Episode 6: The Science Of Looking Younger | Lifespan With Dr. David Sinclair

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Key Takeaways

  • We’re on the verge of being able to reverse aging in the body internally & externally
  • Looking better doesn’t negate our need for good sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise, but – our aesthetic appearance does affect us socially, emotionally, mentally and is worth pursuing
  • Menopause is the first sign of aging in an organ, before the rest of the body experiences symptoms
  • Monitor and track estrogen, progesterone, and SHBG sex hormone in the 30s and 40s to optimize hormone replacement therapy that may be needed during menopause
  • Protecting the skin is much more than vanity – the skin is the first line of protection again pathogens, viruses, wounds, foot ulcers, etc.
  • Tips for healthy skin: avoid UV light, wear sunscreen, quit smoking, minimize alcohol intake, avoid processed foods
  • As far as skin creams, there is the most evidence in support of Retin-A – but we don’t know about long term effects so don’t use them every single day
  • Hair loss can be slowed with treatments but ultimately is genetically determined
  • Tips to treat hair loss: topical creams (i.e., Rogaine, Minoxidil), Retin-A you can rub topically – apply several times per day; pills (i.e., Propecia) once per day; laser beams (low laser light therapy – hair caps approved by FDA); platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

Introduction

Dr. David Sinclair is a biologist, professor of genetics at Harvard, author, and expert on aging and longevity. His research and biotech companies focus on understanding why we age and how to slow its effects.

In this episode of Lifespan, David Sinclair & Matthew LaPlante discuss why superficial aging occurs, the signs and signals associated, and the latest science behind beautification products and how to improve skin, nails, and hair.

Host: David Sinclair (@davidsinclair)  Co-Host: Matthew LaPlante (@mdlaplante)

Menopause: Definition, Symptoms, Therapies

  • Menopause really affects the first organ in a woman’s body to experience the effects of biological aging
  • Menopause takes place before other organ systems start to show signs of aging and damage
  • The female reproductive system ages earlier than the rest of the body because we’ve evolved to have children sooner in life as a protective measure
  • Menopause symptoms: mood swings, vaginal dryness, loss of sex drive, migraines, hot flashes, increased susceptibility to heart disease
  • We’re continuing to find better ways to maintain hormone levels and protect against signs of aging that take place during menopause
  • Menopausal hormone therapy: estrogen (and other hormone) replacement to alleviate symptoms of menopause
  • It’s worth monitoring and tracking estrogen and progesterone in the 30s and 40s during the luteal phase of the cycle to have a baseline idea of what natural levels are in the event that hormone replacement is needed in the future
  • If you have a history of heart disease in your family, make sure your doctor knows before pursuing any hormone therapy as there are contraindications
  • It’s also worth tracking sex hormone SHBG which may impact the efficacy of hormone therapy as well as insulin levels in pre-and post-menopause

Skin

  • The largest organ in the human body is the skin
  • Skin is the barrier to the world and the first line of protection we have
  • Skin pinch test: (1) relax your hand on a table; (2) pinch up skin on the top of the hand; (3) observe bounce back time
    • Targets: in your 30s and 40s the skin should pop right down; in 50s it should take less than 10 seconds; in 60s it should take 10-15 seconds; over 70 it’ll take 30-60+ seconds
  • Epidermal (skin) thinning is a problem as we age in both men and women
  • Protecting your skin isn’t just about looking good, it’s about life and death – protection against pathogens, wounds, foot ulcers, infection, etc.
  • There is some truth to the idea that you are as old as you look – centenarians not only age well biologically but there is a correlation in appearance as well
  • There is evidence that an epigenetic clock based on methylation of skin cells predicts biological age well
  • There is an environmental component to skin aging from the sun – but you do need sunlight for health, be smart about exposure and wear protective clothing and sunscreen
  • Sunlight hits DNA molecules and fuses some cells, causing mutation
  • Skin is full of senescent cells and secretes inflammatory factors
  • “If you can lower the age of the skin, you can save the rest of the body.” – Matthew LaPlante
  • Tips for healthy skin: avoid UV light, wear sunscreen, quit smoking, minimize alcohol intake, avoid processed foods
  • If you haven’t historically been good about sunscreen use, use creams with peptides to restore some health – check out One Skin
  • There is debate about whether collagen use is actually effective – but it’s safe enough to experiment
  • Other useful creams & serums:
    • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and good for the body’s overall health
    • Retin-A is one of the most important ingredients in protecting fine lines and wrinkles – it is used as a defense against acne, increases downstream collagen production promotes keratin & autophagy, and much more
  • Important caveat – we don’t know about the long term effects of Retin-A use, don’t use it every day
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA): HA supports plumpness of skin and is related to aging with possible protective factors against cancer
  • There are an increasing number of creams with resveratrol in them which likely turns on sirtuin defense of skin
  • The future of skincare products will likely center around boosting NAD

Botox, Skin Peels, Microneedling

  • Botox (bacterium Clostridium botulinum) is a toxin found in food
  • Botox is a purely cosmetic treatment, highly effective at getting rid of wrinkles by inhibiting neurotransmission so muscles will relax and wrinkles will clear
  • Skin peels make your skin look nicer but won’t really change the age of the skin
  • Microneedling may cause enough damage to the skin to induce hormesis and positive stress effects on the skin

Nails, Hair & Hair Loss

  • Rate of nail growth is a strong indicator of aging
  • The rate of nail growth decreases about 0.5% per year
  • There’s a strong genetic component to hair loss and baldness
  • Hair loss can be slowed with treatments but ultimately is genetically determined
  • Hair loss isn’t necessarily a sign of aging – appearing gray and distinguished had an advantage in history because you looked wiser
  • Hair loss occurs when important stem cells get kicked out of the follicle
  • Treatments for hair loss: topical creams (i.e., Rogaine, Minoxidil), Retin-A you can rub topically – apply several times per day; pills (i.e., Propecia) once per day; laser beams (low laser light therapy – hair caps approved by FDA); platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • As we age, hair stops growing on the head and starts growing in less desirable places like ears & nose – but we don’t really know why
  • Gray hair is associated with stress but it doesn’t have to be permanent! You can reverse grayness in the earliest phases and recover function by resetting epigenetics with a cocktail of minoxidil, cyclosporin-A, and pigment promoting dug (analog of rapamycin) 
Lifespan With Dr. David Sinclair : , , , , ,
Notes By Maryann

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