An old woman watched her elderly husband waste away before her eyes. She loved him very much and dreaded having to live without him. Then one day a genie appeared to her, saying he’d grant her a wish.
“Oh, make him immortal,” she cried before she thought, thereby assuring her husband would linger on forever in his decrepit condition.
We’d all like to live longer than our allotted life span. “You can never be too rich, too thin or too healthy,” the saying goes. If we could be young and healthy indefinitely, we’d no doubt wish to live forever! That, of course, is not possible in this life. But is it possible to at least slow the aging process? How? And by how much?
How close are we to the Fountain of Youth?
Scientists at this very moment are working feverishly to lengthen our life span. One researcher said “All we need is another 200 years of added life, and we’re within reach of that now. That will give us 200 years to figure out the rest of it.”
In the meantime, is there anything we can do to add years to our lifetime? It appears there are several remedies. Next time your mortality rises up and butts you in the head, consider these:
A new beer – Bathbeer, from Neuzelle, Germany, vows it contains anti-aging properties. Besides vitamins and minerals aimed at keeping beer-drinkers healthy, Bathbeer contains spirulina, an algae that according to the National Research Development Corporation, is 71% protein, making it the “only single, natural source [of the] highest amount of protein ever known to man.”
The NRDC also had this to say:
“The protein content in spirulina is three times that of soybean, five times that of meat, and the protein quality is among the best with a good degree of aminogram. The protein yield per unit area per year is the highest compared to other protein yielding crops.
“Like all other microbial cells, Spirulina contains all natural vitamins including the ‘B’ complex range, minerals and growth factors including gram-linolenic acid (highest after milk and ‘evening prime rose oil’ ). It contains the highest amount of b -carotene, a precursor of Vitamin ‘A’. It is the only vegetable source of vitamin ‘B12’ containing two and half times that of liver.”
Its manufacturers also say that the beer can be drunk or rubbed on the skin, if you don’t like the taste. This will allow you to smell like beer without actually being drunk, in case you get stopped by a cop. Fetching as this may sound, the beer itself may be illegal under Germany’s “beer purity regulation.” The world’s oldest law (1516) – the “Reinheitsgebot” – limits beer ingredients to hops, barley, yeast and water. If they won’t or can’t remove the algae, the manufacturers will be forced to call it something besides beer.
Then there’s something called ‘Full Spectrum.” This is a drink, apparently, promoted on the Full Spectrum site, http://www.youthfulagain.com. It claims to bring relief to sufferers of cellulite, weight gain, poor muscle tone, wrinkles, sagging skin, arthritis, hair color and more. “You can see results starting in as fast as 10 days,” the maker has said. “We can now intervene in the aging process, restore many aspects of youth, resist disease, substantially improve the quality of life, perhaps extend the lifespan itself.”
A customer’s testimonial is offered:
“I would like you to know that we are constantly searching products that will provide a better life, and I am excited to tell you about a new product that I personally switched over too. I have noticed a surge in my energy, and a lose of gray hair returning back to red. You MUST try this new product, Full Spectrum. This product not only stimulates growth hormones, but opens the receptor sites for better absorption by the body. This is the latest in the quest for the ‘Fountain Of Youth.’
[Sic], [sic] and [sic].
If that doesn’t sound too appealing, you might want to try Renew Anti-Aging Formula, found at http://www.qfac.com/anti_aging.html. This stuff they say is designed to “enhance the immune system,” normalize the metabolism and support thyroid, GH, testosterone, andrenergic function and insulin. It also “deals” with “workout fatigue,” which most people have in the morning before they ever get to work.
Or there’s Antiox, which purports to contain lots of antioxidants beyond the regular ones, beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. It also contains something called “glutathione,” which it states is the “most important, all-purpose, endogenous anti-oxidant in our bodies.” (Well, maybe in theirs). After that, there’s Radox, another stress-fighter and fatigue reliever, FFA+ fish oils, CLA and “good” fats, and “Supreme Greens” powder which contains “the equivalent nutrients and antioxidant power of 2 lbs of vegetables!” and Fruits of Life (recommended for athletes), which promises essentially the same thing.
