Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
“There is no Cure for this Disease.”
In my youth, I heard it said that there is no cure for the diseases or symptoms of aging, namely loss of firm bodies, muscular strength, and brain speed. I now beg to differ with this stale aphorism. We can alter the deleterious pathways of aging.
One day long ago, I entered the penthouse suite of the Journal of Longevity. I was warmly greeted by its editor-in-chief, Glenn Braswell. He engaged me in an intriguing conversation for almost an hour about longevity and antiaging remedies. Eventually one of his employees interrupted us with a company budget sheet. The sheet listed a large set of subscriber numbers and payments of subscription fees. He wanted some totals, which his employee could not supply. Then he ordered a calculator. I offered to give him the totals without a calculator. Ever since my experiences with brain-enhancing nutrients, I have been able to easily multiply and divide lists of figures in my head. I gave Braswell the totals he sought within a few minutes. He beamed with surprise and wanted me to write an article about brain- and body-enhancing therapies. During the past decade, I have expanded my original article when new research presented itself as follows.
All of us are at war with an insidious and relentless foe called aging. A war of this magnitude requires an unflinching commitment to avoid the diseases of aging and postpone the vulgarity of death. To achieve these ends, we need a targeted and directed strategy. This strategy should encompass exercise and diet (protein) combined with hormone correction therapy.
Most people endure poor to average health, and they remain largely unconcerned about their health until faced with a serious illness. On the other hand, star athletes, firefighters, and many military personnel enjoy above-average health due to the demands of their jobs. The former are those with sagging bodies, and I classify them as unhealthy. The latter are those with firm bodies, and I classify them as healthy. Those with sagging bodies often have drooping bellies, triceps, and thighs. Those with firm bodies often enjoy above-average cognitive function and brain speed.
Above-average health is possible for everyone willing to learn about and apply some recently discovered principles of antiaging medicine. Truly superior mental and physical health are achievable for those willing to learn the latest preventative and antiaging medical remedies as described in my book Stay 40 (1).
By ‘truly superior,’ I mean what I, age 67, and my older patients have achieved. For example, our bodies have transformed from droopy to firm. Second, at my advanced age, I recently proved the value of my therapies by carrying, all by myself, a queen-size mattress and box spring up a flight of stairs in five minutes flat. Third, after consuming my daily cocktail of Armour® thyroid, ubiquinol (CoQ10), vitamin D3, magnesium, ACF 228™, testosterone gel, HGH, and IGF-1, I was able to climb 12-foot ladders enthusiastically with my chain saws and trim my ironwood forest energetically for several hours without tiring. These feats of extreme strength and balance are normally not possible in any senior I have ever met. Also, these feats testify to the efficacy of my recommendations that improve physical strength and balance, tighten firm bodies, and enhance brain speed.
But, you may well ask, what about helping younger people who are, perhaps, under 50 years old? It turns out that prominent baseball players have already paved the way and offered us solid data about brain and body enhancements. On June 26, 2011, the New York Times Magazine featured a front-page article about sports that focused on baseball players’ rapidly declining abilities after age 30. For example, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth had their strongest years during their early twenties, and, subsequently, their abilities slid dramatically downhill, especially after age 30. Their downhill slide had nothing to do with their physical strength and skills, which often continue to improve during baseball players’ thirties and forties. Instead, I am speaking of a decline in brain speed.
A baseball batter has about 400 milliseconds (ms) to make a decision to swing at an incoming ball or let it pass over the diamond plate. Before age 30, 75 ms are required for the sensory cells in the eye’s retina to encode ball information regarding its speed and trajectory and to send that information to the brain. In under-30-year-old athletes, approximately another 175 ms are needed for the player to make the decision to swing into the ball as it crosses the diamond plate. Indeed, young players have ample time (75 + 175 = 250 ms) to process and follow through their swing as a ball crosses the plate.
On the other hand, players over the age of 30 often require as much as 300 ms to decide to swing at the ball crossing the diamond plate. Thus, older players need approximately 375 ms (75 + 300 = 375 ms) to decide to follow through by batting a ball as it crosses the plate. Thus, older players are sorely pressed for time since 375 ms is nearly the same time interval (400 ms) required for the ball to travel from the pitcher to the diamond plate. Older players’ focus and reaction times diminish dramatically from their twenties to their thirties. Therefore, to gain extra milliseconds, they will compensate or ‘fudge’ by using a shorter and lighter bat, by stepping into their swing area, and by starting their swing sooner. Still further gains in decision and follow-through times are achieved by swinging at balls only in the lower half-quadrant of the strike zone—that is to say, below the belt and toward the ground.
