Longevity News and Review with Dr. Goldman & Dr. Kltaz
Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 20,000 physician and scientist members from 90 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent, and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimize the human aging process. Â Dr. Ronald Klatz, A4M president, and Dr. Robert Goldman, FAASP, A4M chairman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their commentary.
The Correlation Between Aging, Weight, and Disability
The inability to function independently is on the rise in obese men and women age 60+. Dawn Alley and Virginia Chang, from the University of Pennsylvania examined the association between obesity and disability by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. They found that functional impairment among obese individuals increased by 5.4 percent between 1999-2004 as compared to 1988-1994. In the 1988-1994 timeframe, obese individuals were nearly twice as likely to have a functional impairment (as compared to their normal-weight counterparts). From 1999 to 2004, the likelihood of functional impairment increased to almost three-fold.
Dr. Klatz observes: As this study shows, excess weight can result in significant impairments to functional independence as we age, thus directly hampering quality of life. To combat gaining pounds as you age, engage in regular physical activity that is aerobic in nature (such as 30-60 minutes of brisk walking, five or more days of the week). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity, but even small amounts of activity are healthier than a sedentary lifestyle.
Overweight/Obesity Once Again Associated to Lengthy List of Causes of Death
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the the ratio between height and weight. The number indicates whether a person is underweight, overweight, or within a normal weight range. Individuals with a BMI of 25.0 or greater are considered overweight and those with a BMI of 30.0 or greater are considered obese. Katherine M. Flegal, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for the period 1971 to 2002. The researchers found that overweight increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In addition, individuals who were overweight (as well as those who were underweight) had an increased risk of death from causes other than cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Specifically, overweight/obesity was correlated to increased risk of death from diabetes and kidney disease. Obesity also raised the risk of death from cancers of the colon, breast, esophagus, uterus, ovaries, kidney, and pancreas.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: According to the World Health Organization, globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese. People are becoming obese due to the availability of food, changes in the kind of food eaten, and decreased exercise. Industrialization, urbanization and mechanized transport have reduced physical activity, thus more than 60 percent of the global population is not sufficiently active. Itâ€™s important for people to understand that by failing to maintain a healthy weight, they leave themselves at an increased risk of dying from a multitude of causes.
Vitamin D Slows the Aging Process
Vitamin D inhibits the bodyâ€™s inflammatory response and thus reduces the turnover of leukocytes (a type of white blood cell). Researchers have previously established that the length of the leukocyte telomere (the endcap of the chromosome) as a predictor of aging-related disease, decreasing as a result of increased inflammation. J. Brent Richards, from King’s College, London School of Medicine, and colleagues measured leukocyte telomeres in more than 2,000 women and found that those with longer telomeres had higher levels of Vitamin D stored in their bodies. After factoring for age, the researchers determined that women with higher levels of vitamin D were more likely to have longer leukocyte telomeres. Reports the team: â€œThe difference … was â€¦ equivalent to five years of telomeric aging.â€ Dr. Richards observes: â€œThese results are exciting because they demonstrate for the first time that people who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more slowly than people with lower levels.â€
Comments Dr. Klatz: This study shows that higher vitamin D concentrations, which can be readily achieved by nutritional supplementation, modulate the aging of key immune system cells. It clearly underscores the potentially beneficial effects of vitamin D on aging and age-related diseases.Filed under: Health