If you have tried these without much success (and what did you expect?) then you might want to fall back on some of the more common remedies.
As reported in the Washington Post, some people in an attempt to lengthen their lives have begun to cramp their intake of calories onto the smallest plate possible. The theory is that “caloric restriction” can slow the aging process by “fundamentally altering basic metabolic functions.” The idea’s popularity has been growing, though nothing has been actually proven yet. One recent study, however, indicated that people who altered their eating habits to consume fewer calories gained in ways that should lower their risk of heart disease. The results were so encouraging that the NIH set up a project in three US cities to see how difficult it will be to persuade people to eat less.
Something called The Calorie Restriction Society, at www.calorierestriction.org, with 1,600 members, runs an annual meeting for its members. There they trade menus, recipes and advice and discuss studies tending to support their theory. Many of them eat only nuts, vegetables, fruit, grains, and berries. The next time you make pizza, think of that! According to the website, “Some lose so much weight their libidos disappear and they have to remember to carry a sweater to stay warm in air-conditioned buildings and pillows to cushion their bony behinds.”
Hmmmm. Sounds a lot like old people, doesn’t it! Maybe you can be too thin.
Not all the members eat like that; some eat regular meals, only smaller helpings. Others combine vegetables, meat, fish, fruit and poultry, chocolate cake, steak (thin people look so anemic!). Some run marathons, but others simply sit around, but they still lose weight because they lower their caloric intake accordingly. Couch potatoes, take note – you can lose without exercising!
Some members say they aren’t doing this to prolong life but to improve the quality of life, to live through the “Golden Years” free of disease and decline. One Mary Robinson before she started the diet reported that at the age of 47 she began to decline. Aches and pains started showing up. She had no energy. “I was having stomach problems,” she stated. So she reduced her 1,800 calorie intake per day to 1,100. After a period of adjustment period, her appetite faded, and her food cravings disappeared.
Mary would probably be interested to know that reduced caloric intake increased the lifespan of laboratory animals – mice and rats – by a “significant” amount. Present studies involving monkeys are also having promising results.
According to the National Institute on Aging, mild stress may be beneficial. Mild stress results in our cells “activating genes” that may protect them from heavy stress. Also, caloric restriction may cause the body to produce fewer destructive molecules called free radicals. Another testimonial: Khurram Hashmi, 36, of Los Angeles reduced his caloric intake from 3,500 per day to 1,800, and lost 54 pounds. “Life is not that long,” Hashmi said. “This is the fountain of youth if there ever was one.”
This diet won’t suit everyone. It’s pretty austere, and some people would rather live large, eat well, drink copiously and let the chips fall wherever they like.
The Young Again Forever website recommends yoga exercises. This is definitely a method for people who like to exercise. YAF claims that yoga stimulates body hormones like DHEA and HGH (human growth hormone) to control the aging process. They offer a video to teach you to perform the exercises and promises you’ll see results in three months.
CNN reports that a 1966 study showed that even in middle age, we can benefit from a six-month program of exercise: walking, jogging or riding a stationery bike for one hour, four or five times a week. A study of five middle -aged men using this method returned their cardiovascular fitness levels to age 20. The study tracked these men from age 20 to 50. By 50, these men had declined. They had gained an average of 25% of their body weight, and their bodies’ ability to utilize oxygen slid by 11%. However, after six months of exercise, these men were able to reduce or reverse the effects of aging while raising their aerobic power by 15%.
The type of exercise you do hardly matters. You can tap dance, run around the block 15 times, roller-blade, swim, put on a new roof, run up stairs backward – it’s all good for you. And the better you feel, the longer you’re likely to live. The True Fountain of Youth is within you!