Overview of Aging
Some scientists and physicians suggest that aging is a ‘disease’. This is not a fair description. Aging is not a disease but part of the process of life itself! You cannot reverse aging but you can help slow it down to an optimal level which nature intended.
So, how long should we live for?
This is a subject of much debate and disagreement. Some scientists claim extraordinary times…200+ years. However, this is really in the realm of science fiction.
The position of Xtend-Life is that it is possible to live to the projected maximum human life span of 120 years. To achieve this, your life has to be well balanced! In other words, your lifestyle, your diet, the amount of exercise you do, the environment you live in and your nutrient intake have to be as close as possible to optimal.
PLUS, you have to aim for inner peace or, at least avoid excess stress in your life.
Over the next few decades we will see people achieving the age of 120 years in good health. It has not been so in the past because it is only in recent years that scientists have really got an understanding of what causes us to age at the rate that we do.
As a nutritional / supplement company, we at Xtend-Life naturally focus on what your body needs to ensure optimal nutrient intake to avoid degenerative disease. It is one of the most important components to living a long life free from degenerative disease. By ensuring that you have an adequate supply of the CORRECT nutrients, and by ensuring your body is in the best condition to accept and metabolise those nutrients, you can help slow down four of the main causes of aging.
- Free Radicals
By addressing these 4 components of aging you have a better chance of avoiding the 5th component of aging and degenerative disease which is hormonal deregulation.
Xtend-Life provides the best anti aging supplements and products to help you slow down these 4 components. Xtend-Life also provides the best type of supplement to ensure that your body is able to absorb the nutrients from your diet and from your supplements more optimally, with reduced stress on your digestive system (one of the most important systems in your body).
There is also a 6th component, the digestive system. If this is imbalanced, under continual stress, storing excess toxins, and not able to function at its best it can be the root cause to most future degenerative disease, as well as many common symptoms such as aches and pains, tiredness, bad skin, bloating, and more.
In this webpage we shall review all of these components and show how they can be effectively addressed.
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Free radicals are created by oxidation. In excess they will accelerate your aging and create havoc for your health!
They are simple molecules with an electron missing. In an effort to become ‘whole’ again they seek out other chemical structures in our bodies from where they can steal an electron.
After they ‘acquire’ an electron the chemical structure/tissue from where they ‘stole’ that electron is left seriously damaged!
Free radicals in small and controlled quantities are OK and indeed are helpful in everyday metabolism and they take part in normal reactions in the body. The problems start when the production of these free radicals increases and then get out of control.
Oxidation is unavoidable! So long as we breathe oxygen there will be oxidation in our body and thus the creation of free radicals will always continue!
In an ideal world with no pollution, perfect diet and no stress, the level of free radical activity would be ‘normal’ and they would not be a serious problem and we would live to a ripe old age as the Hunza’s and other isolated groups of people used to.
BUT…that is not the case! Instead, we are subjected to air pollution, second hand smoke, lack of nutrients in our diet, artificial radiation, toxins in food and we are inadvertently exposed to a wide range of toxic chemicals in our daily lives. (Even in our furniture)!
Collectively this is bad news for those of us living in the ‘civilized’ world.
There are three ways to minimize the damage from free radicals:
- Environmentally through avoiding pollution, radiation etc. Impossible if you live in a ‘civilized’ populated area
- Neutralizing of free radicals by antioxidants
- Increasing the elimination of cells damaged by free radicals
How do antioxidants neutralize free radicals?
In simple terms they voluntarily give one of their electrons to a free radical molecule! antioxidants can do this without hurting themselves. It is nature’s way of keeping the oxidation process in check. Oxidation is a critical tool for nature. If it did not occur then nothing would degrade or decompose.
But, it must be kept in balance. Three or four decades ago free radicals were not so much as a problem for two reasons.
- Our food was not processed and as such much more nutritious and contained adequate antioxidants. This is certainly not the case today.
- We were not exposed to the same level of pollution, radiation, toxins in food and chemicals in our everyday environment.
‘Experts’ who suggest that it is possible to get enough antioxidants from diet to control excess free radical activity are just sticking their ‘heads in the sand’ and not facing reality.
Today we face a double ‘whammy’…the generation of free radicals at a rate which has never before been experienced by the human race, and the depletion of antioxidants from our food supply.
