To review, By Controlling Insulin, You May Be Controlling Aging
When we eat, our bodies release insulin into our blood stream so that we can process glucose (sugars) from our foods to make energy, especially in our muscles.
Glucose belongs in our cells and not in our blood. When it remains in our blood we produce more insulin. Increased insulin, according to many researchers, is the number one factor for accelerated aging.
Our cells need glucose for many things including energy, metabolism, and for mood and cognitive function. The short term benefit of eating a candy bar, besides its good taste, has long been know by athletes and students, sugar gives you energy and makes you think straight, that is, in the short-term.
The reason we cannot eat glucose all the time is obvious. It is not good for us, we would get fat, develop insulin resistance, and then diabetes.
When we eat too much glucose, as sugar or in the form of carbohydrates, the more insulin will be needed to be released to usher the glucose into the cells. If we are not “burning it off,” the glucose is stored for later use.
When we have too much glucose in our cells, our bodies try to stop insulin from stuffing more in there. Suddenly we are programmed to ignore insulin’s attempts to process glucose. The pancreas, from where insulin is made, still senses high levels of glucose in the blood, it thinks it is not sending our enough insulin, therefore it sends out more. Unfortunately the more it sends, the more gets ignored. We are now resisting insulin’s attempts at glucose regulation, we have become “Insulin Resistant.” This cycle continues until the pancreas becomes exhausted and no longer produces insulin, this is Type-Two Diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
Researchers writing in the medical journal Immunity and Ageing say that long-term endurance training has the potential to decelerate the age-related decline in immune function but not the deterioration in endocrine function.
Arai MH, Duarte AJ, Natale VM. The effects of long-term endurance training on the immune and endocrine systems of elderly men: the role of cytokines and anabolic hormones. Immun Ageing. 2006 Aug 25;3:9
From the article abstract:”highly conditioned elderly men seem to have relatively better preserved immune system than the sedentary elderly men. Long-term endurance training has the potential to decelerate the age-related decline in immune function but not the deterioration in endocrine function.”
Researchers publishing in the journal Clinical Nutrition say: “Cross-sectional data have shown that sarcopenia (age associated muscle loss) and fat accumulation are associated with aging and can be limited by structured physical training. However, it is often difficult to maintain a long-term compliance to training programs. It is not clear whether leisure-time physical activity is effective in preventing sarcopenia and fat accumulation.
CONCLUSIONS: Mild but significant decline in muscle mass and its TBK (Total Body Potassium) content, and body fat accumulation were observed over a 3-year period in healthy elderly subject: leisure-time physical activity does not seem to prevent them. However, a higher level of physical activity is associated with higher muscle mass and TBK content, and less total and truncal fat.” Read the abstract
Raguso CA, Kyle U, Kossovsky MP, Roynette C, Paoloni-Giacobino A, Hans D, Genton L, Pichard C. A 3-year longitudinal study on body composition changes in the elderly: Role of physical exercise. Clin Nutr. 2005 Dec 2
Depression, anxiety and quality of life scores in seniors after an endurance exercise program.
Antunes HK, Stella SG, Santos RF, Bueno OF, Mello MT.Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2005 Dec;27(4):266-271.
Writing in the medical journal Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, researchers sought to examine 46 sedentary seniors aged 60-75. The seniors were divided into two groups. One group began an aerobic exercise regiment, the other group (the control group) did not.
The researchers stated from the study abstract: “Mood disorders are a frequent problem in old age, and their symptoms constitute an important public health issue. These alterations affect the quality of life mainly by restricting social life. The participation in a regular exercise program is an effective way of reducing or preventing the functional decline associated with aging.”
“Comparing the groups after the study period, we found a significant decrease in depressive and anxiety scores and an improvement in the quality of life in the experimental group, but no significant changes in the control group.”
Wang L, Larson EB, MD, Bowen JD, van Belle G Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1115-1120
From the abstract:
Background: The association of physical function with progression to dementia has not been well investigated. We aimed to determine whether physical function is associated with incident dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD).
Methods We performed a prospective cohort study of 2288 persons 65 years and older without dementia. Patients were enrolled from 1994 to 1996 and followed up through October 2003. Main outcome measures included incident dementia and AD.
Conclusions: Lower levels of physical performance were associated with an increased risk of dementia and AD. The study suggests that poor physical function may precede the onset of dementia and AD and higher levels of physical function may be associated with a delayed onset.
Study Published in the October 10, 2005 issue of the Archives of Neurology.
You can read the entire article here
In brief, researchers looked at people 65 years of age and over to see if intakes of fish and omega-3 fatty acids protected against “age-related cognitive decline.”
What did they find? Quoted from the article in the Archives of Neurology:
“Dietary intake of fish was inversely associated with cognitive decline over 6 years in this older, biracial community study.
The rate of decline was reduced by 10% to 13% per year among persons who consumed 1 or more fish meals per week compared with those with less than weekly consumption.
The rate reduction is the equivalent of being 3 to 4 years younger in age.
There were no consistent associations with the omega-3 fatty acids, although the effect estimates were in the direction of slower decline.”
Researchers writing in the medical journal Bone, evaluated the association between lifelong lifestyle factors and bone density, falls and postmenopausal fractures in elderly women with low body mass index.
Korpelainen R, Korpelainen J, Heikkinen J, Vaananen K, Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi S. Lifelong risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures in elderly women with low body mass index-A population-based study. Bone. 2006 Aug;39(2):385-91.
From the abstract:
Low body weight is associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures, but the contribution of other lifestyle related factors have not been previously studied within lean elderly women. The present study evaluated the association between lifelong lifestyle factors and bone density, falls and postmenopausal fractures in elderly women with low body mass index (BMI).
