At what moment as we age, do we begin to think about going backwards? I know I have already started reversing by birthdays and told my kids that once I get younger in by reverse birthdays, they will begin to pay my way. Let’s see, I was 48 last year so this birthday I will be 47… I like the sound of that. Actually as much as it is fun, reversing your birthdays does nothing for us other than the mild laugh we get when we see our kid’s face when we ask for our allowance for the week.
Over the last few years, I have begun to think about aging and the effects by lifestyle maybe having on my life. Thinning and graying hair, wrinkles, arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and maybe dementia. The list of age-related maladies is both familiar and intimidating. I remember when I thought 35 was old.
On the microscopic level, our cells also show characteristic signs of aging. They become loaded with debris. The neatly packaged bundles of DNA lose organization. Telomeres, the protective caps of chromosomes that guard DNA, wear down. Stem cells, which replace destroyed cells throughout the body, lose their regenerative capacity. These changes are linked, so anything that affects cellular deterioration shows up in the whole body. And for millennia, these changes were considered irreversible and inevitable, ending in death.
While eternal youth remains firmly in the realm of science fiction, there’s now solid scientific evidence that the inevitable aging process is not so inevitable after all. Methods of slowing down aging are available right now.
Moreover, some of these anti-aging methods are free and can be applied by anyone. They can be as simple as changing the way you think about the problems and opportunities of life. Some of the classic health advice, such as exercise and refraining from smoking, also plays a role. And in the more distant future, scientists envision developing therapies to reverse the cellular marks of wear and tear, restore telomeres, remove damaged cells and replace them with healthier cells. I think I might be getting a head of myself, before we get more into this anti-aging thing, I think it is best to understand the history and what got us to where we are in anti-aging science and the cutting edge technology that is out there for us now.
Eighty years ago, an important scientist reported the findings of an experiment that would forever change our understanding of aging. Published in the Journal of Nutrition in 1935, Dr. Clive McCay showed that when rats were fed a calorie restricted (CR) diet, their average lifespan was almost 70% longer than rats that were given free access to food. In hindsight, the potential impact of this relatively simple study on human health is obvious—the aging process could possibly be affected through a simple nutritional intervention. Yet it took decades before scientists and the public began to appreciate the significance of Dr. McCay’s studies and their possible relationship to human health. Collaboration between two keen scientists with different backgrounds was instrumental in building upon these early studies to advance our understanding of the field of aging.
PIONEERING GENE EXPRESSION RESEARCH
In the 1980s, Dr. Richard Weindruch, one of the leading scientists in the fields of aging and nutrition, rejuvenated the study of CR and the aging process. Dr. Weindruch published dozens of studies showing the impact of CR including its positive effects on diverse aspects of aging. Yet it is still unknown precisely how CR worked. Our genes carry a set of instructions for performing the functions of every cell in the body, so scientists suspected that the activity of certain genes could impact the anti-aging effect of CR. At the time, however, measuring the “expression” of genes within the body was a slow and complicated process—it could take a week to collect data on the activity of just one gene. Studying aging is by definition not a short‑term affair, and with more than 20,000 genes in the body, it would have taken centuries to understand how our genes influence aging!
TAKING GENE EXPRESSION AND ANTI-AGING TECHNOLOGY TO THE NEXT LEVEL
In the 1990s, Dr. Tomas Prolla, a molecular geneticist, was following the development of a technology that would allow measurement of the activity of every known gene in a single experiment. Drs. Weindruch and Prolla knew that this technology, “gene expression profiling,” would revolutionize the fields of genetics and aging. As a result, the team embarked on the first studies describing how gene expression changes with both age and CR in mammals. Their studies were published in some of the most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature and Science. This work also resulted in several patents being issued to Drs. Weindruch and Prolla., and in 2000 they founded LifeGen Technologies. The goal of this biotechnology company was to apply gene expression profiling to measure aging at the molecular level and develop interventions that slow the effects of aging.
CREATING AN ANTI-AGING POWERHOUSE, BRINGING NU SKIN AND LIFEGEN TOGETHER
Now I am not a purest for MLM, Sale Marketing or any other way of selling to the masses, this mixture of words sole purpose is to bring anti-aging technology, the science behind it and the companies that are leading the charge to the forefront. The marriage of Life Gen Technologies with a leader in internal and external nutraceuticals science, such a Nuskin’s Pharmanex is like a match made in Anti-aging heaven.
Nu Skin has consistently strived to recognize opportunities to create a comprehensive approach to anti-aging. In 1998 Nu Skin acquired Pharmanex, and in the process added many innovative nutritional supplements to its product portfolio. In 2011 Nu Skin acquired LifeGen,, confident that the acquisition would significantly enhance its position as a leader in the anti-aging industry. Today LifeGen’s research lab located in Madison, Wisconsin is an exclusive partner with Nu Skin for product development. Together the team leverages the ingredient expertise of Pharmanex scientists along with LifeGen’s anti-aging database to better understand changes in gene activity with aging. With innovative technology and a team of dedicated scientists, the duo believes they will be successful in developing high quality anti-aging products for years to come. ■