Examples of antioxidants…
There are literally hundreds of antioxidants, all with varying levels of potency. For example, the common vitamins A, C and E are all antioxidants, but they are quite weak, likewise selenium. They are all necessary but they don’t hold a ‘candle’ to a really potent antioxidant such as L-Glutathione.
The body can produce L-Glutathione (providing your internal systems are functioning OK and it is given the necessary precursors) but if possible it is desirable to supplement with it directly.
However, supplementation with L-Glutathione is not effective in most supplements for two reasons. One is that it has to be taken in the special ‘reduced’ form. This is a smaller molecular size as the ‘normal’ L-Glutathione will not pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. This reduced form is a lot more expensive than the normal L-Glutathione and few manufacturers use it.
The second reason is that it must be protected as it passes through the stomach before being released in the upper intestine. This is the only place that L-Glutathione when taken orally can be effective. This means that the supplement must be in the form of an enteric coated tablet and the nutrient released in the upper intestine.
Total Balance uses enteric coating technology AND the special reduced form of L-Glutathione.
Some of the other good antioxidants which whilst not as potent as L-Glutathione are still more potent that the common vitamins:
- Grape extract
- Green tea extract
All of these, and more are in Total Balance…
Is the control of free radicals the answer in avoiding premature aging and degenerative disease?
No, not at all! Free radical control is only one part of it. If you don’t address three other important issues you won’t enjoy the freedom from degenerative disease that we all want.
The other three critical issues that you need to be aware of are:
- Chronic Inflammation
Fortunately the Xtend-Life Total Balance anti aging supplement range addresses ALL these issues, and Kiwi-Klenz (formerly Digesten-K) helps this process to begin by ensuring the nutrients are fully absorbed.
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Glycation is even more dangerous to your health than free radicals! It is important that you understand what it is, how it is caused and how to protect yourself against it.
In order to appreciate the problems associated with glycation there are some basic biological facts that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, the role that proteins play in your body!
Proteins are valuable biological molecules which are found in almost every part of your body and have a variety of functions. They are present inside the cells making the life of the cell possible. Without them you would not survive as these proteins are needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.
Proteins are made up of strings of different amino acids. To function properly they need to be ‘free agents’. In other words they need to remain as singular molecules to move around and perform their tasks.
So far, so good…
However, proteins have ‘enemies’ that they are exposed to every day. These ‘enemies’ are in the form of…glucose molecules, sugars, and similar chemicals known as aldehydes. All these molecules can be referred to loosely as glycating agents.
These ‘enemies’ try to attach themselves to protein molecules. When they do this it is the start of a dangerous situation. Why? Well, when the glycating agent attaches itself to a protein molecule the ‘combined molecule’ is a bit like a particle floating around with a bit of superglue stuck to it.
If that bit of ‘glue’ comes into contact with another protein then that combined molecule may then attach itself to that ‘free agent’ protein in a process referred to as ‘cross linking’.
Cross linking is BAD…with a capital ‘B’
The reason why this cross linking is so bad is because now instead of having two good proteins to help the overall health of your body and prevent premature aging, you now have what is referred to by bio-chemists as a ‘grotesque’ molecule known as an AGE which is short for Advanced Glycation End-products.
These AGEs are real troublemakers! They move around the body binding to cells and causing them to produce a number of poisonous chemicals plus other toxic by-products. AGEs also increase the formation of amyloid beta which is a toxic material found in the brains of older people and abundant in Alzheimers and dementia patients.
As well, AGEs stimulate the production of free radicals which in turn can create more aldehydes which in turn stimulates more glycation…and so, a vicious cycle can continue to accelerate UNLESS you are aware of it and do all that you can to slow down this process which causes aging and degenerative disease!
This process also contributes to heart disease by thickening artery walls. PLUS it will make you look old before your time because the skin proteins and collagen clump together, then collapse…result…wrinkles!
How can you protect yourself against Glycation and the formation of AGEs?
There are three actions that you can take:
- Try to minimize your intake of glycating foods…simple carbohydrates and sugars.
- By inactivating the aldehydes (glue) before they attach themselves to the protein.
- By preventing the protein which has already got ‘glue’ on it from sticking to another protein.
The first action is self explanatory. The next two are fortunately possible thanks to recent scientific discoveries using a dipeptide known as Carnosine.
This is how Carnosine works:
It has two unique abilities.
- One, is that it has an ability to attach to glycating ‘agents’ and neutralize them.
- The other is that it has the ability to put a protective shield around a protein molecule which already has a glycating agent attached to it. By providing that shield it prevents that protein molecule from ‘cross-linking’ with another protein molecule and forming an AGE.
