Dr. Helen Hu, OMD, L.Ac, a San Diego Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine practitioner says, “Aging is a natural and so far irreversible process for all living organisms.” The Chinese say: “If there is a sun rise, there must be a sun set.” Meaning, this is the LAW of nature.
The search for an elixir, potion or pill to promote longevity, health and a youthful appearance is part of history and has been a part of most cultures throughout time. Unfortunately, although people are living longer and the marketing of beauty and health products is at an all time high, the natural law of aging still prevails. We get old!
Commercial scientists, pharmaceutical deceptions and marketing are a repeat in history. The claims to find some “magic” supplement, pill, surgery or gene altering process that will extend life. It is unrealistic to believe there is one solution, one magic elixir for anti-aging.
Every living organism on earth has a genetic life span. The maximum human life span is currently said to be 125 -130 years. Most of us will not reach this due to the many other contributing factors throughout normal life.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches that a more realistic approach is; an anti-aging process should focus on the detection, prevention and treatment of aging related diseases. This in turn will not only promote a sense of well being but will naturally retard the human aging process.
The most widely used anti-aging agent now in the US and Europe is growth hormones. Claims for growth hormones (GH) as an anti-aging treatment date back to 1990 when the New England Journal of Medicine published a case study. GH was used to treat 12 men over the age of 60. At the conclusion; the higher percentage of men showed statistically significant increases in lean body mass and bone mineral.
The authors of the study also noted that these changes would occur naturally over a 10 to 20 year aging period. Despite the fact the authors at no time claimed that GH had reversed the aging process, the results were misinterpreted. Indicating GH was an effective anti-aging agent.
A Stanford University School of Medicine survey of clinical studies on the subject published in early 2007 showed that researchers didn’t discover any gain in muscle strength. This led them to believe that GH merely let the body store more water in the muscles rather than an actual increase in muscle growth. This would explain the increase in lean body mass. Regular application of GH did show several negative side effects such as joint swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an increased risk of diabetes. One survey indicated that long term use of growth hormones increase incidence of colon cancer.
TCM believes aging is a simultaneous body process. Unfortunately, few look beyond the physical outward appearance. The color of our hair, face and neck wrinkles, a decline in sexual drive and endurance. Internally we age as well, the immune system and older internal dysfunctional cells and genes.
After our middle age years, the immune surveillance system has a declined in the T cell function. The body naturally produces fewer hormones or stops altogether to balance the declined in the immune system.
Hormone replacement therapy after the body has aged, does stimulating aged tissue but ignores the natural declined in the immune system. Instead of promoting longevity the result can be an increase of cancer growth.
What can we do to naturally promote well being and longevity?
In reality, there are no simple answers but there are simple factors which can help including a positive, active and healthy balanced life style.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Wisdom:
1. Obesity can have a severe negative impact on aging. Watch your weight! 64% of the American population is overweight or obese.
2. Smoking will reduce the average life span by 10 years. 30% of people who died during age of 40-50 are due to smoking and smoking related disease.
3. Drinking alcohol; Moderation is the key word. Obsessive drinking combined with smoking increase esophagus cancer by 40%. Increases the chance for oral, throat and liver cancer, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
4. Control fat intake; the calories from fat should not to exceed 25-30% of total intake.
5. An increase of vegetables and fruits into your diet. It is recommended about 400g per day of veggies and fruits. Dr. Helen Hu, OMD, L.Ac, a San Diego Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine reminds us, “Slightly cooked or steamed food will preserve more of this energy and is easier on the stomach.”
6. An increase of fiber into your diet. Fiber aids digestion and protect against disease and cancers in the stomach and colon.
7. Increase foods rich in Calcium; fish, greens and non-fat milk products.
8. Increase whole grains; whole grains can ease bacterial infections, prevent heart disease and reduce cancer.
9. Less salt & more vinegar.
10. Less coffee & more green tea.
11. Less sugar.
12. Moderate cardiovascular exercise 30 min. daily. Walking, bicycling, slow jogging and swimming.
13. Management of mental and physical stress! A good living environment.
14. Choose work that you love to do or a hobby you enjoy.
15. Find a happy life companion.
16. A healthy sex life!
In the history of Traditional Chinese medicine, “Promotion of Longevity” is called “Yang Sheng” meaning to nourishing life or promoting longevity. It is believed that increasing circulation as well as your immune system are keys to the promotion of longevity.
There are thousands of natural herbal remedies and foods which assist in increasing circulation and the immune system. Food therapy for promoting well being is a process based on TCM theory. How to use different colors of food, taste, temperature of the food, which organ the food will nourish helps formulating the food therapy ingredients. Preparation of foods can also be different based on age.
For more information visit Dr. Helen Hu’s Who Is Page in the San Diego Professional Journal.
You may contact her at her office at:
Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic
Dr. Helen H. Hu, OMD, L.Ac – San Diego
1267 Rosecrans Street, Ste C
San Diego, CA 92106
Or, by telephone (619) 226-6506.