YES, YOU CAN DELAY THE AGING PROCESS
The main speaker at the Barbara Sachsel Tribute Luncheon on June 11 was Alan R. Gaby, MD, from Pikesville, Maryland, a specialist in nutrition and preventive medicine. Author of several books including B6: The Natural Healer, Dr. Gaby cautioned his hearers at the outset that delaying the aging process is only a "maybe" and that some of what he was to say was not new.
For example, he said that it is advisable to eat breakfast; to eat small, frequent meals; to chew food well (for better absorption); and to get enough sunlight but not too much – ten minutes a day without glasses in order to get enough ultraviolet light, which goes directly through the retina to the pineal gland and then to the hypothalmus and the pituitary and adrenal glands.
On specific foods, he said that cholesterol is not as much of a problem as refined sugars and the wrong fats. Sugar causes sticky platelets, possibly related to migraines, and stresses the body, calling up cortisone, a substance the body should keep in reserve. Sugar promotes osteoporosis, kidney stones, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and organ damage as seen in diabetes. The first heart attack reported by the American Medical Association was in 1908; the second case reported was eight years later. Something happened between 1920 and 1930 that turned heart attacks into the third leading cause of death in America. We don’t know for sure what caused that – maybe industrialization, maybe chlorination of our water. (Chlorine is a potent oxidant.) Also, in 1920 to 1930 we started using corn oil and margarine. A carefully controlled British study in 1965 found twice as many deaths from heart attacks in a group taking corn oil than in a group being given bacon and eggs, even though the former group was found to have lowered cholesterol. The American Heart Association, he believes, is mistaken; margarine is worse than butter. Corn oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids. We are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids [see NOHA NEWS, Fall 1987]. Margarine contains trans fatty acids, which are not good for the heart and arteries [see NOHA NEWS, Fall 1988]; also, corn oil is unstable and forms "free radicals," which act as oxidants, "bleaching" cells.
Our modern environmental pollutants stress the body far more than he was able to go into in his talk, he said. However, he cited two studies: one in the Journal of Epidemiology noting that the incidence of heart attacks dropped off after lead was removed from some gasolines; and one showing that increased intake of vitamin C, zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium can help detoxify cadmium and lead.
The alleged beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system of small amounts of alcohol a day is in doubt. Wine and beer do contain some essential nutrients including chromium. Further study has shown that some people who are not drinking alcohol now used to drink a lot and "nearly killed themselves." If you eliminate them, no protective effect is seen. He sees nothing wrong with small amounts of alcohol a day, provided that vitamins and minerals are taken to replace the ones that alcohol depletes – which are all the vitamins and minerals.
Specifically on aging, Dr. Gaby cited numerous published studies as well as his own clinical observations, but cautioned that one should always tell one’s doctor what one is doing with any "avant-garde" therapies, in case there should be some physiological reason why one shouldn’t be doing them. William Kaufman, MD, author of Common Forms of Joint Dysfunction (1949), gave osteoarthritis patients vitamin B3 (niacinamide) with good results. Patients reported "feeling good," "feeling younger," and having less pain on 500 mg per day up to 500 mg five or six times per day. The most effective dose was 1000 mg per day, but that should only be done under a doctor’s supervision. People with known liver damage should not take any without monitoring.
Another little-known treatment is the leaves of the ginkgo tree, the oldest known tree on earth. The long-lived leaves contain alkaloids and flavonoids that have anti-aging properties. This completely safe treatment especially helps those over 75 with arteriosclerosis or senile dementia. One should be sure to get a standardized product (ginkgo heterocides), marketed by several reputable suppliers. Reports at a symposium two years ago in France said that it improves metabolism and blood flow to the brain and the limbs and that it is useful in rehabilitating people who have had bad strokes.
As older people often do not absorb nutrients well, particularly from the bloodstream into the tissues, it is sometimes helpful to give vitamins and minerals by injection. Magnesium is especially important for the heart; magnesium injections could be very effective in the emergency room after a heart attack. A well-conducted study reported in The Lancet (February 1, 1986) found a 70 percent reduction in cardiac mortality following magnesium treatment as opposed to only a 50 percent reduction following treatment with commonly used – and extremely expensive – drugs. Magnesium is also needed by the brain; he had an elderly patient whose hallucinations were greatly reduced by magnesium injections.
For osteoporosis, he thinks, calcium alone is not enough; magnesium is also needed is a ratio of two calcium to one magnesium. Also, vitamin K may be a significant factor with osteoporosis; it is needed in the bones for the production of osteocalin, which promotes bone growth and healing. Less than 5 mg per day of vitamin K appears to keep calcium in the body.
Boron, a trace mineral, helps to keep estrogen levels up and also may help the body retain calcium. Other nutrients important to bone health are manganese, silicon, strontium, folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc, and copper.
DHEA, an adrenal gland hormone, helps animals live longer. Heart and cancer patients have been found to have low DHEA. Certain nutrients such as vitamin C, pantothenic acid and other B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and licorice root, help build up the adrenal glands – but one should not take more than one cup of licorice tea a day without doctor’s supervision.
Germanium treatments appear to have helped some people, but one should be sure to take germanium sesquioxide rather than germanium dioxide, which has caused kidney failures and death.
When asked about the efficacy of vitamin and mineral supplements by a hearer whose doctor said they aren’t necessary, Dr. Gaby quoted nutritionist Carlton Fredericks, who had been asked this same question by a doctor, and replied: "Are you prepared to risk true health plus being ostracized by your debilitated peers?"Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIV, No. 4, Fall 1989, pages 2-3.