No other natural substance has yet been discovered that can perform this task, other than Carnosine. Vitamins such as C and E although helpful for free radicals do nothing to help prevent glycation! Same applies to other antioxidants.
You may be asking yourself why consumers in general are not being made more aware of glycation? The answer to this is that Carnosine is a very expensive nutrient and as yet still not common in supplements. We have been using it in our anti aging Total Balance product for eight years. In fact, we were one of the first supplement companies in the world to begin using it for this purpose.
How much do you need?
Like so many nutrients there is no real evidence to support the premise ‘more is better’. The generally accepted effective dose rate is 50 – 150mgs per day. We use 100mgs in a daily dose of Total Balance anti aging supplement. As with most nutrients carnosine works better when taken in synergy with a wide range of other nutrients.
Also, for maximum benefits the carnosine should be incorporated in an enteric coated tablet such as Total Balance so it is released in the upper intestine. This is because carnosine is a di-peptide consisting of two amino acids and hydrochloric acid in the stomach splits the structure of the carnosine thus reducing it’s effectiveness.
If you wish to do all you can to protect yourself against glycation and the damage it can cause then you should supplement with Carnosine every day. (In the correct form) Remember that it takes time to build up the protection and to undo damage which has already occurred in your body.
Because it works best in combination with other nutrients it is best not to take Carnosine on its own. Besides, glycation is only one of the components in the four main causes of aging and degenerative disease.
You must also address:
- Free Radicals
- Chronic Inflammation
Fortunately the Xtend-Life range of Total Balance anti aging supplements address all four concerns, and our Kiwi-Klenz (formerly Digesten-K) formula helps the body to properly and fully absorb and assimilate all the nutrients contained in Total Balance to ensure they can get to work in an optimal state!
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"Without methylation you would die in just a few days!"
If your body's methylation is not working at an optimal level it will translate into many different health problems and will accelerate your aging process.
What is methylation?
In simple terms it is a process in which certain chemicals called ‘methyl groups’ are added to various constituents of proteins, DNA and other molecules. These are needed to keep them in good ‘working’ condition.
For example, if the antidepressant, ‘feel-good’ brain chemical serotonin is not methylated it will become inactive which in turns leads to depression! This is just one of the many ‘chemicals’ in the body that need to be methylated and if they are not can lead to serious health consequences.
Probably the most important methylation process is when it is applied to homocysteine! Homocysteine is a by product of an important amino acid methionine and is what remains when methionine is used to methylate your proteins and DNA. Homocysteine needs to be methylated to convert it back to methionine. If this process does not happen your body is in for some serious trauma.
Homocysteine is implicated in:
- Heart disease and stroke by encouraging the clumping together of platelets
Higher levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol from reacting with iron and copper ions to produce free radicals
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Liver Disease
- Aging in general, in that homocysteine is believed to accelerate the destruction of telomeres
But the above is only part of the methylation ‘story’.
Methylation of certain parts of your DNA can switch off unnecessary genes and prevent abnormal DNA division. This means that these abnormalities are not passed on to future generations of cells…a most important component in successful aging.
As we age the methylation processes in our bodies start getting ‘tired’ and become less efficient with a resulting build up of homocysteine, DNA damage and the development of other flow on effects such as depression.
Therefore, if you don’t take steps to ensure balanced methylation then any hope of a long life free of degenerative diseases is only a remote possibility.
As with everything related to successful aging, methylation must be balanced. Too much can be as bad as too little. Fortunately your body will balance your methylation processes providing that you give it the ‘fuel’ to perform the task.
What is the fuel?
There are three groups of compounds that are helpful in methylation with varying levels of efficacy. They are the B Vitamins, B6, B12 and folic acid, Tri-Methyl-Glycine TMG, (also known as Betaine), and SAMe.
The B Vitamins are important but more in the capacity of co-factors rather than being a solution for methylation in their own right. This is because as we get older these vitamins tend to become a bit ‘sluggish’ and as such progressively less effective.
By far the most effective methylating agent is SAMe which stands for S-Adenosyl-Methionine and is a natural chemical found in all living cells. It is formed in the body by combining the amino acid methionine and ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The science confirming the effectiveness of SAMe as the best methylating agent is indisputable.
