Sometimes we hear the question: "What need is there for anti-aging medicine when people are already living too long?"
Well let's consider that for a moment. Firstly, let's look at the past, would we have asked the same question when improvements were made to the general medical and sanitation systems that lead to the last big leaps in human life span? I think that the answer at the time would have been that such progress was necessary if not essential.
What would a person from the 19th century have made of open heart surgery? I imagine they might have felt it was against the rule of God, and yet who would ask a patient today about to undergo such an operation to lay down their life in the interest of humanity?
Our usual answer to such people asking such a question is: "Are you against progress or do you believe in euthanasia?" Because surely these are the only two options left available.
The fact is that the planet is already faced with having to cope with an expanding population, but the vast majority is in the third world countries, where old ways and old traditions still demand large families. Many first world countries already having a shrinking population base, a case where education has taught parents to have less children and enjoy a better material life into the bargain. This education and family planning has yet to really make its impact in the third world.
But the world continues to cope with its problems and we believe will continue to do so - whatever they may be, we should not, and cannot, stand still. But now let us consider some of the benefits of a healthy, agile, but elderly population.
First, you must stop thinking that a person today who is (for example) 90 years of age is of no use. The future will mean that a person of the future who is (for example) 150 years of age will be as fit as the healthiest 60 year old you know today, perhaps healthier! Scientists at the 1996 Las Vegas Anti-aging Conference were estimating that life spans in excess of 200 years were obtainable today! Of course the theory is that the longer one lives, the longer one exposes oneself to future technology and therefore the longer one extends life-span etc.
But what if we did have healthy, fit, agile 150 year olds, what would this mean? Well, perhaps people won't leave University until they are 45 or so, probably with professor qualifications too! People would have several careers in their lifetime, and children would be conceived less often and only when the parents were truly in a position to adore and take proper care of them.
People obviously wouldn't retire at 60-65 years of age, in fact, we personally know of very few people now who have retired in the true sense of the word. Most say they are busier now than when they worked for ACME Inc. etc., and of course they now all work at the pace they like and as such enjoy their lives much more.
Already the governments talk of the problems that are "around the corner," the pension funds that have been spent year to year, a system devised so that the workers of today look after the retirees of tomorrow. That's okay until the baby boomers (the single largest section of the population) become retirees in 2010. Then what? Do you realize that in 2020, 1 in 6 of the population will be considered elderly? (Source: United States Department of Commerce, 1990), by 2030, this will be 1 in 5 and by 2050, 1 in 3 !
Well, we already need to have a society that takes more care of itself, a society where retirees continue to contribute usefully and perhaps continue to earn an income. We need these retirees to stay out of expensive "quick fix" hospitals and stay away from expensive drug treatments. Our guess is that we will probably require these retirees to "pay their own way" and that "free" medical treatment will be confined to emergencies only.
We have to achieve this goal, because even now the estimate for the expansion of the population between 1998 and 2025 is going to be 200% for those between the ages of 65 and 85, and a staggering 400% increase for those over 85. Meanwhile, those between the ages of 15 and 64 grow at just 6% and those under 15 will grow at 5%. (Source: World Health Organization on Ageing and Health).
Do you have any idea of the Billions of Dollars that could be saved if we only keep the elderly out of convalescence homes and hospitals for just one day? Think of it like this, all diseases can be placed into 4 categories, they are inherited disease, infectious disease, accidents and degenerative disease. Degenerative disease is of course linear with aging, (i.e. it increases in possibility as we get older). The United States spends approximately $800 Billion a year on health care, and yet 90% of all health-care cost is spent on degenerative disease! In other words, aging costs the USA $700 Billion Dollars a year! (Source; US Health Care and Finance Administration).
Ultimately, the single biggest boon to society must be so many educated, seasoned individuals guiding the younger generations. We would have such an experienced leadership that the mistakes mankind makes currently every couple of generations (disputes, wars etc.), would all but disappear.
The Chinese are a society that holds their elderly in esteem. The difference in the future will be that these esteemed society members will also be able to look after themselves, remain agile and lucid and whilst not being a burden upon society, would in fact be major contributors to it.
2. What are the political factors impeding anti-aging medicine?
Of course all of the above means a major overhaul and rethink of the current situation. Dogma, vested interests and old-fashioned beliefs belie many aspects of our society, but none more so than that in the medical industry.
