The aging process can be one of deterioration, resulting in weakness, susceptibility to disease and environmental problems, loss of mobility, and age-related physiological changes. These can lead to cancer, infections, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. This doesn’t have to happen.
The theory of remodeling in aging says that people who live to very old age have changes in such things as hormones and trace elements which allow them to survive. There are a number of mechanisms by which humans can live to the extreme limit of lifespan, including growth hormone (GH,) melatonin, insulin, thyroid, steroid hormones and zinc. Pathology results from a failure of remodeling to take advantage of those neuroendocrine-immune interactions.
Zinc can help with remodeling. It is catalyst to 300 enzymes and a component of hormones, neuropeptides and hormone receptors. Zinc improves immunity and insulin production. Zinc is of benefit in normal aging and accelerated aging (Down’s syndrome.)
L-deprenyl is a drug that blocks monoamine oxidase enzyme, which breaks down neurotransmitters. MAO increases in the brain during aging and further reduces available levels of important neurotransmitters. Studies show that l-deprenyl extends life expectancy in laboratory animals and Alzheimer’s disease patients. This may be due to prevention of cancer. L-deprenyl reduces prolactin levels, which reduces breast cancer risk. L-deprenyl improves zinc bioavailability.
Ghrelin is a peptide produced in the stomach which releases growth hormone (GH.) It increases in fasting, malnutrition and anorexia nervosa. Ghrelin is balanced by the peptide, leptin, produced by fat tissue. High leptin levels signal the hypothalamus to reduce appetite and increase energy use, preventing obesity. In obesity there is a defect of leptin signaling and no suppression of appetite. Ghrelin signaling is impaired in obesity. Old people can have an imbalance in ghrelin and leptin, with resultant obesity.
Carnosine, a dipeptide, is a natural antioxidant. High levels are seen in muscles and brain. Carnosine rejuvenates aging cells, can delay vision loss and prevents and treats senile cataracts. Release of carnosine in fibroblasts is controlled by zinc. Amyloid protein can be prevented by carnosine and the toxic effects of amyloid can be reduced or prevented by carnosine. Zinc is important in most of the actions resulting from carnosine.
Nitric oxide (NO) supports the release of zinc from binding with metallothionein (MT.) An overproduction of MT with aging causes a block in the release of zinc by NO. This can be corrected by zinc supplements. NO donors can act by releasing zinc and as antioxidants.
CONCLUSION: Substances which can aid patients in neuroendocrine-immune remodeling of aging include leptin, L-deprenyl, ghrelin, carnosine, NO donors and zinc.
NOTE: Arginine amino acid is a NO donor which can be of benefit in aging to release zinc from MT binding. Glutamine amino acid helps release GH from the pituitary. A natural MAO inhibitor is ayahuasca, a plant used in the Amazon jungle. It may have a use in Parkinson’s disease.
Read about the the importance of lifestyle, inflammation and exercise in aging. Read about the use of 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors as a protection from brain amyloid formation.
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