It can be taken as a supplement but it is not readily available for two reasons. One is that it MUST be taken in enteric coated form because SAMe is particularly susceptible to stomach acids and two that it is very expensive. We use it in our Neuro-Natural anti aging supplements which are enteric coated and we will be incorporating it in our next generation of Total Balance later this year. (Our Total Balance products are all enteric coated as well)
However, all Total Balance anti aging products still have effective methylating agents in the form of:
- B vitamins and folic acid
- Methionine and ATP
- Tri-Methyl-Glycine (TMG/Betaine)
The addition of SAMe in the next generation of Total Balance will just further enhance the existing methylating abilities of the current products.
Do not forget that Methylation is only one important component. There are four key components in protecting DNA and aging successfully, free from degenerative disease.
The others are:
- Free Radicals
- Chronic Inflammation
Total Balance addresses all four issues.
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As well as your body having to deal with free radicals, glycation and methylation it also has to fight against chronic inflammation! This is an ongoing battle which is being waged every second of the day.
As with the other three concerns… (free radicals, glycation and methylation), the cause of inflammation cannot be narrowed down to one thing only. All four issues are interrelated!
If it is not controlled, inflammation will wreak havoc in your body. In fact, some scientists believe that chronic inflammation is the cause of most age related damage. This is because excessive inflammation causes toxic chemicals which eat away body tissues, thus leading to heart disease, dementia, arthritis and diabetes just to mention a few.
For example, let’s take MDA (malondialdehyde). MDA is a dangerous chemical byproduct formed in your body as a result of the action of free radicals on the fatty membranes of your cells. It is a major factor in the production of AGEs from glycation. This same chemical, MDA, is also implicated in inflammation.
This perhaps helps show you how nothing works in isolation!
Cut the supply line!
Using the example of MDA… If you reduce the free radicals in your body through the use of antioxidants then you will reduce the oxidation of your cell membranes which will in turn reduce the formation of MDA which in turn will reduce glycation and thus the formation of AGEs…and this will help reduce inflammation. In other words...cut the supply line.
However, it is not possible to control all the free radicals so no matter how many antioxidants you take MDA is still going to form…and will continue to attempt to produce AGEs which in turn can contribute to inflammation. So, this is why it is so important to take Carnosine in addition to antioxidants in order to minimize the formation of AGEs.
But…not all AGEs can be avoided and by extension not all inflammation can be avoided either, so you have to ensure that you address inflammation in ADDITION to the above mentioned three concerns!
If you don’t, your ‘anti-aging’ or ‘wellness’ program can never be successful.
To demonstrate this further…a component of inflammation is excitotoxicity. If allowed to ‘continue’ the result is the death of brain cells leading to strokes and dementia. Excitotoxicity occurs when brain cells get overexcited due to excess glutamate in the diet. MSG and other flavor enhancers are the culprits here and should be kept to a minimum in your diet.
Fortunately Carnosine can protect against excessive excitotoxicity.
Another seriously dangerous chemical associated with chronic inflammation is tumour necrosis factor (TNF). TNF actively promotes the degeneration of your brain and nerves! It is activated by a combination of free radicals and AGEs.
Some Doctors and marketers on the internet promote Omega 3 fish oil as the answer to inflammation. There is no doubt that the anti-inflammatory component of Omega 3 fish oils are certainly very helpful in reducing the impact of inflammation…but, it is only dealing with one component of the much broader picture of inflammation.
Take TNF as another example. To keep this chemical as low as possible you need to also be taking nutrients that will help such as a calorie restriction mimics. This is another subject on its own but the best known natural calorie restriction mimics is resveratrol.
Key nutrients that can work in synergy with Omega 3 fish oil to reduce inflammation and the damage from it are:
- Alpha lipoic acid
(all of these are present in Total Balance)
One of the biggest challenges we have at Xtend-Life is trying to explain to customers how Total Balance works. Unfortunately most consumers have been ‘educated’ that free radicals alone are the biggest concern in any wellness or anti-aging program. Lately that ‘education’ has been expanded by marketers of fish oils, to include inflammation.
But just addressing free radicals with antioxidants or inflammation with fish oils will NOT achieve what you want. It is only PART of the equation.
It takes more that one nutrient to get a result in just one part of this very complex equation. Each part has to be addressed from multiple angles, and EVERY part of the equation also needs to be dealt with.
There is a reason why we have 75- 85 nutrients in our Total Balance range! Each nutrient is there for a reason and has been carefully integrated. The individual components of each nutrient have also been studied and sometimes the component of that nutrient other than the common active ingredient in it, is what is wanted for a specific function.