Tight controls, mountains of regulations and extraordinary drug prices are designed to "keep you safe." But the facts are that if you look at the Forbes 500 top world companies, most of the top 50 are pharmaceutical giants. The regulatory bodies that were designed to protect the public from excesses are now in fact funded by and co-opted by the same giants, we have in effect a "hand in glove" situation.
One may cynically argue that it is "good for profits" to remain having a sick society. If you disagree, then ask yourself; "why do we almost completely overlook the use of nutrients and hormones in treating sick people? Why do physicians only spend one week of their 5 years of training discussing nutrients? Who on earth believes that more that a tiny minority get everything they need out of their modern diets?"
Is it because that these same nutrients and hormones cannot be patented? There are no great profits to be made, but there are in drugs! Take America for example, there the average approval cost for a new drug to reach the market is nearly $500 million US Dollars, that's the average, read that figure again, the average approval time is 12 years. Who is going to spend that kind of time and money on approving a non patentable product, knowing that once approval is granted the product could be sold by anyone!
And then the system penalizes you for stating something about a product that is "not approved," physicians lose their licenses to practice, manufacturers lose their licenses to manufacture, pharmacies can no longer dispense and individuals can even go to prison.
Yet if we look around the world, we may well find a "non approved" product being used to treat disease X or a "approved" product being used to treat a "non approved" disease etc.
Many of tet that testing is often conducted again in full in other countries who may wish to use it. In other words, it takes a lot of time to get useful products onto the market. Of course this was developed after Thalidomide, when the dangers of bad drugs were meant to be prevented from reaching the market, but perhaps now we've turned full circle, and now we're preventing many good drugs from reaching the market too?
The bottom line is thus, there are many useful drugs in use around the world that may not be available in your country. There are many useful nutrients that when used at the correct dosages will help treat, alleviate or prevent a problem from occurring. But they are not discussed because the physicians aren't aware of them and the pharmaceutical giants can't make big profits on them, likewise the regulatory bodies won't approve them because no-ones paid for their approval processes.
What does all this mean? Well apart from the need for change, it means that your health is the same as all the other decisions you make in your life, you must find out for yourself what's going on and make your own informed decisions.
"The time will come when medicine will organize itself into an undercover dictatorship.... un-American and despotic." Benjamin Rush, M.D., Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
3. What kind of pressures are involved?
Anti-aging medicine does not fall into any of the "normal" categories. The category of "aging" is not covered in any of the regulatory bodies listing, that step demands too much from them and conflicts with the regular interests.
The internet is an area of course were control is proving hard to apply in all regions and "drugs on the net" is all too easily exploited by the media hype that follows such a sentence. And yet the Internet is truly the first medium that allows adults to be treated as such and make up their own minds.
Meanwhile, the FDA in America has suffered a blow, it can no longer control natural products that have not been proven to be dangerous. As such, products such as DHEA, pregnenolone, melatonin, 5HTP and progesterone creams remain available in health food stores.
However it can all too easily be done! As the authorities have in recent years proven with both L-Tryptophan and GHB, (both natural substances that are essential in human body chemistry), because both have been slated by them as causing serious side-effects including death. As a result they are virtually removed from the marketplace whilst drug-analogues of the natural chemicals are introduced. [If you are interested, the GHB story can be referenced from the Product Questions and Answers section].
If the alternative health medical and supplement field wants continued access to efficacious, and indeed scientifically and clinically backed natural substances it can never rest on its laurels. The struggle between true individual freedoms and the authorities, is an ongoing and continuous battle between two very different viewpoints and perspectives.
The European Union in contrast has already moved to control the movement of health products not only between member states, but even into and out of the European Union (no we didn't vote for it either). Whether you want to or not, whether you are able to have any say in it or not, if you live in the European Union you will be forced to order your "anti-aging" products from outside. This is due to confusion, threats and incompetence, and some suppliers already no longer ship any products to individuals within it.
Lastly, there is CODEX, a regulation mainly driven by Germany (possibly the most regulated country on the planet), to curb the availability and dosages of nutrients and other vitamin type products, currently to a maximum of 150% of the RDAs In other words - a vitamin C tablet containing no more than 45mg!
Of course there is no evidence of any real problems, and the cases of nutrient overdosing are extremely rare. But perhaps Germany wishes to have an even playing field, (i.e. one where everyone else is the same as them), one where nutrients can only be purchased at a pharmacy and one where they are only made by known pharmaceutical giants.
