Aging Gracefully and Naturally (cont.)

Also, drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep skin hydrated and supple, he says.

"The best thing you can do to delay to keep your body weight at a normal level."

"You will see a difference in as little as three days," he says, starting with "a radiant glow, puffiness diminished, and your skin will look more toned. You will see changes in cholesterol levels as your good cholesterol goes up and your blood pressure returns to a normal level. [And] you will have more energy and elevated moods."

Too fishy for you? Take fish oil capsules instead, and try capsules of 100 mg daily of DMAE, a memory-enhancing supplement. "DMAE is the building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps improve memory and problem-solving ability," he says.

Chill Without a Pill

Transcendental meditation is becoming so mainstream in the U.S. these days that it is popping up in schools, hospitals, law firms, government and corporate offices, and prisons. In fact, one study done with researchers from the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science in Cold Spring-on-Hudson, N.Y., suggests people who meditate regularly have levels of an age-related hormone that is comparable to their nonmeditating counterparts who are five to 10 years younger. And a growing body of evidence suggests that transcendental meditation also helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Transcendental meditation involves sitting with eyes closed and thinking of "a meaningless sound" (mantra) for 20 minutes a day.

Spring Cleansing

Nope, it doesn't involve a vacuum or a broom. Body-cleansing systems are touted everywhere as a way to detoxify the body and get rid of what ails us.

One such program, the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse Program, takes place over six weeks. Participants use organic herbal tinctures to support the liver, detoxify poisons, and help the body remove the layers of infection. "They also cut back on simple sugars and foods known to spike blood sugar," says Dean, who developed the program. "By slowly changing the way they eat, you are able to renew your energy and strengthen your immune system and lose unwanted weight."

Other cleansing fasts may involve only drinking juice or water.

But There Are Some Detractors

Not all health-care professionals are sold on antiaging medicine, including Nir Barzilai, MD, director of the Institute of Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.

"If there really was a good antiaging drug, companies would be doing huge studies," he says, adding that "there are statements and no data."

Though vitamins and minerals may not be harmful, some supplements may be, he warns WebMD.

Growth hormone, for example. "Companies are quoting studies that suggest it may have benefits, which led to [government]-funded studies to see if it's true, and they have shown some benefits but also some risks," he says. "The benefits may be skin tightness, but the risk is cancer.

"Vitamins are not dangerous, but that's not how they are being marketed," he says. "Some say that vitamins will decrease aging, and the answer is that there is no evidence for that -- it might, but nobody has shown it yet."

The best thing you can do to delay aging, he says, is to keep your body weight at a normal level.

"We are trying to look at two models of longevity, and one is a caloric-restricted model, and mice, rats, or monkeys who eat 60% of calories of their brothers live up to twice as long," he says.

"The basic thing we know is that if you are lean or obese, you have totally different risks of all different causes of death," he says.

Published Aug. 11, 2003.

SOURCES: Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author, The Miracle of Magnesium. Nicholas V. Perricone, MD, clinical professor of medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.; author, The Perricone Prescription and The Wrinkle Cure: Unlock the Power of Cosmeceuticals for Supple, Youthful Skin. Nir Barzilai, MD, director, Institute of Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

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