These fudging techniques allow older players to stay in the game until about age 40 but unfortunately at the expense of lower batting scores compared to younger players’. Other famous sportsmen have experienced similar difficulties when they have approached aging’s effects on brain speed—usually between ages 26 and 30. For example, probably the greatest US Olympian ever, 26-year-old swimmer Michael Phelps, recently climbed out of the water after a race and said to reporters, “I feel like an old man coming out of the pool sometimes.” Ditto for golfer Tiger Woods, who has experienced burnout at age 35!
Apparently, these extraordinary stars of the sports world can no longer summon the focus and motivation to perform as they did during their youth, even when muscle strength and sports experience continue to improve. As we shall see later, focus and motivation are strongly correlated with sufficient amounts of anabolics, especially anabolics such as human growth hormone and IGF-1.
The endocrine glands of athletes in their youth naturally produce anabolic hormones, but these decline significantly after age 30. Anabolics decline so much that even star athletes are reduced to being minor back-bench players with reduced athletic prowess. I am referring to anabolics such as human growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone, DHEA, and estradiol.
I believe that declining athletic abilities can be and indeed have been reversed, as would be evident if we were to study the records of athletes during the heyday of anabolic steroid use from 1990 to 2004. During this 14-year period, Barry Bonds, for example, hit 258 home runs in his five seasons between ages 35 and 39—an average of 51 a year. Rafael Palmeiro’s best home-run season began at age 30 and continued until age 38. Roger Clemens led the National League in earned-run average at age 42. Thanks to anabolic steroids, baseball aficionados have never seen anything like these ‘second-wind’ feats of athletic prowess before or since!
Many people tell me that they look forward to aging gracefully. Apparently they think that aging is not an insidious and relentless foe, and they leave questions of death and mortality to their religious leaders. Their main concern is maintaining a clear mind and supple memory during their later years.
However, medical science has recently provided us with another solution. A study from the Yale Medical School addresses new research that resolves one underlying cause of declining memory, cognition, and brain speed. Yale professor of neurobiology Amy Arnsten reported her research group’s breakthrough findings in the July 27, 2011, issue of the prominent scientific journal Nature. In this leading journal, Professor Arnsten unequivocally stated that the neurons of older primates showed slower firing rates than those of younger primates due to excessive levels of the signaling molecule cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). Furthermore, she stated personally to me that only some cellular subcompartments of brain cells are poorly regulated. Until this important information had been published, no one knew for certain why neurons fire at a slower rate during aging.
The front of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex, and it consists of a network of neurons that keep information ‘in mind,’ even without cues from the environment. This in-mind ‘memory pad’ must be supported by neurons that fire persistently. When the memory pad neurons do not fire persistently, we tend to forget things more often, we become easily distracted and out of focus, and we have greater difficulty with executive functions such as paying bills, accessing medical care, or swinging at baseballs crossing over a diamond plate. We even have difficulty accessing basic information needed to carry on a conversation or argument with others. Thus, persistent firing of neurons is critical to our mental health and happiness during our senior years—or to swinging a bat or rapidly swimming during our youthful years.
Professor Arnsten has been busy testing numerous prescription drugs that block excessive cAMP buildup in neurons, especially those in the prefrontal lobes; however, I would like to suggest a simpler and more natural approach to preventing excessive cAMP buildup. I refer to a published research paper by Professor Daniel Chesik and his research group in the Department of Neurology, at the University Medical Center, Groningen, Netherlands (2). In 2008, Professor Chesik’s group found that the polypeptide IGF-1 reduces cAMP in brain cells, such as astrocytes. IGF-1 helps to reduce cAMP by allowing for a slower flow of potassium and other ions (HCN) in all brain cells, which in turn allows for more rapid and regulated neuron firing, essential for a highly functional memory pad.
Additionally, during the past decade, it has become well established in more than 240 medical publications that IGF-1 improves memory, brain speed, body firmness, and physical stamina (3). Extensive research indicates that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with lower levels of IGF-1 (3, 4–12). Until now, however, we did not know why IGF-1 would counter memory and cognitive losses. Thanks to the work of Professors Arnsten and Chesik and their research groups, we now have a concrete explanation of why IGF-1 improves memory, cognition, and brain speed. Additionally, we now know why IGF-1 helps more than other hormones to reverse aging by repairing and regenerating nerves, lowering insulin, and countering the body’s declining enzyme system.