CODEX will severely limit the availability of products, estimated at reducing product availability between 30 and 50% and driving the cost of those remaining up dramatically, estimated by 4 or 5 times what they are now!
Their attitude seems to be that it doesn't matter what the people think, they won't have a say in it anyway. Our guess is that these "time wasting" bureaucrats need to feel that they are performing a useful task, and that unlike the real world of "free markets", they have to spend their allowance each year in order to obtain more the next. The bigger the empire the higher the position etc. By accident we have arrived with a non-producing inefficient system that interferes with every aspect of our daily lives, charges us dearly for it and claims that it is all done with our best interests at heart !
4. How the authorities may see it (and want it)
The following fictional story concentrates upon the way in which some authorities appear to view the dissemination of information about "drugs", as well as their physical distribution.
Whilst the information age is opening up the globe to international developments, individual countries' fear the loss of control of their controlled market place.
Whilst this is understandable in terms of ensuring that high quality/ production standards are met, it is more confusing to understand their approach to other first world countries innovations, and their approved uses of individual drugs.
It is also understandable that the authorities want to ensure that people are not told lies or "hood-winked" into something that is untrue. But when the information is derived from clinical, scientific research it is less so.
Looking globally we can find all of the following,
Some "drugs" are not considered "drugs" in other countries and as such, are available without prescription.
Some countries have "drugs" that are not available at all in other countries.
Some countries have approved the same "drugs" but for different reasons/ applications and protocols.
Some countries have approved the same drug but in a different format, for example a tablet rather than a cream or an injectable etc.
So with this background many countries' authorities allow their individuals to import small amounts with a medical professional's guidance, (but of course such regulations/ laws are not widely disseminated).
This is a type of safety valve that stops Aids activists (and the like) from marching on the department's headquarters!
So here's that story of an interpretation of how some authorities see the way it works,
"Whilst concerned about my deteriorating condition, I decided to speak to my doctor, who claimed that my loss of memory was natural, being due to my age and that I shouldn't be too concerned. When I pointed out that my father had died of Alzheimer's disease he became more attentive.
While we discussed various treatment protocols, it became clear to me that such programs weren't started until the disease itself was diagnosed! I had already been keen to discover alternatives and had always read articles that came my way, more recently I had become more active and had purchased a number of books, joined societies and organizations and had even scoured the Internet for information.
This had lead me to the conclusion that all was not lost, that in fact things could (and were) being done in other countries to prevent my condition from becoming worse, to "nip it in the bud" as it were.
My doctor was fascinated and understood that some of the products I had heard about were the same he would prescribe for the disease, but at much lower dosages. Some of the other products he had not heard of, so he agreed to read some of the clinical information I had discovered and we would meet again.
When we did meet again I was pleased to learn that my doctor had done some further research and appeared to have spoken to other medical professionals. They in turn had confirmed what I had been saying, that other countries did have different protocols and products that may be of use for me, now we were getting somewhere.
Together we went through clinical reports to ascertain a regime for my "aging" condition. I wondered why I had never heard through the mainstream press about these "alternatives" or why I had never seen any adverts from organizations that may be in a position to help me!
I later discovered that many countries have laws that forbid the advertising of "drugs" and that includes both approved and "unapproved" drugs. In fact ,individuals can face criminal charges for making "unapproved" claims about approved drugs! I was beginning to see the bigger picture.
I have also learnt, (and am concerned) that some authorities are stating that the Internet was advertising instead of an on-going electronic conversation!
Now we had decided upon a plan of action and a list of products was drawn up. Some research at the library led me to the fact that the products I required were made in Germany and sold in the Germanic countries. Whilst I was writing a letter to the German embassy for a list of pharmacies who could supply me, I was contacted by my lawyer.
I had asked him to investigate the legalities of me importing and using these "German drugs" and I was pleased to discover that I could import a small, (non-commercial) supply with my physician's guidance.
I also learned that this was applicable to prescription drugs, but not to controlled drugs, (which now included anabolic steroids); those required a special import license. That didn't concern me, as my products were not controlled.
My reply from the German embassy shocked me, there was a list of pharmacies but I was informed that in Germany, mail-order drug services were forbidden! There was no chance of getting them from Bonn to Berlin, never mind my hometown!
