The approach to anti-aging medicine I have developed at SFPMG is with the understanding that our body has its own anti-aging program in place. How the body’s amazing system works serves us as a model and guide. The two basic systems the body uses to renew itself are the anabolic and catabolic systems. Anabolic can be called the building activity, catabolic can be called the breaking down/elimination activity.
People with whom I work with often hear me referring to parts of the anti-aging program in these terms. This article is to add to our common understanding of how and why we best work with our body by following these principals in practice. As we observe and study how these systems are doing their jobs the more we are left in awe with the intelligence and quantity of building and cleansing that is already happening. We also come to see that these two parts of the system of anti-aging, anabolic and catabolic, are not opposites as they may at first seem. They complement and enhance the activity of one another instead of being opposites.
An impressive measurable result of this activity is regardless of our biological age, every cell in our body is regrown every 7 years. Since science has put the conservative estimate of cells in our body at 50 trillion that means our bodies produces 19.6 billion new cells each day. Now that is some kind of rejuvenation program! Every human being is given this system as their birthright. What a system to be able to study.
As we approach anti-aging medicine through a gradual understanding of our body’s rejuvenation system we can better utilize the great advances developing in science with this body centered balanced disciplined approach. Doctors and patients alike are then far less likely to stray into mistakes.
I have seen mistakes such as excessive hormones (anabolic) or overly restrictive dieting, fasting and other cleansing programs as purifications. Patients are now even taking large dosages of drugs to attack questionable pathogen problems (cleansing) as part of a suggested anti-aging program. Once we see the two systems as separate and work too strongly with either one, problems usually arise.
It seems our “job” so to speak as doctors and patients of anti-aging medicine is to be mindful of the above as best we can while proceeding in anti-aging programs. This is how more can be accomplished with less. The present powerful harmony of anabolic and catabolic activity is then able to support our efforts. The treatment of osteoporosis is a practical example of the contrasts between adhering to the anabolic/catabolic system in one instance and not in the other. Building new bone is of course anabolic. But we must allow the old bone cells to be eliminated. This is the corresponding catabolic activity. However, as proof of frequent loss of the perception how these systems are actually one, patients who have bones which are thinning are usually prescribed medications blocking the catabolic breakdown of older bone cells which have become brittle. The anabolic phase is not addressed by the medication. In fact, the build up of bone is decreased even further by the medication. The bone density test results do improve. Thus the medication gets FDA approval. The problem is that the improvement to bone density only comes from the retention of older, brittle bone cells. Not surprisingly, there is no good evidence in any study that these very costly medications alone have reduced the incidence of fractures or need for joint replacements.
The result is that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on drugs which improve bone density testing but are unsuccessful at reversing the actual aging of bones. In fact the bone tissue with these medications will become older, not younger. There are also excellent studies indicating the serious side effects such as GI bleeding from these medications.
Thus more of the elderly are being confined to wheelchairs with non-healing fractures, not less, since we have spent the cumulated billions of dollars (and counting) on these medications. As we understand the deep harmony of the anabolic/catabolic anti-aging system, it seems credible to say that attempts to do anti-aging by working against the system will inevitably create new problems.
One can easily paint the pharmaceutical industry as a villain, but this is not really the case. Since the 1950’s the pharmaceutical companies has accounted for countless positive advances. For example, there are no TB sanitariums or iron lung wards in hospitals. We are thankful for this change. The problem is applying their method of invasive action outside of acute emergencies and severe infections into areas such as healthy aging just does not work.
Doctors and patients who study natural medical advances know of several bio-identical substances which have excellent research to demonstrate that anabolic bone building can be enhanced without harm to the catabolic system. Vit. D3 is an example of such a compound. Vit D3 does not need the expensive medications to show a reduction in bone fractures. It is very inexpensive, so inexpensive in fact that little marketing can be done to doctors and patients. What this compound does is create new, healthy bone which is not brittle or weak. Anti-aging physicians such as myself understand how this can be done safely and effectively.
This is only one area in anti-aging medicine where we can do much better as a society if we enhance our study of how we perceive what the body wants and does things and then continue to develop programs of enhancement instead of interference. The anabolic and catabolic systems are how our body has been effectively renewing itself for countless millennia. We are thankful for the guidance.
Wishing you all the best in health and life.
Paul Lynn, M.D.