According to the latest research available in medical journals, half of all Americans over age 50 have some cognitive decline. By age 65, 8 percent have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By age 80, 45 percent of Americans have Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, in countries with people who commit to healthier diets and lifestyles than in the United States, these awful percentages are dramatically lower. For example, in Sweden only 30 percent of 85-year-olds have Alzheimer’s disease (1).
Some reasons behind these statistics are simple. The brain is made up of 70 percent fat. Over a lifetime, if we choose to fill the brain with junk food such as hamburgers and transfat french fries, our brains will lack the necessary fatty acids that neurons need to continue functioning properly into our senior years. On the other hand, Swedish, Mediterranean, and Japanese diets often contain healthy amounts of fish. Brains filled with healthy omega-3 fish fats (fatty acids) allow neurons and prefrontal memory pads to function better. Also, a 300-gram daily consumption of fresh fish supplies sufficient quality protein, and the supplements ACF 228™, and magnesium for IGF-1 to operate more optimally.
Consequently, a healthy protein diet is essential to maintaining proper brain function. A healthy diet and exercise combined with natural, nonsynthetic anabolics such as IGF-1, which regulate cAMP, assure enhanced brain function. Other natural substances that encourage enhanced strength, firmness, balance, and brain speed are human growth hormone (HGH), ubiquinol (CoQ10), testosterone, DHEA, and estradiol.
I believe in copying Mother Nature whenever possible. For millions of years, nature has provided all mammals, including humans, with natural substances that sustain and enhance our brains and bodies, especially during our youth. Correcting for deficiencies after age 30 is a targeted and directed strategy that prevents the diseases of aging and postpones the vulgarity of death.
1. Lippman, Richard. Stay 40, Outskirts Press Inc., Denver, CO, 2009.
2. Chesik, D., Wilczak, N., De Keyer, J. IGF-1 regulates cAMP levels in astrocytes through a ß²-adrenergic receptor-dependent mechanism. Int J Med Sci 2008;5:240–43.
3. Hertoghe, Thierry. The Hormone Handbook, Vol.2, International Medical Pub, Surrey, England, 2010.
4. Aleman, A., de Vries, W.R., de Haan, E.H., Verhaar, H.J., Samson, M.M., Koppeschaar, H.P. Age-sensitive cognitive function, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 plasma levels in healthy older men. Neuropsychobiology 2000 Jan;41(2):73–8.
5. Aleman, A., de Vries, W.R., Doppeschaar, H.P., Osman-Dualeh, M., Verhaar, H.J., Samson, M.M., Bol, E., de Haan, E.H. Relationship between circulating levels of sex hormones and insulin-like growth factor-1 and fluid intelligence in older men. Exp Aging Res 2001 Jul–Sep;27(3):283–91.
6. Stouthart, P.J., Deijen, J.B., Roffel, M., Delemarre-van de Waal, H.A. Quality of life of growth hormone (GH) deficient young adults during discontinuation and restart of GH therapy. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2003;28(5):612–26.
7. Arwert, L.I., Veltman, D.J., Deijen, J.B., Lammertsma, A.A., Jonker, C., Drent, M.L. Memory performance and the growth hormone insulin-like growth factor axis in elderly: A positron emission tomography study. Neuroendocrinology 2005;81(1):31–40.
8. Watanabe, T., Miyazaki, A., Katagiri T., Yamamoto, H., Idei, T., Iguchi, T. Relationship between serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels and Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc 2005 Oct;53(10):1748–53.
9. Torres-Aleman, I. Targeting insulin-like growth factor-1 to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Expert Opin Ther Targets 2007 Dec;11(12):1535–42.
10. Sonntag, W.E., Ramsey, M., Carter, C.S. Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and their influence on cognitive aging. Ageing Res Rev 2005 May;4(2):195–212.
11. Watanabe, T., Yamamoto, H., Idei, T., Iguchi, T., Katagiri, T. Influence of insulin-like growth factor-1 and hepatocyte growth factor on carotid atherosclerosis and cognitive function in the elderly. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2004;18(1):67–74.
12. Saatman, K.E., Contreras, P.C., Smith, D.H., Raghupathi, R., McDermott, K.L., Fernandez, S.C., Sanderson, K.L., Voddi, M., McIntosh, T.K. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) improves both neurological motor and cognitive outcome following experimental brain injury. Exp Neurol 1997 Oct;147(2):418–27.