The mitochondrion is a cellular organelle that provides the cell with the energy needed to sustain life. It has it’s own genetic material that produces, in part with the nucleus, an oxidative-phosphorylation complex in the cell that produces all our energy. Basically, the mitochondria is a piece of machinery that acts like a battery for the cell.
As we age, it has been found that the genes in the mitochondrion mutate and function poorly. This may be the root cause of aging. NAD+ is a molecule used as an energy carrier that regulates the mitochondria, as it decreases in low oxygen states and results in a disruption of the oxidative phosphorylation complex. Increasing the NAD+ levels reverses this rocess.
In a functioning normal cell, the nucleus and the mitochondiron communicate with each other and manufacture, using their genes, the oxidative phosphorylation complex, which is the producer of the energy inside the mitochondria. It is the failure of the genes inside the mitochondria that result in the aging process.
A gene, called sirtuin 1 is involved in maintaining a clear line of communication between the nucleus and the mitochondrion. HIF-1 is a protein that the cell produces in cancer states and low oxygen states that interferes with this communication process, causing cell aging and death.
Aging muscles have been found to have decreased levels of mitochondrial genes.
Nuclear levels of NAD+ maintain the mitochondiral homeostasis, with decreased levels disrupting the oxidative-phosphorylation machinery in the cell and thus result in cell aging and death. Raising this NAD+ nuclear level in mice reverses this aging process. Molecules have been developed that can do this.
There is a separate system, the PGC-1α/β system, that also regulates energy metabolism in cells and acts as a transcriptional coactivator to regulate gene activity and function. It works separately from the above. PGC-1α regulates mitochondrial biogenesis and interaxcts with nuclear PPAR-gamma, which results in the interaction of numerous transcription proteins that affect cell function. This directly links the external stimuli of the world to the internal cell functioning of mitochondria. For example, PGC-1α may be involved in cholesterol regulation, obesity, and blood pressure. PGC-1α may integrate a number of internal cell signals with external signals. For example, endurance exercise increases PGC-1α levels and allows for lactate to be used more efficiently. SIRT-1 may bind and activate PGC-1α.. PGC-1α activates Akt levels in muscle, which is pro-survival in function. Massage therapy can increase PGC-1α, allowing formation of new mitochondria.
Possible interventions for the process of aging? Nothing is yet on the market, but some agents may have helpful anti-aging effects: trans-resveratrol is one option. Red wine, mulberries, grapes, and peanuts have resveratrol. A glass of wine has a milligram of the substance. A higher amount is needed to be effective. About 360 mg may be needed to have an anti-aging effect. It has been noted that in countries where red wine is imbibed, people are thinner and live longer. An option for resveratrol in needed doses can be obtained here:
Calorie restriction has been a way to extend lifespan in animals such as rats. The process of calorie restriction causes the aging machinery to slow down. Trans-resveratrol simulates calorie restriction without actually eating less. This may be a way to trick the body into a “fasting, yet anti-aging” state.
Calcium and iron build up in the body may play a role in aging process. As we age, we accumulate more iron, so iron supplements may be unhelpful in some people. Women, however, don’t accumulate as much calcium and iron until after menopause, when the accumulation throughout the body starts to progress more rapidly. As far as calcium accumulation, we refer to the deposits of calcium in the arteries. Removing iron and excess calcium from the body may be an approach to aging. How do you know if there is too much iron or calcium in the body? Elevated ferritin levels can indicate iron overload or inflammatory states. Also a CT scan of the coronary arteries that show an elevated calcium score to suggest calcium excess. As an adult, intake of red meat and dairy products can cause iron and calcium overload.These substances are overly aborbed if you eat acidic foods, such as tomatoes, vinegar, and fruit juices. The acidity increases iron absorption. High fructose intake and non-wine alcohol increases iron absorption as well. Bran from whole wheat decreases iron absorption as does tea. Thus they may exert an anti-aging effect.
