It’s New Year’s Eve. Most people are still focused on tonight’s party. But come tomorrow, thoughts will quickly move into New Year’s resolutions. Of course, losing all those holiday pounds is at the top of the list.
If that’s your New Year’s resolution, how would you like to drop a few pounds, keep it off, and practically stop the aging process? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. And a group of researchers from the highly respected Mayo Clinic found the way to do it.
This new study started by showing yet another reason to permanently shed excess body fat — it causes accelerated aging. Now this is interesting enough in itself, but the story behind how fat causes us to age more rapidly is even more interesting. In many ways, this finding was completely unexpected. It has to do with “senescent cells.”
Everyone knows that cells divide continuously in order to keep body tissues and organs functioning properly as we get older. But did you know that many of our cells, particularly fat cells, often completely stop dividing? When cells are in this non-divisional state, we call them senescent cells. They are essentially non-functioning cells that refuse to die.
Sounds Harmless Enough Doesn’t It?
But it’s not!
When cells become senescent, they produce harmful compounds called inflammatory cytokines. Many scientists believe these compounds are responsible for the chronic tissue inflammation associated with aging. This is the same tissue inflammation that leads to dementia, cataracts, muscle wasting, organ breakdown, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and a host of other age-related disorders. And here’s the reason this is a particular problem for the over-60 crowd.
The occurrence of senescent cells is normal. It happens throughout life, even when we are young. However, the strong and highly active immune systems of young people can clear these cells out as fast as they occur.
Their immune system is able to seek out and destroy senescent cells. Unfortunately, probably as a result of declining immune system activity, the older you are, the less able your body is to get rid of your senescent cells. This leads to a buildup of senescent cells in our later years. And although senescent cells make up only a small portion of the total cells in older people, something like 5% or less, their effects can be widespread.
But what would happen if it were possible to increase an older person’s ability to remove their senescent cells? Would they live longer?
Would they be less likely to develop disease and deterioration? These are the questions that the group of scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minneapolis decided to answer. And the results of the study they just published in the journal Nature are very encouraging.
How to Freeze the Aging Process
These researchers found that by using a drug to target and kill senescent cells, they could essentially freeze some aspects of the aging process. And how they did it sounds like something right out of a science-fiction novel.
First of all, before they could kill the senescent cells, they had to find a way to identify them. To this end, they discovered that senescent cells have a consistent biomarker by the exciting name of p16(Ink4a). Then they designed a drug, appropriately named INK-ATTAC, which is able to attack and kill any cells that have this biomarker. Since senescent cells are the only cells with this biomarker, the drug kills these cells — and only these cells. Finally, they used the drug on a special strain of mice they had genetically altered to age faster than usual. Here’s what they found.
In one group of mice, they administered the drug over the course of their entire lifetime. In this group, the researchers found a “dramatic delay” in the development of cataracts and age-related changes to muscle and fat.
In another group of mice, they administered the compound after the mice had already entered into old age. Removing the senescent cells in those mice did not reverse the decline that had already occurred, but it did significantly prevent further deterioration.
The researchers also verified that as they designed it to do, the drug appeared to clear out only senescent cells, not normal ones. Additionally, the animals did not suffer any side effects.
Excess Body Fat Ages Us Faster
Now at the beginning of this article, I told you that it was going to be a story about how excess body fat can cause us to age more rapidly. The connection is twofold.
First, fat tissue has an abundance of senescent cells — much more than other tissues. Secondly, body fat composes a very significant portion of the body’s total cells. In lean men, fat composes only about 16% of body weight. But many overweight men have two to three times this amount of fat. The more fat you have, the more senescent cells you will have. The result is that your body will age faster.
We already know that, statistically, being overweight decreases longevity. And now thanks to this latest research, we have a better insight into why. So for all of my readers out there who need to get their body fat under better control, let me encourage you to do four things.
First, get your body fat measured. Many doctors and gyms will be able to do this for you. Men should have a body fat in the order of 16-18%. Women should have a little more (18-22%).
Second, read my book, The Type-2 Diabetes Breakthrough. Whether you have diabetes or not, this is a great book to study if you have a problem maintaining a healthy weight.
Many of the tips I write about for preventing and treating diabetes are also excellent for weight problems.
Third, find the closest doctor to you who offers Bio-Energy Testing. This is the form of metabolic testing that provides the key for permanent weight control by optimizing metabolism. The doctors who offer this technology are listed at www.bioenergytesting.com.
And lastly, if you have over 20-30 pounds to lose, consider consulting a doctor who offers the Simeon hCG weight-loss program. This program will not only help you to lose weight rapidly, but also works to reset your brain’s set point, so that you don’t regain the weight. In regard to this program, there is no reliable information to suggest that homeopathic hCG is safe. So I recommend that you stick to pharmaceutical grade hCG. The hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is a pituitary hormone that stimulates fat metabolism.
Baker, D.J., T. Wijshake, T. Tchkonia, et al. “Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive senescent cells delays ageing-associated disorders.” Nature, 2011 November 2;479(7372):232-6.
Wang, Shirley S. “Cell Study Finds a Way to Slow Ravages of Age,” The Wall Street Journal November 3, 2011.