Four Nutrients to Stop Aging
Back in Abraham Lincoln’s day, a newborn American could expect to live to age 39. Aging was not a problem because most people died before they had time to age. But for you, aging will be the biggest problem you have to face in your whole life.
Don’t think I’m exaggerating. The Centers for Disease Control predict that more than 50% of all Americans living today, will spend their last years decaying in nursing homes unable to care for themselves. More than 50%! Do you want to be part of that army of grisly geriatrics, medicine stupefied, doddery and dependent, gasping through your days until the blessed relief of the crematorium? Without exception, everyone I ask at my lectures says an emphatic “No!”. But the statistics show that half of you will end up there.
To avoid this fate requires two things: a modicum of luck, so that a car wreck or other large trauma doesn’t reduce you to a vegetable, and an understanding of the aging process. Beyond tongue-in-cheek advice to wear rabbit’s feet or eat four-leaf clover I can’t do anything about the luck. But I can give you a handle on aging.
First, the calendar never killed or maimed anyone. No one ever dies simply of old age; you die only of damage or disease. Gerontologists are now reasonably convinced that no disease or degenerative process occurs solely by the passage of time. That’s a great discovery because it follows that the extent to which we prevent disease or damage to the body, also prevents aging.
You will have noticed how age prevention is fast becoming the dominant interest in many magazines-including the muscle mags. Informed people are realizing that for the first time in the history of the Earth, extended human life is a real possibility. But not the sick geriatric years now offered to us by the disease industry that passes for healthcare in America. Nutrition science offers not just lifespan, but healthspan, not just quantity, but quality quantity.
Coronary disease is man-made
The first step is to inhibit development of our biggest killer, coronary artery disease. Some uninformed medical people, whose main motivation I suspect is protecting their money tree, scoff at such a goal, saying that this degenerative disease has always been part of the human condition, and you might as well try to escape air or sunlight. They are dead wrong!
The first report of coronary artery disease in America was published in 1912 in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr James Herrick1. The disease was so rare that famous cardiologist Dr Paul Dudley White spent the next ten years searching for it, and found only three cases2. Today we have thousands of cases in any small city.
In the same medical journal 77 years later, on July 7, 1989, a nationwide analysis of coronary disease, showed that 60 million American adults aged 20-90 have the problem to some degree. That’s one in every three adults in the nation3. There is no longer any doubt that coronary artery disease is not a natural consequence of aging, but is predominantly man-made.
Some medical apologists try to excuse this crime against human health, by claiming that coronary disease now afflicts people because medicine has cured the infectious disease that used to kill them at younger ages. So now we have far more older people who have the time to develop atherosclerosis. Bull Pucky! Autopsies performed on young American soldiers killed in action show that one in every two already had atherosclerosis. Average age, 22!4 In my book, The New Nutrition: Medicine for the New Millennium, I show exactly how coronary disease developed during this century from the man-made degradation of our foods, water, air and lifestyle5.
My lecture audiences call the evidence “shocking” “criminal” and “devastating” and cannot understand how successive governments have permitted it to happen. But the arrogance, greed and corruption responsible for our epidemic of coronary disease has one good side. If this disease was a natural consequence of aging, we could do little about it. But, now we know for sure it is man-made, we can also un-make it.
Medicine cannot help you. Coronary disease is silent and very difficult to detect. The first symptom is often the only one you feel, a few minutes before it kills you. Dr Lewis Kuller, for example, analyzed records of 326 people who died of sudden heart attacks, all of whom had received medical examinations within six months before death. Eighty-six of the subjects had received medical examinations within seven days of death. Not a single one of the heart attacks had been predicted by their physicians6.
So you better help yourself. Most folk are still unaware of the last decade of research, that shows how the man-made degradation of our nutrition and environment attacks your arteries. I cover the research in detail in my book The New Nutrition5; here I will cut to the chase... Cholesterol, saturated fat, salt, sugar, pesticides, prescription drugs, air and water pollution are all involved, but the main mechanism by which they damage you is oxidation.
Free radicals oxidize tiny particles of low density lipoproteins (LDL) on and in the arterial walls. Your immune system macrophages immediately recognize that the oxidized LDL is toxic and gobbles it up. Because of the overload of oxidation created by man-made toxins the macrophages can’t cope. They become overstuffed and break down into pathological cells called foam cells. These foam cells form the fatty yellow streaks that are the beginning lesions of atherosclerosis7,8,9.
The answer is simple: if you reduce whole-body oxidation of LDL you reduce the development of coronary disease. Protection of your LDL, which is a fatty compound, depends primarily on the amounts of fat-soluble antioxidants that you can get inside the LDL particles.
Best studied fat-soluble antioxidants are vitamin E, beta- carotene, and coenzyme Q10. New in vitro (in the test tube) studies show unequivocally that these three nutrients prevent oxidation of human LDL10,11,12. Vitamin C is also involved. Vitamin C acts synergistically to restore used vitamin E to an active state7. Vitamin C also prevents macrophages from absorbing too much LDL13.
Of course, these studies are all on the cutting edge. The new regulations of the Food and Drug Administration do not permit any claims that antioxidants can prevent cardiovascular disease. They say we have to wait for large controlled trials that will take at least another decade to complete. So I can’t recommend that you take these nutrients. If you do so it is at your own choice and risk.
I can tell you, however, what I and many of my colleagues do. Like two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, we take 10 grams at least of vitamin C daily. We also take 1,200-2,800 IU of the natural source vitamin E, d-alpha tocopheryl succinate. We also take 25,000-100,000 IU of beta-carotene. We also take 30-60 mg of coenzyme Q10.
I can also tell you what master economist and Nobel Prize winner Dr Milton Friedman says about the FDA’s new restrictions: “Any increase in the FDA’s authority over anything is a clear and present danger to the nation’s health”14.
Don’t expect health authorities to protect you. Don’t expect medicine to protect you. Read the medical references to this article and choose whether or not you want to protect yourself. It’s the only choice you’ve got.
1 Herrick, JB, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1912;59:2015
2 White, PD, My Life in Medicine: An Autobiographical Memoir, Boston Gambit and Co.,
3 Journal of the American Medical Association, 1989, 7 July.
4 McNamara, JJ, et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1971;216:1185
5 Colgan, M, The New Nutrition: Medicine for the New Millennium, San Diego; C.I.
6 Kuller, L, et al, Circulation, 1966;34:1056.
7 Sato, S, et al, Arch Biochem Biophys, 1990;279:402-405.
8 Mitchinson, MJ, et al, Biochem Soc Trans, 1990;18: 1066-1069.
9 Steinberg, D, et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 1989;320:915-924.
10 Esterbaur, H, et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1991;53:314S-321S.
11 Jialal, I, et al, Biochem Biophys Acta, 1991;1086:134-138.
12 Stocker, R, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences OSA, 1991;88:1646-1658.
13 Jialal, I, Grundy, SM, American Heart Association, 19 Science Writer’s Forum, 12
14 Pearson, D, Shaw, S, Freedom of Informed Choice, Neptune, NJ: Common Sense Press,
Reprinted with permission from Dr Michael Colgan, Colgan Institute, 523
Encinitas Blvd., Suite 204, Encinitas, CA 92024. (619) 632-7722.
This article first appeared in Muscular Development Fitness & Health Magazine
in July 1994. MD is available from most newsagents.