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August 25, 2007

Aging: Lifestyle Modification and Drugs

So far, only caloric restriction with adequate nutrition (CRAN) has been shown to retard aging in animals and possibly humans. How many obese elderly people do we see on the street? Only a few and this possibly gives credence to CRAN. In nearly all religions, periodic fasting is recommended and it seems that our wise ancestors were aware of this fact. It is also equally important to remain active by doing regular physical (and mental) exercises. Smoking should be discouraged and 'challenges', such as trauma and infection are to be tackled at the earliest; since the elderly are 'homeostenosed'. The importance of good eating habits can not be overemphasized. We must ensure adequate intake of vitamins by ingesting adequate fruits and vegetables. They not only supply us with vitamins but also the dietary fibers in them ensure regular bowel habits as well as in fighting cancers, such as cancer of the colon. They also contain antioxidants in them, such as lycopene (in tomatoes); apart from vitamins A,C,E and various others. Water intake should be adequate to flush out the toxins of metabolism.

Retarding aging by giving drugs seems fascinating. It has indeed been suggested that the following be taken in a supervised way, in order to live a healthy and long life. Vitamins C, E, B5 (pantothenic acid), carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, deprenyl (eldepryl), flavonoids such as carotene, folic acid, selenium etc has been proposed in this regard. These substances act by scavenging free radicals, fighting oxidation, altering glycation and metabolism and by other factors.

To conclude, it must be remembered that, our motto should be adding lives to years and not merely adding years to lives. Hence the elderly (in fact all of us) should make lifestyle changes and it is our duty to make our senior citizens comfortable, in our society.

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