Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Harley Street Hormones and how to live to be 150!
The demand for cosmetic surgery is at an all time high.In the UK there was a 52% increase in operations last year, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. In the US, cosmetic surgery procedures have grown by 24 per cent in five years, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
But most of those wealthy enough to spend a small fortune on aesthetics are not treating the real causes of aging – molecular degeneration of the body caused mostly by poor lifestyle choices such as overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol.
But the good news is that a new and growing medical speciality – anti-aging or rejuvenation medicine – can help return your body to an early time using the latest scientific discoveries and secrets of the body unlocked by sports medicine.
Bespoke rejuvenation therapy is created by specialist doctors in this area who test the patient's biomarkers - to determine their current biological age. This include testing the blood, urine, saliva, blood pressure, weight/body mass index, flexibility, strength, skin elasticity and vision.
One of the cornerstones of anti-aging therapy is the replacement of various youth hormones that decline with age. These are the hormones that control weight, sex drive and mental clarity such as Human Growth Hormone (hgH), melatonin and the so-called “performancing enhancing” steroid used by athletes, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), all of which are available only by doctor’s prescription in the UK. And definitely not on the National Health Service!
So today I visit anti-aging expert Dr John Moran, to start my rejuvenation programme. Dr Moran has a long list of qualifications RD, MBBS LDSRCS, DPsSc,DFFP, MSc Nutri.Med and specialises in hormone replacement for both men and women using bio-identical hormones - these are made from plants and are not available via the UK's National Health Service.
Dr Moran carries out a detailed medical examination, including of my medical history and my current health status Before he can create a bespoke anti-ageing programme I must take a blood test to see what is going on with hormones and the nasty things in my blood such as cholesterol and homocysteine - which can indicate potential problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.
In the case of women, symptoms of hormonal imbalance, especially in the pre-menopause and menopause, can include fatigue, weight gain, a lack of libido and even forgetfulness. I suspect I am suffering from some or most of these and the blood test confirms that all my levels of the main hormones - oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone and DHEA are on the low side. My bad cholesterol LDL is 3.3 which is a little on the high side but my good HDL is also high at 6.4 which Dr Moran tells me is good.
Prior to taking hormone replacement I am told it is a wise precaution to have a measurement of the endometrium taken - the womb lining. This is because in some women it may thicken in reaction to increased hormone levels. This could lead to an increased risk of cancer which is why conventional HRT become unpopular and the amount of oestrogen was reduced.
I am prescribed a testosterone gel, oestrogen capsules and progesterone which is taken sub-lingually. I will let you know what happens and the effects of this.
Some longevity specialists use more unorthodox treatments such as live cell and organtherapy – cells from the embryo organs of pigs and cows injected to revitalise corresponding human organs including the brain. So I plan to investigate what happens in this area at world's most prestigious rejuvenation clinic - Clinique La Prairie in Montreaux Switzerland. Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich are just two of the celebrities who are said to have been rejuvenated there.
One controversial treatment which I am tempted to try is the youth hormone - human growth hormone Hgh. But doctors who prescribe this - for anti-aging - are thin on the ground. This is because its only on-label use is for children with growth problems and adults who are deficient because of immune diseaes such as HIV. A deficiency caused by "natural" aging is not considered a deficiency.
The popularity of Hgh followed an experiment in the US in which a group of 12 men aged over 60 years saw dramatic changes in their bodies as signs of ageing melted away. In the Rudman Study, named after Dr Daniel Rudman, fat turned to lean muscle, bone density increased, skin became thicker and the men looked generally dramatically younger. Their sex drive also increased. They were monitored for adverse effects but there were none and it is now integral in many anti-ageing programmes, even though there are concerns about its safety particularly in relation to its potential to grow cancerous cells.
Devotees of Hgh, according to the US’s National Enquirer, include Hollywood celebrities such as Nick Nolte, Pam Anderson, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Demi Moore, Brad Pitt, Marla Maples, Britney Spears and Jennifer Aniston. Sylvestor Stallone even has his own nutritional supplement business, aimed at bodybuilders (www.instonenutrition.com).
I have been reading an interesting and highly amusing book - Live Forever or Get Your Money Back. The hypothesis, or fact according to British author Gary Clark, is that aging is caused by pyschosamatic virus which has spread through humanity and that aging is in fact self induced. He claims to have rid himself of this virus and has stopped aging.
Contact information: Dr John Moran 30A Wimpole Street London W1 T: + 44(0)20 7935 4870
Live Forever or Your Money Back: How We Age, How We Die, & How Not To! is due for release (in the UK) in September by Aeon Partners Press (ISBN 978-0-9555696-0-9),in hardback at £14.99. Available, in paperback, at £11.99 through www.amazon.co.uk or order through any bookshop.