I had also been pursuing the Swiss embassy and they had sent a list of pharmacies and clinics. I started to contact them through any means possible, mail, phone, fax and e-mail. I was disappointed at the lack of return, most of which were negative anyway!
Some Swiss pharmacies I spoke to didn't know their position if they exported the products outside of Switzerland, not only were they concerned about the legal position, but also their contracts of "regional sales" with the manufacturers of the products! So they basically told me "that they'd rather not."
One or two pharmacies wanted my country's prescription, one helpful man told me that he appreciated that my country's prescription was neither valid nor checkable in his country, but he could keep it on his files, just to be sure.
I went back to my doctor. He seemed rather anti the idea now and not very keen to write a prescription for an "unapproved" product in our country. We later found out it was okay for him to do so, but looking back I think it was his fear of politically minded authorities and over zealously applied regulations that made him fear for his practising license. After all, I was becoming a nuisance and I only represented 0.1% of his practice, he had to be concerned about the other 99.9% as well. Having said that, he was very willing to assist me in every other way possible.
While all this was going on, (and probably due to the large volume of mail and contacts I had dispersed looking for my required "drugs"). I had received a number of very dubious replies, (mainly from third world countries), all touting brands of products that didn't appear to be made by very reputable companies. I decided that my heath was not to be gambled with and gave them a miss.
Finally I found a supplier who shipped my products to me on a signed declaration, that I assumed responsibility, liability and always sought a physician's advice. I am happy to say that I have struck up a relation with that company and that both my doctor and I feel that my problem is improving and being over-come."
You can make your own moral to the story, but it is a synopsis of the facts and not very far from different individuals' experiences.
5. Are there true freedoms?
As individuals we must always stay alert and watchful of those who are supposedly looking after us in our best interests.
There are moves afoot by the Rhode scholars of the world to eliminate choice, to make everywhere the same, without exception. For example there is ever more pressure and interest in "off-shore" pharmaceutical suppliers. One can read in newspaper reports about concerns of quality, but in reality the main concern is about control.
Recently the internet has been attacked as an area where individuals are gaining access to information and indeed products that are not recognized in other countries? Isn't this the whole point of information? Shouldn't one be able to gain access to data that represents a different view, to make a whole perspective, and to be able to cross-reference and establish that what you are learning about is recognized and in-use somewhere else? How else can one take control of one's life and perhaps even save it? How else can one understand and appreciate what may be on the other side of the fence?
The FDA and other countries authorities consider the internet a threat to their control. They want to dictate what you read about drugs and supplements and of course guide you to the cartel of their choice. Even though the United States Senate has stated that the internet is an on-going electronic conversation: Even though Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw have established in the Federal courts that statements about drugs and supplements can be made, provided they are based on scientific and clinical fact: Even though the Senate has made the FDA and US Customs regulation a law, (allowing the importation of drugs for personal use); they are trying to get a $10,000,000 extra budget to intimidate on-line pharmaceutical and nutritional information and product suppliers. Their goal is to lobby the United Nations, the G8, the banks, the European Union and individual country's governments in order that such operations are curtailed or shut down.
It's a situation of being seen to allow the individual a freedom to discover and import life-saving information and products on one hand, and crushing the organizations that could make it possible on the other. If you want further information about this, we would be happy to supply it and then you can contact your Senators, officials and press to tell them what you think. This is not a one sided story to "protect the public from greedy and malicious people who sell medicines;" at least this is how the FDA want you to see it.
We recommend that you support the Blue Ribbon campaign to be treated like an adult and keep the true freedom of speech on the Internet, click here for further information.
Do you value an alternative choice in your health care or is no choice and no hope acceptable to you?
There are groups actively involved with fighting CODEX and fighting the federal state of Europe and indeed the creeping Federalization of America etc.
Here at IAS, we are committed to establishing a "sanctuary" of anti-aging medicine and we hope that with your support, we will always be able to provide an outlet of freethinking in the medical community, as well as access to life enhancing products.
Tell us what you think! We would be happy to post some comments here at the website. Send us a message by clicking here.
"Human progress has never been achieved with unanimous consent. Those who are enlightened first are compelled to pursue the light in spite of others." Christopher Columbus (1492).
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
"To grow old in a beautiful and dignified way is at the same time a science and an art." Professor Ana Aslan