Trans-resveratrol may activate the sirtuin-1 gene – which helps maintain cellular functioning and prevent aging. Calorie restriction to 50% of normal may prevent the breakdown of products of sirtuin gene from occurring. Intake of resveratrol is a chemical mimic of such caloric restriction. About 180 mg a day simulates a 35% fat intake diet typical of humans and would be effective potentially. Red wine has many polyphenols that may decrease your aging: ferulic acid, gallic acid, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol. However, you would need several glasses a day to get the amount of resveratrol needed to be effective.
Studies in humans show that when started at middle age, resveratrol slowed age-related deterioration and functional decline of mice on a standard diet.
Rapamycin has been found to extend median and maximum lifespan of mice, even when fed to the animals beginning at early-old age. Rapamycin is a medication used to suppress the immune system in transplant patients. However, rapamycin has many toxic side -effects, so it is unlikely to be used in humans for age-related treatment.
Chronic pain affects both cognitive and emotional circuits in the brain as both mood and cognition are affected. Basically, an injury causes changes in the body’s chemistry and function which results in a change in the brain’s circuitry on how we perceive pain. Normal emotional processing is damaged.
Initially, acute pain is perceived in brain regions involved with pain reception, but as it transitions to chronic pain, it is perceived in centers of the brain that are involved with the mediation of emotions. Chronic pain involves abnormal stress responses, in which patients with chronic pain have higher cortisol stress hormone released to a painful stimulus. They also have smaller hippocampus areas of the brain that are involved in memory, learning, and emotions, This area of the brain begins to process pain signals poorly while areas of the brain that are involved in anticipatory anxiety and associative learning have over activity. There appears to be connectivity problems between brain areas involved in mood and cognitive function. This results not on ly in the sensation of pain, but also mood disorders such as anxiety and problems with decision-making.
Significant factors leading to chronic pain include non-restorative sleep, anxiety, memory impairment, and poor quality of life.
Things that help: Get regular exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Ensure healthful sleep with good sleep hygiene. Be certain to sleep in a quiet, comfortable environment and avoid caffeine and strenuous activities before bedtime. Become more active in Life – socialize more and get involved with hobby or helping others.
Other options for treatment include vagal-nerve stimulation to interfere with pain perception and transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a magnet is used to alter nerve circuits in the brain that are involved with pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and meditation are also means of combating chronic pain.
A study in the American Journal of Medicine (June 2014) showed that people over the age of 55 who had the highest muscle mass lived longer than those with the least amount of muscle mass. BMI (Body mass index) is not correlated as well with mortality since a person with a high BMI can have a lot of fat OR muscle or both.
You can expand your mind in a healthy way through exercise. Stair climbing, swimming, jogging, dancing, yoga, and weight-lifting can increase your mental powers by providing increased blood flow to the brain and thereby nutrients. This helps neurons grow and repair themselves in aging minds.
Exercise-related infusions of oxygen-rich blood helps the brain operate. As it consumes a quarter of the oxygen taken in by the body, any increased flow is helpful in brain functioning.
The increased flow of blood to the brain increases glucose flow as well and also increases growth factors such as nerve growth factor and insulin-like growth factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor to increase. These allow the brain to increase it’s internal connectivity and plasticity – important for memory formation and retention.
Exercise increases new brain cell formation in the hippocampus, a site involved in memory formation. Lack of activity causes the brain to decline in many components, showing up as decreased density in gray matter (involved in memory) and white matter (involved in connections in the brain). Over time, with inactivity, one loses cognitive performance.
The more you exercise, the stronger and more dense the connections are within the brain. Also, there is increased immune function in the brain. The active body allows an active mind to regenerate axons when damaged, maintaining a person’s cognition. thereby preserving memory. Also, physical activity elevates one’s mood.
Side effects of exercise: blood pressure control, loss of weight, and decreased cardiovascular disease.
Coconut oil is obtained from the white meaty interior of the coconut (Cocos nucifera). It is solid at room temperature and has a long shelf life.
Coconut oils is high in saturated fat, even more than butter has in it.
