Dr. Day is a cardiologist and Medical Director of Heart Rhythm Services at his practice in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowship in cardiology at Stanford University. He is board certified in Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology.
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.
Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.