I recently enjoyed a pleasant and highly informative interview with Prof. R. from the University of California. Prof. R. has both an MD and JD and has practiced oncology (cancer therapy) for more than thirty years. Out of curiosity, I posed the following question:
“Given your extensive background in oncology, how was it possible humans could run naked on the savannas of Africa for over 100,000 years without acquiring skin cancer?”
Prof. R. smiled knowingly and said: “Many millennia ago, before humans migrated out of Africa they had very black skin rich in melanocytes (pigment-producing skin cells). This dark skin protected them from the sun’s cancerous UV radiation. In fact, today’s medical literature states that incidence of melanoma and squamous cell carcinomas are thirty times greater in light-skinned people versus dark-skinned people. Furthermore, when albinos are born in Africa today, they are totally pale and lacking in melanocytes and they easily acquire skin cancers when exposed to the powerful African sun.”
I thanked Prof. R. for his insight into skin cancer and anthropology. I wondered why this valuable information isn’t widely known and reported by the media. Subsequently, I added the following comment:
“Many thanks, Prof. R., for your wise and definitive statement. Allow me to add that the natural hormone MSH-2 (melanocyte stimulating hormone 2) stimulates our melanocytes to darken our skin. This darkening will improve our appearance and help prevent skin cancers. In addition, MSH-2 has other vital functions that promote superior health.”
I shook hands with Prof. R., and we parted company. I proceeded to take a long walk to contemplate the benefits of MSH-2. My thinking developed as follows:
After studying endocrinology for decades, I remembered that MSH-2 does much more than merely tan the skin. Indeed, it is critical to firm the skin and tone the muscles. I knew this because MSH-2 (MSH2-Pro™) is an anabolic hormone that works synergistically with other anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, estradiol, DHEA, growth hormone (Releasing-Pro™) and IGF-1. They tighten and firm the skin and muscles, especially in young people who have naturally high levels of anabolic hormones. On the other hand, in many people over fifty these anabolics are deficient and consequently, the skin begins to pale and both the skin and muscles begin to sag and shrink.
As a result of anabolic deficiencies, nearly a third of muscle strength is lost between ages fifty and seventy. This condition, called sarcopenia, limits the range of motion and balance and increases the risk of falls. Indeed, in men an average age of seventy, the muscles have weakened so significantly that half cannot rise from an armchair without the help of their arms to propel them upward.
Second, these same men—and some even younger—develop skin folds on their backs that look like draperies of pale skin due to the lack of anabolics, especially growth hormone (Releasing-Pro™) and MSH-2 (MSH2-Pro™).
Figure 1. The firm and toned muscles of black athletes, especially their triceps.
These anabolics work together like a well-tuned and balanced orchestra. This synergistic balance encourages youthful skin and muscles. If you doubt this statement, please observe the tremendously firm and toned muscles of black athletes, especially their triceps (Figure One). Even average athletic African Americans may develop well-rounded and shaped triceps, such as in the case of the 50-year-old First Lady, Michele Obama (Figure Two).
Figure 2- Michelle Obama’s triceps
How can we encourage improved skin and muscles?
In a subsequent interview with dermatologist W. Wong, MD, PhD, I confirmed the details from Prof. R.’s interview. Dr. Wong agreed that none of her darker-skinned patients acquired skin cancer. When these patients do get melanoma, it’s usually on the bottoms of their feet since these areas lack melanocytes and MSH2.
Ironically, she added that darkly pigmented skin shields the dermal (deep) layers of the skin from producing vitamin D3, which is both the critical vitamin and hormone for avoiding twenty-six other forms of cancer. I knew from the medical literature that both light- and dark-skinned people require blood levels of 50 to 90 ng/ml of D3 for preventative health. D3 also controls optimal levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood. (Since all sodas contain large quantities of phosphates, drinking soda inhibits some of the benefits of D3.) Unfortunately, many people over the age of fifty do not convert ordinary vitamin D to its active form, namely D3 (IAS have D3 in 5000 and 50,000 IU capsules). Thus, many seniors consuming fish or ordinary drugstore vitamin D do not receive the benefits of more optimal blood levels.
The same is true in the case of vitamin B12 because it absorbs poorly in the GI tract of people over fifty. IAS sells Beyond B12® by Longevity Plus that absorbs well in people of all ages according to its inventor, Garry Gordon, MD.
Dr. Wong also suggested that retinol cream would further boost skin health. In her busy practice, Dr. Wong uses a prescription-based, high-dose retinol cream. The good people at International Antiaging Systems sells Retin-A® in cream or microgel forms, and it’s extremely effective in eliminating mild wrinkles or fine lines in the face and neck. I strongly recommend these creams and gels for any sensible anti-aging or anti-wrinkling program. These products rapidly produce anti-aging benefits including measurable reductions in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduced skin laxity, reductions in both tactile and visual skin roughness, increased skin clarity, reduced pore size, and reduced sensitivity to photo-damaged skin throughout thirty weeks of clinical test studies (1).
