Anti-aging medicine incorporates many of the principals of ortho-molecular medicine to retard aging and rejuvenate the body, in addition to the following discipline: nutrition, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, general medicine, immunology, allergy, endocrinology, pharmacology, toxicology, neurology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and physical medicine. Through the wonders of modern innovation and medical technology, anti aging medicine may be able to increase the body's immune system and encourage cell growth and regeneration. Anti aging medicine can be found in different substances and formulas and are beneficial to a degree.
A broad definition of 'anti-aging' is any intervention intended to preserve and extend one's lifespan. All time honored health promoting behaviors such as good hygiene and various safety measures are 'anti-aging' in that they prevent premature death from disease or accident. Diet, exercise and stress reduction are 'anti-aging' by virtue of their ability to increase well being and lifespan. Current research on anti-oxidant supplementation and hormone replacement therapy is gathering evidence of 'anti-aging' activity through their ability to prevent and reverse cellular degeneration associated with aging.
To date the most potent weapons against aging are a group of hormones that naturally diminish with age and when replaced at youthful levels cause a powerful rejuvenating effect on all the cells of the body. These powerful tools are available through any licensed physician however proficiency in this subject requires special training. Thus a new medical specialty was formed called Anti-Aging Medicine. Hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH), Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), melatonin, thyroid and thymus. The results show that many of these functions reduce in frequency, strength and production as we age. The use of nutrition, mega vitamins, hormones and some drugs help improve and maintain better health in old age, both as a preventative (i.e. growing older) and as a treatment.
Anti-aging medicine is the stimulation and addition of "natural" human elements to help ensure that the body is able to repair and regenerate itself, utilizing the same chemicals it relies on day in, day out, but to make their availability greater in older age. In short, anti-aging is the supplementation of the body's needs as we age, to help it continue to perform as well as it did when we were in our twenties.
One of the areas of greatest concern in aging is the brain. This central command organ is perhaps the most overlooked organ today in terms of nutrition. This is compounded by the fact that the brain contains a unique protective sheath called the "brain blood barrier." This barrier proves a difficult obstacle for many supplements to pass through, but it's there for a very important reason. Unlike other organs the brain does not possess the ability to renew its cells, once they die they're gone, in fact the decline of certain brain chemicals has lead some neurologists to state that "if we all live long enough we would all become senile." Therefore the protection and enhancement of brain function has become one of the cornerstones of anti-aging medicine. The improvement and correction of brain function has been achieved with the use of nootropic nutrients and drugs, the so-called Smart Drugs.
"Smart drugs" are already available that crudely modulate levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Among the most popular is Deprenyl, a prescription medication used to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. It is held by some anti-aging researchers that Deprenyl and other drugs can be used to halt the decline in mental functioning that is the hallmark of aging. The advent of better "smart drugs" may provide a breakthrough in enhancing the quality of our later years.
Cosmetic aspects of rejuvenation deserve attention here, too. Conscientious application of improved techniques of dermatology and plastic surgery (always used in conduction with appropriate lifestyle modification,) can create a meaningful anti-aging "makeover." Newer less invasive techniques such as laser surgery and natural skin treatments now enhance the repertoire of longevity specialists.
Of course there are also outside factors that affect aging. Not only stress, but environmental factors such as pollution, toxic metals, various chemicals in the food chain, air and the water supply, as well as the inability for modern food processing, market demands and junk food to be able to supply the optimum doses of nutritional needs. Potent antioxidants and specialist supplements for reestablishing correct testosterone/ estrogen balances and chelation (the removal of toxins and metals) are necessary as we age because we can no longer put our complete faith in the modern environment.
Regenerative medicine looks for means to mimic salamanders (which can regrow severed limbs), newts (which can regrow not only limbs, but intestine, jaw and spine) and zebrafish (which can regrow a heart) -- by replacing the dead scar tissue after a heart attack with new heart cells. Or by replacing substantia nigra cells in Parkinson's Disease. Or by regrowing a spinal cord after spinal cord injury.
The following therapeutic modalities falls into the realm of the anti-aging physician: hormonal replacement therapy, vitamins, minerals , amino acids, essential fatty acids , fiber, enzymes, antibodies, antigens, cell therapy, chelation therapy, hydrotherapy, thermal therapy, acupuncture, exercise, biofeedback , psychotherapy, and others. Drugs and medicine is used in conjunction with non invasive and the least toxic modality to achieve optimal health.