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The Real Secret to Healthy Aging
Posted By Mark Hyman, M.D. On May 18, 2010 @ 2:28 pm In Detox, Health & Wellness, Healthy Aging, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | 4 Comments
“Live to 120 years old by eating as much as you want and drinking lots of red wine!”
That’s the intriguing finding of a recent study from Harvard researcher David Sinclair and his group.
The only catch is that you’d have to drink about 1,500 bottles of wine a day to get those results. Of course, that would kill you before you’d have a chance to reach age 120. Still, those are important findings. In fact, Dr. Sinclair thinks they’re so important that he started a company to produce a pharmaceutical derivative of the active compound in red wine, resveratrol .
Although his findings have merit, I think he is misguided in his attempt to find a “magic pill” that will allow you to eat whatever you want and live forever. The body is much more complex than that.
This week, I’m going to explain why a magic pill WON’T work, and provide 10 tips that really WILL help you live longer and prevent all the diseases of aging.
Don’t get me wrong. Dr. Sinclair is on the right track. But I believe he’s focused on the wrong thing. In looking for that “magic pill,” he’s not taking into account the bigger picture.
Sure, there has been a lot of fanfare about this new “drug” resveratrol that can extend your life span and let you eat whatever you want and have the fitness of a trained athlete without any exercise. But that’s wrong on a couple of counts.
First, resveratrol isn’t a drug at all. It’s a natural plant defense molecule, or “phytonutrient ,” that’s found in grapes (and, therefore, red wine), as well as in peanuts, berries and a Chinese herb called hu zhang.
Second, all the excitement reinforces the idea that a single molecule (whether from a drug or a plant) can solve all our health problems. In functional medicine , we look at ALL the systems of the body. We need to consider resveratrol as just ONE of many healthful plant compounds.
I believe that all the excitement about resveratrol is misguided. Everyone is looking for a quick fix but, in order to find the real secret to longevity, healthy aging and fitness, we need to look at how this compound works and learn from there how to keep ourselves healthy.
The secret lies in our mitochondria.
Recently, I was at a conference on longevity and aging and had a chance to converse with Dr. Leonard Guarente from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1995, Dr. Guarente discovered a gene called SIR-2 in yeast that controls longevity.
I asked Dr. Guarente what REALLY was at the root of the effects of this master gene that controls longevity (called SIRT-1 in humans). Resveratrol works through this gene. His answer was quite simple: sugar. This gene has its master effects on aging by improving how the body controls sugar and insulin sensitivity.
This isn’t really surprising. All the effects of aging are increased by worsening blood sugar control. People with diabetes  have smaller and more poorly functioning mitochondria and get cancer , heart disease  and dementia  at far greater rates than the general population.
So, if we could fix our blood sugar control and boost our mitochondria, we could live longer and disease-free.
Considering this, let’s look at the big picture again …
Taking a magic pill just won’t do the trick. That’s especially true if you factor in all the other real-life insults that affect us, such as poor diet , stress , environmental toxins  and a sedentary lifestyle — all of which affect blood sugar control and mitochondria. Instead, you need to know ALL the factors that DAMAGE your blood sugar control and mitochondria. And you need to know ALL the factors that IMPROVE or boost your blood sugar control and mitochondria.
So, what can you do to live longer and stay disease-free, other than drink 1,500 bottles of wine a day? Here is just a partial list.
This is just a start of what you can do. Just remember: You will need to take a comprehensive approach to health , leveraging the latest research to help you improve your metabolism, stay thin and live longer. There are no quick fixes, but addressing your whole system will give you a huge advantage!
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, M.D.
Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com
URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/the-real-secret-to-healthy-aging/
URLs in this post:
 resveratrol: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/the-magic-pill
 phytonutrient: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/eating-dinner-is-better-than-seeing-a-doctor
 functional medicine: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/functional-medicine
 Mitochondria: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/ultrawellness-key-6
 weight loss: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Weight-Loss-Guide-Answers-Solutions.html
 diabetes: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/insulin-resistance
 cancer: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/reducing-breast-cancer-risk
 heart disease: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/cholesterol-heart-disease
 dementia: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/9-steps-to-reverse-dementia
 poor diet: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/ultrawellness-key-1
 stress: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/ultrawellness-key-7
 environmental toxins: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/ultrawellness-key-5
 fiber: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/eat-12-pounds-of-food-and-lose-weight
 omega-3 fats: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/what-criminals-and-fish-have-to-do-with-your-health
 diabetes: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Mayo-Clinic-Type-2-Diabetes.html
 interval training: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/An-MD-on-the-Benefits-of-Interval-Workouts-and-How-to-Do-Them.html
 magnesium: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/magnesium-relaxation-mineral
 B-complex vitamins: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/maximizing-methylation
 heavy metals: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/get-lethal-toxin-out-of-your-body
 comprehensive approach to health: http://newsletter.ultrawellness.com/eo/signup/1013
 article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/resveratrol----eat-whatev_b_523624.html
 The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/living/
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