How We Age

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What happens as we age, and what action can we take to slow down the aging process?

The anti -aging medical model seeks to find solutions to eliminate or at least to alleviate the disorders that lead to chronic dependence and or disability. There are thought to be 10 factors that cause us to age, you will see the list on the screen, but first a few comments: “As we age, changes take place in our body systems. Cellular processes slow down and our organs and tissues become less robust in performing their tasks and functions” we call this reality senescence or signs of old age. In this podcast we will talk about these ten factors in terms of what they are and how they work and what will happen to us if we chose not to do anything about them other than sit back and watch our own decline. We believe that this choice will cause us to decline and die long before we would otherwise have to.

There are 10 biological factors that cause us to age:

The endocrine system

  1. the immune system
  2. the metabolic system
  3. the cardiovascular system
  4. the G I system
  5. the reproductive system
  6. the nervous system
  7. Brain Function
  8. The Muscular system
  9. The Sensory system

In this podcast we are going to look at the first three systems. We think that in terms of sequence and understanding of the concept of senescence, these are the primary order of concerns.

First the endocrine system:

This system is made up of a number of glands which are known as ductless glands. They create a series of hormones or chemical messengers that influence the function of the organs of our body if you have too many or two few hormones, you will have serious consequences for your overall health.

The endocrine system is made up of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, thyroid, parathyroid and the pituitary glands.

When your endocrine system is in peak condition, you are more likely to look good, feel good, and successfully defend your system against infection and chronic diseases.

Elements called modulators or disruptors can disrupt the endocrine system the high stress life-style of today’s America can cause these modulators to play havoc with your endocrine system.

Dr. Mietes of Michigan State identified three aspects of endocrine control over the body functions of aging:

1.the correlation of the decline of the reproductive functions—sex hormones

  1. correlating to a reduction of growth hormone secretion

These hormones stimulate growth of all the tissues that keep us healthy including the brain, muscles, bone, connective tissue, skin and the thymus.  The thymus produces the cells that keep us healthy and protect us from viruses, bacteria, parasites and normalize the activity of the immune system, preventing autoimmune diseases.


These sex hormones are the most important because they have an anti-aging effect on all of the other factors that cause humans to age.


The second category on the list of factors that age us is the decline in the Immune System, which is reflected in the shrinking of the thymus gland.

Research indicates that the reduced efficiency of the immune system as we age is a major contributor to the pathologies of old age like autoimmune diseases, susceptibility to communicable diseases and cancers.  Many doctors believe that individual risk assessment and preventive measures like replacing the sex hormones that disappear after midlife, slow the decline of the immune functions and this is the best weapon we have today to reduce the negative impacts of aging.

In general research seems to be showing that the decline in immune functions of the body leads to an accumulation of cellular and DNA mutations that may lead us to earlier deaths.

The immune system uses white blood cells to do its work. There are several types of white blood cells, and they each have different functions, and all come from the thymus glands:

  1. Neutrophils- these cells patrol the body all the time and are the first to arrive at any injury or infection site. An elevation of neutrophils in the blood indicates a bacterial infection, but as we age, these neutrophils lose some of their effectiveness, and are not produced in such massive numbers as they once did in youth.
  2. Macrophages are the second type of white blood cells to arrive at an injury or infection. They are stationed at strategic points around the body waiting to react to any invasion of bacteria, virus, or cancer cells. They literally  engulf the invader, destroy it and send out a call for help to other white blood cells.
  3. Finally, lymphocytes, including T and B cells produce and secrete antibodies. These kill the invaders. There are several types of T cells each has its own duty.

Finally, when discussing the immune system, we need to talk about the thymus and how it works. It is a gland that is positioned behind the sternum, or breast-bone. When we are young it is big and healthy and produces a multitude of white blood cells to protect us. As we age, it shrinks and basically stops working. Doctors have identified correlations between the decrease of thymus produced white blood cells and the increased number of infections and diseases that occur as we age. It is generally thought that this loss of thymus causes to lose many of our defenses against disease as we age. Doctors think if we could restore or regenerate the thymus, we could avoid many of the illnesses of aging altogether, including cancer and autoimmune diseases.

One of the ways to stimulate the thymus back into action is by replacing our sex hormones and growth hormone.  These hormones can increase the number and activity of the body’s white blood cells.  In some cases that is not enough, so a peptide called Thymosin Alpha-1 can be replaced to stimulate the re-growth and function of the thymus.  This is commonly needed in people who have had undue stress, cancer in the past or present or who have immune deficiency syndromes.  This Thymosin alpha 1 peptide can be a true anti-aging and anti-disease treatment by stimulating the natural immune function of the body.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.

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