The fat in coconuts has been found to not be as harmful as once believed. Now it is replacing other oils in baking and frying, to which it supplies a nutty, sweet flavor.
The saturated fats in coconuts are neutral in their effect on blood cholesterol. The main fatty acid is Lauric acid which raises HDL levels and LDL, but less so. Populatioins that consume a lot of coconut and coconut oil have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and tend to be healthy (Polynesia, for example)
Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) in it, whereas most dietary fat consumed is longer-chained. This type of fat has a different metabolism that burns more calories in it’s consumption. Each tablespoon has 120 calories in it.
People have recommended coconut oil as a weight reducing agent. There is not enough evidence for this.
Coconut oil has been recommended for Alzheimer’s disease treatment. It is thought the MCT in the oil causes the liver to produce ketones that the brain can then use in place of glucose. There is no evidence that this works.
Coconut water: is a thin liquid inside green coconuts taht is fat-free and low in calories. It does not have all the electrolytes you need in it for fluid replacement however.
Coconut milk: is made from the coconut meat and has high calorie content (445 calories a cup). It has 48 grams of fat per cup. It does not seem to adversely affect one’s cholesterol however.
Coconut sugar: Made from the nectar of the flowering buds of a coconut tree and has no health benefits. Taste: caramel flavor.
Coconut flour: Made from the meat of the coconut, adds a coconut flavor to baked goods. It has high fiber in it (10 gm per oz) and a fat content of 4 gm per ounce.
Coconut meat: is from the inside lining of the coconut, having 100 calories in an ounce with 9 gm of fat and 2.5 gm of fiber.
Overall, there in no proven health benefits to using coconut oil and coconut products.
A diet high in uridine monophosphate (UMP), choline, and docosahexanoic acid (DHA – an omega-3 fatty acid) helps increase the brain’s ability to process information. These substances help the brain form more synapses, which are important in creating memories. These substances affect the transmission of messages in the brain which thereby improves cognition.
Choline is synthesized in the body and is found in nuts, meats, and eggs. DHA is found in flaxseed, eggs, and meat from grass-fed animals. Also trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines are high in DHA. UMP is created in your body but is also present in high amounts in beets.
Eating correctly affects your mood as well. For example, when you eat a heavy lunch, you tend to bee more relaxed and sleep. People who are hungry tend to move less and be more irritable, They will generally make poorer decisions as well. If you are moody, maybe you are eating incorrectly!
There is a link between magnesium intake and depression. The less magnesium in your diet, the greater the risk of depression. Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Low intake of B12 and folate is also associated with depression. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals. B12 is found in meat.
Nutrients affect how neurotransmitters are made in the brain, and the composition of the meal affects which neurotransmitters are made and thus how you feel after eating.
Protein-rich meals have amino acids, including tyrosine, which is used to make dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters give you more alertness, energy, and focusing-ability. Carbohydrate-laden meals supply glucose (as in processed food, white breads) and trigger rapid insulin release in the body which causes tryptophan to be converted to serotonin in the brain. This results in calm feelings, relaxation , and pain relief. It has been shown that babies given sucrose pacifiers during medical procedures have much less pain, for example.
The problem with foods that have high amounts of simple carbohydrates is that you get spikes and drops in your blood sugar. This can make you moody and shaky. Replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Vitamin C (citrus fruits and dark vegetables) and the B vitamins are helpful in mood control. Monounsaturated fats (nuts, olive oil, canola oil), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), selenium (cereal grains and meat), and zinc (fish, soybeans, liver, spinach, and egg yolk) all have positive affects on mood states.
Alcohol and caffeine also have the ability to moderate mood. Caffeine causes increased alertness and energy, but it can cause jitteriness and anxiety in some. Moderate alcohol intake (one to two drinks a day) promotes relaxation, but in excess, can produce depression. Chocolate has a substance called phenylethylamine that elevates mood.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that may benefit the brain as a neuroprotecting agent. It neutralizes the effects of cell-damaging free radicals caused by pollution, stress, metabolism, aging, and other sources.
