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How the world got lost on
the road to an anti-aging pill
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December 18, 2010: by Bill Sardi
We no longer live in an age of genetic doom — that the sequence of nucleotides on the DNA ladder that we inherited from our forefathers dictates our biological future. Rather we live in an age of epigenetic enlightenment. Our genes can be switched on and off, that is, their ability to produce proteins (called gene expression) can be influenced by diet, temperature, radiation exposure, etc. This is called epigenetics.
In this regard, biologists know that small molecules can enter cellular machinery and alter gene expression and thus produce a pattern of gene activity that produces healthy longevity.
To the surprise of geneticists, there are only 25,000 human genes, with half of these being redundant or inactive genes, which suggests the genome (library of genes) is manipulatable.
An epigenetic map of health, rather than an epigenetic map of disease, has already been archived. Life-long adherence to a limited-calorie diet doubles life expectancy of all living organisms and involves the expression of just 831 genes in rodents, who have about the same number of genes as humans.
Most alterations of the genetic activity responsible for aging can be completely or partially prevented by caloric restriction. The challenge now is to find small molecules that can favorably influence human genes, mimicking calorie restriction and switching genes to a more youthful pattern again, without having to deprive oneself of food.
An experiment was published in 2008 which showed a cocktail of small molecules (Longevinex®) switches 677 of 832 aging genes in the same direction as a calorie-restricted diet. So the prospect of averting or delaying age-related disease and dramatically prolonging the human life span may be near. Resveratrol, widely heralded as an anti-aging pill, activated just 198 genes, whereas the resveratrol-based cocktail activated 1711 genes.
In the opposite direction, a striking study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, demonstrates how chemicals in the form of modern drugs unfavorably alter the human epigenome. A group of geneticists now propose that “epigenetic side-effects of pharmaceuticals may be involved in the etiology of heart disease, cancer, neurological and cognitive disorders, obesity, diabetes, infertility, and sexual dysfunction.” Given that 82% of Americans over age 65 take prescription drugs, this revelation has unthinkable consequences.
It is becoming clearer that modern medicine is not only hiding its toxins, but it is also throwing cures under the rug. The above mentioned nutriceutical cocktail, which exerted 9-fold greater genomic influence than a limited-calorie diet, has largely been ignored by biologists.
With recent and dated revelations that low cholesterol increases mortality, it appears western medicine has been involved in a gigantic misdirection as well.
A scourge of aging is cancer. Regardless of the many valid claims that environmental toxins cause cancer (another example of epigenetics), it is advancing age that is the governing factor in most cancers. A study of the incidence of cancer in Connecticut conducted over 4 decades ago revealed the following:
|Cancer Incidence Rate By Age, Connecticut
Source: Proceedings National Academy Science 52: 865-69, 1964
|Age group||Cancer incidence rate per 100,000|
Just how does modern medicine intend to cure cancer utilizing the knowledge of epigenetics? A recent report suggests natural small molecules predominate over pharmaceutically-designed molecules. (1) Small molecules found in grapes, tomatoes, tea leaves and spices exert strong influence over epigenetic patterns involved in cancer.
The question is, will the patentable drug-oriented culture in modern medicine ever fully recognize and prescribe these natural molecules over man-made ones? – © 2010 Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com Not for posting on other websites.