Hopefully this series of explanations about free radicals, glycation, methylation and inflammation will help give you a better understanding of what you need to do in order to give your body the best possible protection against degenerative disease and thus enjoy vibrant health as nature intended... but is so hard to achieve in modern times without a helping hand from anti aging products such as Xtend-Life’s Total Balance...
Kiwi-Klenz (formerly Digesten-K) also plays a large part in helping to avoid inflammation in the body. The digestive system is at the centre of all other body processes. If this isn't working effectively, all other body systems and organs may be effected, and many undergo undue pressure and additional stress. This in itself can lead to excess or early aging. It is vital to keep your digestive system in the best state, functioning consistently and calmly. Kiwi-Klenz (formerly Digesten-K) provides prebiotics, phenolic compounds and vital enzymes to allow this to happen and is a vital part of the beginnings of an anti-aging process. You can find out more about this whole process on our Kiwi-Klenz (formerly Digesten-K) product pages.
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Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by injection has been touted as being the proverbial 'fountain of youth'. It is available only by prescription. This injection contains a synthetically produced hormone identical to human growth hormone.
It became popular after a study by Dr Daniel Rudeman, which was published in the New England Journal. This study found that over a short period of time there were improvements in the obvious signs of aging in most of the subjects participating. Some 'experts' suggested it was equivalent to turning back the clock by 20 years.
However, it was a short study and most of the participants ultimately withdrew. Dr Rudeman is long deceased.
Whereas HGH injections have applications in specific cases where the patients' own natural production of HGH is impaired, it is not the 'fountain of youth' originally suggested and indeed has possible dangerous implications for healthy adults.
HGH injections have many potential side effects. Amongst others these include:
- High blood pressure
- Soft tissue swelling
- Thickening of the skin, abnormal hair growth
- Glucose intolerance
- Muscle weakness
- Breathing problems
- Skin problems, rash or itchy or swollen skin.
- Premature aging and death!
The use of HGH injections also has the potential to shut down your own natural production of HGH. Should this happen, once your injections are discontinued, you are left with no natural HGH production resulting in a rapid deterioration of all your organs along with accelerated aging.
"The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has warned that the clinical use of growth hormone as an anti aging treatment or for patients with ordinary obesity is not recommended.”
HGH Human Growth Hormone... 'natural' hype
Over recent years a Homeopathic form of HGH has been marketed extensively. These Homeopathic supplements contain synthesized HGH in minute quantities (around 1/200,000th of the dose used in the original studies by Danial Rudeman who was actually using injectable HGH in his study).
Most scientists believe that these products cannot possibly work because, if taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue), the HGH molecule is simply too large to get through the membranes of your mouth and, if taken orally, the molecule would not survive the passage to the stomach.
Many unscrupulous companies market HGH in this form, misleading customers with unrelated studies believing this to be enough to persuade them that a homeopathic 'spray' version is the solution. However, again scientists warn that this will be ineffective because the molecule is so sensitive it could not survive in such a form.
There are NO studies supporting the efficacy of these prepartions.
The marketers of the homeopathic HGH products are not the only ones to mislead the consumer about the 'benefits' of their products. There is another group that use the results of Dr Rudeman's short study and relate it to a totally different product. These products are known as...
HGH precursors, which are a cocktail of amino acids and are sold globally as supplemental products.
High doses of these amino acids can and do raise your levels of HGH temporarily which is measured by Insulin Growth Factor - 1 (IGF-1)…IF you are still young. But they become less effective as you reach the age of 40 and most people over 50 get limited if any benefit.
Some promoters of these products show convincing graphs of increases in IGF-1 levels. However, what is withheld is the information that these levels can and do fall back to original levels after a few months... and often end up lower than what they were before starting the program.
This potentially has serious long-term negative effects.
HGH Bottom line...
HGH is NOT a 'fountain of youth' and as indicated above could actually be detrimental to your health.
You can maintain high natural levels of HGH without taking either HGH in injectable form or as high dose amino acid precursors…and it can be done naturally whilst enhancing your overall health.
As proof of this have a look at the HGH levels of Warren Matthews, the Chairman of Xtend-Life, who does not take any hormones of any sort but instead follows the protocol recommended by Xtend-Life and yet when is was 54 he still had HGH levels of an average healthy 25 year old (readings were taken at the end of the 2002, after two years on Xtend-Life Total Balance Mens Plus).
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