Resveratrol may protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. It alters inflammation by affecting a class of enzymes called sirtuins that play a role in the aging process.
Resveratrol helps eliminate cell-damaging free radicals and enhances the survival mechanisms of cells. It may have anti-cancer properties as well.
Women should consume one 4 oz glass of wine per day at most and men can consume up to two 4 oz glasses of wine. Resveratrol is absorbed best by sipping the wine, as it’s absorption is enhanced by contacting the mucus membranes of the mouth.
Resveratrol may reduce beta-amyloids in the brain, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps modulate cell communication in the brain as well, which is important for memory. Resveratrol may also protect against oxidative stress and damage from diabetes.
The brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which is composed of densely packed cells in the blood vessels that prevent entry of most substances into the brain. It does allow oxygen and nutrients, along with hormones to enter from the blood supply, but it blocks most other agents and bacteria. The BBB also removes brain waste matter such as beta-amyloid proteins that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Breakdown of the BBB can result in catastrophic brain injury or death. It has been found that a number of factors can increase such a failure of the BBB. The first is sleep deprivation. In such cases, the BBB is weakened,allowing passage of drugs and chemicals that generally cannot enter the brain and results in brain damage.
High blood pressure, traumatic brain injury, obesity, viral infections, and inflammation also weaken the BBB. Again, a failed BBB results in brain damage slowly over time, especially by the accumulation of beta- amyloid, which leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Preventing BBB failure:
Eat a diet high in Thiamine (Vitamin B-1) : pork, whole grains, sunflower seeds, kale, beans, and peas have a lot of Vitamin B-1.
Prevent brain injury: wear a helmet
Reduce cholesterol levels. High levels disrupt the BBB.
Consume caffeinated drinks, which block disruptions in the BBB.
Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep.
Lose weight, avoid obesity.
Avoid chemicals – some of which are toxic, such as polychlorinated biphenyls and the drug ecstasy, all of which disrupt the BBB.
Orlistat – inhibits pancreatic and gastric lipase, an enzyme involved in fat absorption, and when taken three times daily, results in 2.5-3.2 kg weight loss in a year. It is associated with increased flatulence and fecal urgency.
Bupropion ( Wellbutrin SR) is used for tobacco addiction (Zyban) but can cause people to lose weight by as much as 10% using a 400 mg a day dosing. Mixing Buproprion SR with naltrexone (an opioid receptor antagonist) works even better. Its side effects include headaches and nausea.
Topramate (Topamax) at doses up to 256 mg a day results in ~9.7% weight loss, but for some, the drug causes tingling, sleepiness, and decreased concentration ability.
Metformin, a drug for diabetes and impaired glucose metabolism also results in modest weight loss.
Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is sold on the internet for oral consumption. It is not absorbed by the gut.
Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Paxil, zoloft, and prozac) also are partially effective initially in suppressing appetite and causing weight loss.
Sympathetic amines – Diethylpropion (Tenuate), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), Phendimetrazine (Bontril) are in the same class as phentermine (Adipex-P) and are FDA approved for short-term use for weight loss. The amount one loses is approximately 3 kg. They can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Other medications associated with weight loss include Liraglutide (Victoza), Pramlintide (Symlin), and Byetta (Exenatide), which are all used in diabetes and result in some degree of weight loss. The antiepileptic zonisamide can result in a 6 kg weight loss as well over a 4 month period.
Belviq (Lorcaserin) is a serotonin 2C receptor activator that suppresses appetite.
It does not cause cardiac valve problems, pulmonary hypertension, or hallucinations that can occur with serotonin receptor activation.
The goal is greater than 5% body weight loss in the year.
This treatment resulted in improvement of diabetes, with the Hemoglobin A1c ( a measure of glucose control) dropping by up to 1 %.
Side effects are headache, nausea, and dizziness. The dosing is 10mg twice a day, with doses over 40 mg causing euphoria, hence the drug is a controlled drug!
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