Dr. Wong also uses a wonderful skin filler called Radiesse® in her practice, a completely natural filler containing calcium hydroxylapatite that she injects against the cheek or forehead bone to thicken facial skin. She injects this great natural product with a microcannula, not a hypodermic needle. I strongly recommend Radiesse® for filling out mild wrinkles caused by loss of collagen and elastin during aging. It also works by stimulating the body to produce its own natural collagen.
Moderate or severe wrinkling treatment
“During the last 4½ years, Dr. Hertoghe has the only new strategy to positively impact the body’s physiology on its undesirable road to old age.”
Please note that the above remedies are for mild wrinkling. For moderate or severe wrinkling, you should turn to an experienced anti-aging dermatologist who routinely practice face lift and chemical peeling (Figure Three).
Figure 3 Patient (A) before and (B) 8 weeks after face lift and peri-oral (upper lip, inferior lip and chin) deep peel.
However, I believe most people can successfully avoid the moderate or severe wrinkling that nearly always occurs during advanced aging if they follow Dr. Thierry Hertoghe’s protocol developed during the last 4½ years. Briefly, his protocol advocates daily exercise, a Paleolithic diet and balanced nutrients and hormones, especially twice daily consumption of growth hormone (Releasing-Pro™), IGF-1 and MSH-2 (MSH2-Pro™). These latter three are called the Hertoghe Formula or Cocktail (2).
Results of the Hertoghe formula for the scientifically minded
Thirty months of treatment revealed that hypothyroid (low thyroid) blood values of T3 and T4 improved from 63 and 0.8 ng/dl, respectively, to euthyroid (good thyroid) blood values of 115 and 1.2 ng/dl. Interestingly, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) remained suppressed at 0.07 μIU/ml.
Second, a hypogonadal (low testosterone) blood value of total testosterone (T) improved from 230 to a very youthful eugonadal (good testicular) level of 1021 ng/dl. In male patients, serum estradiol (E2) only rose from 27 to 31 pg/ml due to slightly increased aromatization of T to E2. Third, 24-hour urine tests revealed that the sum of five 17-hydroxysteroids, (adrenal gland production of cortisone, cortisol, tetrahydrocortisone, allo-tetrahydrocortisol and tetradydrocortisol) was excessively elevated to 10,607 μg/ml at the beginning of the trial. Subsequently, they normalized to 7,395 μg/ml after thirty months of treatment. Note that the normal range of 5,000 to 10,000 μg/ml is the sum of these five steroids (3). Please observe that ameliorating cortisol and its metabolites slows catabolic destruction of the body and thus, prevents some aspects of aging.
Lastly, at the beginning of the trial IGF-1 rose from a very deficient 78 ng/ml level to a thirty-month treatment level more in line with people in their 40s, namely 177 ng/ml.
After following the Hertoghe Formula faithfully for four years, I can report with confidence than my body’s endocrine glands, (thyroid, testes, adrenals, pituitary, etc.) have repaired themselves and routinely produce hormones at levels equivalent to people decades younger than myself! (See the enclosed science box). In other words, higher hormone levels will return older patients to their thirties and forties, hormonally speaking, after approximately thirty months of treatment. Even higher hormone levels may be achieved by consuming individual bio-identical anabolic hormones.
As demonstrated in the results section, the Hertoghe Formula or Cocktail tempers the aging process and slows the epigenetics of normal aging. During the last 4½ years, Dr. Hertoghe has created the only new strategy to positively impact the body’s physiology on its undesirable road to old age.
Interestingly, Jeffery Life, MD, has remodeled his own sixty-year-old body to that of a mature athlete by following hormone balancing, daily exercise and superior nutrient consumption. He argues that the older individual can approximate the superior physiological dynamics of a younger athlete by following known and proven strategies such as Dr. Hertoghe’s. These strategies result in a superior toned and tanned body with a six-pack, even if you are in your senior years. Further, he proposes remodeling the older body by adopting an optimal epigenetic protocol.
The Hertoghe Formula or Cocktail will achieve exactly what Dr. Life and other knowledgeable anti-aging doctors advocate if you are willing to commit yourself to a minimum of thirty months of treatment. Other strategies, such as Prof. R’s, Dr. Wong’s and Dr. Life’s, will immediately benefit your appearance and your resistance to cancer.
I gratefully thank these doctors for providing me with new insights into preventative medicine and skin care.
1. Prime Int. J. Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Med., Jan./Feb. 2014, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Chemical Peels for Wrinkle Reduction and Photoaging, Vitor Figueiredo, MD, pp. 18-27.
2. Hertoghe, T. 2010, The Hormone Handbook, Vol. 2, International Medical Press, Luxembourg.