthdays used to be very depressing for me. I used to dread each birthday as it approached.

I distinctly remember my 40th birthday. At that time, I was 30 pounds heavier and was on multiple medications. I did not feel well and was very depressed to be 40. I was taking Celebrex twice daily to help with neck pain and I had such weakness in my C5-C6 nerve root that I could not even pull my laptop out of my computer bag with my right hand. I was not aging well. I felt a lot older than the 40 years I actually was at the time.

Today I feel fabulous. I have not taken any pills, not even a Tylenol or ibuprofen, in a long, long, time. I feel like I did in my early 30s. I am energetic and alive. I no longer dread birthdays.

Do we have to grow old so fast?

Every day when I am in the clinic meeting with patients I have at least 5 patients who tell me how difficult it is to grow old. Most feel as if they are victims of the aging process. Does it have to be this way? Can the aging process be reversed?

Quest for Youth

This has been the quest of man since the beginning of time. When I think of the quest for immortality, I am reminded of Emperor Qin who was born in 260 BC. He was a ruthless emperor who conquered all of China for the first time. He unified China and even constructed the Great Wall to protect his new kingdom.

Emperor Qin also wanted to live forever. He sent thousands of people on quests throughout Asia to find the secret elixir that would make him young again. He never found it. In fact, he died at the young age of 50 likely from Mercury poisoning which was being given to him by his physicians to make him young again.

Cell Aging Can Be Reversed

Flash forward to today. Last year the famous cardiologist, Dr. Dean Ornish from the University of California, San Francisco, published a medical study which gained world-wide attention. In this study, Dr. Ornish showed for the first time that you can actually reverse cell aging. This study was published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology.

This study involved 35 men with early prostate cancer who opted not to undergo surgery or radiation. These men were divided into two groups. One group continued living the way they had lived their entire lives. The other group made dramatic lifestyle changes.

The lifestyle changes prescribed by Dr. Ornish in this study consisted of 4 things:

1. Eat a plant based diet
2. Exercise daily
3. Do a stress reducing activity, like yoga, daily
4. Meet together weekly for social support

After living this way for 5 years, they found that the telomere length of the group who adopted this lifestyle was 10% longer than it was before they started 5 years earlier. In contrast, the control group who did not make any changes experienced a 3% shortening of their telomere length which is typical with the aging process.

What is a telomere?

Telomeres are the caps on the end of our chromosomes. The telomeres protect our DNA through the aging process. Over time, as our cells divide our telomeres shorten. When they get too short they can no longer protect our DNA which can then lead to the usual diseases of aging and ultimately death. Short telomeres are associated with heart disease, cancer, and many other chronic diseases.

This study is so remarkable in that this is the first time it has been shown that you can actually reverse the aging process. After 5 years, the group of men who adhered to this lifestyle actually reversed cell aging by 10%. This is quite remarkable!

The power really is up to us! We can determine our own health and happiness. Our DNA is not our destiny.

What do you think? Do you dread getting older? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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12 Comments
  1. Thank you for this interesting and novel article, and encouraging

    i think someone could expand on this by addding some basic medical therapies and thru a medical, a dietary and enhanced lifestyle changes as you outlined, focus on reducing inflamation and CRP levels, and increasing magnesium especially dietary magnesium to 1 to 3 magnesium to calcium ratio, ie… 4oo mg magnesium and 1200 mg calcium (ideally thru dietary changes alone ) most people will not take a proactive attitude and discipline to do that howebver, and would try to use supplements. this would not work as well but would be beneficial regardless

    • Hi Margo,

      Great question. This is only something that can be measured in a specialized lab. It is not a standard test yet that your doctor can do for you.

      Perhaps in a few years there might be a routine way to measure the length of your telomeres…

      John

  2. I am so happy to discover this ‘positive’ site. Last week I experienced a very erratic heart rhythm, accompanied by breathlessness. It lasted 30 hours approx. I had a virus/cold that week. I have had many tests which are all normal but my Halter Monitor showed up Atrial Fibrillation episodes. I have been put on Beta Blockers. I cant describe my sense of helplessness and sense of loss. The loss and freedom of my life. I am afraid to exercise or cause myself strain. I am afraid to travel. I am afraid…..
    I am 55 years and look at least 10 years younger. I lost 18 ponds last year. I would love to think that I have the power to reverse this condition. I want my life back. I dont want to live in fear. My GP has been encouraging but told me I would be on medication for life. I feel such a sense of loss.

    • Hi Fiona,

      I am so sorry to hear about the atrial fibrillation. Yes, this condition can be very frustrating. However, it can also be beaten!

      You are on the right path with your 18 pound weight loss.

      I would suggest finding a cardiologist specializing in atrial fibrillation (cardiac electrophysiologist) to work with. There is so much that can be done to get atrial fibrillation behind you.

      Best,

      John

      • Thank you John. Can I reverse my Afib with stress reduction with exercise, yoga and a Plant based diet. My Cardiologist will review my meds due to severe sude effects. Can I control this myself with life style changes? Fiona

        • If aggressive lifestyle changes are made early enough in the Afib process, it can often be reversed. Even if it can’t be reversed, aggressive lifestyle changes will allow whatever therapy your doctor prescribes to be more effective.

          Best,

          John

  3. Hi there.this is saleh al riyami 40 years old ..from sultante of oman. .is a really helpful information..I would like to share this with you..as I’m having problems in my kidneys I’m suffering with APKD polysistic kidney disease. And Atrial fibrillation. .of course my bp is high.I’m under medications to control high bp. And gout.is there any advice for my status? ? By the way I used to drink Alcohol but now 4 months since I quit..my creatinine is 180 ..I hope to get any help or advice from you guy’s. .her is my cell phone number just in case someone wants to talk to me 0096894022250

    • Hi Saleh,

      Thank you for reading! Sorry to hear about your health challenges. Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose or treat through the internet.

      To help turn things around for you, I would suggest that you continue to work with your local physicians until you can reverse as many medical conditions as possible. To turn things around focus on the basics like exercising everyday (if you are cleared to exercise by your physician), getting rid of processed/sugar foods, eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits, maintain a lean weight, manage stress, get least 7 hours of sleep at night, etc.

      Hope this helps!

      John