Poor functional ability and symptoms of depression were associated with recent falling. In elderly women with low BMI, lifelong physical activity may protect from fractures, while low calcaneum bone mass and living unpartnered appear to be associated with an increased risk for fractures.
Poor functional ability and presence of depression may be associated with risk of falling. Type 2 diabetes may modify the risk of low bone mass and low-trauma postmenopausal fractures. Albeit that the results of this study need to be confirmed in prospective follow-up studies, multifactorial program with the emphasis on physical and social activation in the primary care setting for preventing falls and fractures in lean elderly women is recommended.
Researchers writing in the medical journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research say that “although aerobic exercise is important in maintaining overall health, the resistance type of muscle training may be more applicable to the basic rules of bone adaptation and site-specific effects of exercise, have more favorable effects in maintaining or improving bone mass and architecture, and be safe and feasible for older people.”
Suominen H. Muscle training for bone strength. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2006 Apr;18(2):85-93.
From the abstract:
“The main function of bone is to provide the mechanical integrity for locomotion and protection; accordingly, bone mass and architecture are adjusted to control the strains produced by mechanical load and muscular activity.
Age-related patterns involve peak bone mass during growth, a plateau in adulthood, and bone loss during aging. The decline in bone mass and structural integrity results in increased risk of fractures, particularly in post-menopausal women.
Although aerobic exercise is important in maintaining overall health, the resistance type of muscle training may be more applicable to the basic rules of bone adaptation and site-specific effects of exercise, have more favorable effects in maintaining or improving bone mass and architecture, and be safe and feasible for older people.
It has been suggested that there is an opportunity for resistance training, for improved effects on BMD (Bone Mass Density) in postmenopausal women in bones which have less daily loading. In addition to BMC and BMD, bone geometry and mass distribution may also change as a result of training and other treatment, such as hormonal replacement therapy, thereby further improving bone strength and reducing fracture risk. Appropriate training regimens may reduce the risk of falls and the severity of fall-related injuries, and also constitute potential therapy to improve functional ability and the quality of life in osteoporotic patients. However, further research is needed on dose-response relationships between exercise and bone strength, the feasibility of high-load, high-speed and impact-type of physical training, and the risks and benefits of intensive exercisein elderly individuals.
Writing in the medical journal Minerva Ginecologica, researchers say that “The ability to maintain active and independent living for as long as possible is a crucial factor for (aging healthfully)” and that “Interventions such as hormone replacement therapy may alleviate the debilitating conditions of secondary partial endocrine deficiencies by preventing the preventable and delaying the inevitable.”
Lunenfeld B. Endocrinology of the aging male. Minerva Ginecol. 2006 Apr;58(2):153-70.
From the study abstract:
“Despite enormous medical progress during the past few decades, the last years of life are still accompanied by increasing ill health and disability.
The ability to maintain active and independent living for as long as possible is a crucial factor for ageing healthily and with dignity. The most important and drastic gender differences in aging are related to the reproductive organs. In distinction to the course of reproductive ageing in women, with the rapid decline in sex hormones expressed by the cessation of menses, men experience a slow and continuous decline. This decline in endocrine function involves: a decrease of testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), oestrogens, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), growth hormone (GH), IGF1, and melatonin.
The decrease of sex hormones is concomitant with a temporary increase of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). In addition sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) increase with age resulting in further lowering the concentrations of free biologically active androgens.
These hormonal changes are directly or indirectly associated with changes in body constitution, fat distribution (visceral obesity), muscle weakness, osteopenia, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, loss of cognitive functioning, reduction in well being, depression, as well as sexual dysfunction.
The laboratory and clinical findings of partial endocrine deficiencies in the aging male will be described and discussed in detail. With the prolongation of life expectancy both women and men today live 1/3 of their life with endocrine deficiencies. Interventions such as hormone replacement therapy may alleviate the debilitating conditions of secondary partial endocrine deficiencies by preventing the preventable and delaying the inevitable.”
Luteinizing hormone is produced in the pituary gland and helps regulate the production of testosterone.
Follicle-stimulating hormone is produced in the pituary gland and helps regulate the production of sperm.
Lee SJ, Lindquist K, Segal MR, Covinsky KE, Development and Validation of a Prognostic Index for 4-Year Mortality in Older Adults. JAMA. 2006;295:801-808.
From the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
ABSTRACT: “Context Both comorbid conditions and functional measures predict mortality in older adults, but few prognostic indexes combine both classes of predictors. Combining easily obtained measures into an accurate predictive model could be useful to clinicians advising patients, as well as policy makers and epidemiologists interested in risk adjustment.
Objective: To develop and validate a prognostic index for 4-year mortality using information that can be obtained from patient report.
Results:…Twelve independent predictors of mortality were identified: 2 demographic variables (age: 60-64 years, 1 point; 65-69 years, 2 points; 70-74 years, 3 points; 75-79 years, 4 points; 80-84 years, 5 points, >85 years, 7 points and (being male), 2 points), 6 comorbid conditions (diabetes, 1 point; cancer, 2 points; lung disease, 2 points; heart failure, 2 points; current tobacco use, 2 points; and body mass index <25, 1 point), and difficulty with 4 functional variables (bathing, 2 points; walking several blocks, 2 points; managing money, 2 points, and pushing large objects, 1 point. Scores on the risk index were strongly associated with 4-year mortality in the validation cohort, with 0 to 5 points predicting a less than 4% risk, 6 to 9 points predicting a 15% risk, 10 to 13 points predicting a 42% risk, and 14 or more points predicting a 64% risk….
Conclusion: This prognostic index, incorporating age, sex, self-reported comorbid conditions, and functional measures, accurately stratifies community-dwelling older adults into groups at varying risk of mortality.