Longevity, Anti-Aging & Hyperbaric Oxygen
Hyperbaric Therapy may have significant anti-aging effects.
At the cellular level, there are two key hallmarks of the aging process: shortening of telomere length and cellular senescence.
Telomeres are located at the end of the chromosomes which maintain genomic stability. Telomere length (TL), gradually shortens per year. When TL reaches a critical length, cells cannot replicate and progress to senescence (arrest of the cell cycle) or programmed cell death (apoptosis). Accumulation of senescent cells contributes to aging.
Lifestyle interventions including endurance training, diets and supplements have reported small effects 2-5% effects on TL. Telomeres are highly sensitive to oxidative DNA damage, which can induce telomere shortening and dysfunction which implicates the use of anti-oxidants for preventing telomere damage.
Telomere elongation followed by telomere length reduction, in leukocytes from divers exposed to intense oxidative stress—implications for tissue and organismal aging.
Part of the mechanism involved in TL is the "Hyperoxic hypoxic paradox": intermittent hyperoxic exposures induce an adaptive response which includes increased upregulation of antioxidants genes and antioxidants/scavengers that adjust to the increased ROS generation. However, because the scavenger elimination half-life (T1/2) is significantly longer than the T1/2 of ROS, upon return to normoxia, with repeated hyperoxic exposures, there are significantly higher levels of scavengers and increased antioxidant activity.
Cognitive aging is part of the normal aging process. Processing speed, conceptual reasoning, memory and problem-solving activities are the main domains which decline gradually over time. Decreases in cerebral blood flow is strongly associated with reductions in cognition with age.
Hyperbaric Effects in Longevity
Numerous mechanisms are related to the effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen in longevity:
Preliminary data regarding Hyperbaric Oxygen and Telomere length was reported in 2011 by Shlush. Telomere length parameters over 12-months, in divers exposed to hyperbaric oxygen were compared to age-matched controls and significant telomere elongation was observed in granulocytes and naïve T cells.
More recently, a study by Hachmo 2020 looked at Telomere Length (TL) and senescence in immune cells. Out of 35 initial subjects over the age of 64 (average age of about 68), 20 of which underwent senescent cell analysis and 26 underwent telomere length analysis. Protocol included 60, 90 minute sessions of 100% oxygen at 2 ATA including three five minute air breaks to minimize the risk of oxygen toxicity and to utilize the hyperoxic hypoxic paradox.
Telomere length of T helper, T cytotoxic, natural killer and B cells increased significantly by over 20% following HBOT. The most significant change was noticed in B cells which maximally increased by 37.63%.
Senescent T helpers decreased by up to 37% and T-cytotoxic senescent cell percentages decreased significantly by about 11% post-HBOT.
TL and senescent cell reduction peaked at the 30th session which possibly suggests that we can achieve results without going to 60 sessions which is fairly treatment intensive.
Hadanny 2020 looked at using Hyperbaric treatment for Cognitive Enhancement in older adults.
63 healthy adults were randomised to either to HBOT(n=33) or control arms(n=30) for three months. HBOT arm patients were slightly older (70.7 compared to 68.8 years of age).
Primary endpoints included the general cognitive function measured post intervention. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was evaluated by perfusion MRI.
Significant improvement in global cognitive function was seen post-HBOT and the most striking improvements were seen in attention and information processing speed, with enhancements in executive functions seen as well. Both overall memory score, the immediate and the delayed nonverbal memory scores were also improved post-HBOT as well as verbal memory and fluency albeit these improvements were not statistically significant.
Significant cerebral blood flow increases were seen in the HBOT group compared to the control group in numerous brain areas (but an insignificant increase in whole brain CBF and whole grey matter CBF). Correlations were seen between cognitive score changes and these regional perfusion changes.
There was a significant increase in the HBOT group’s energy levels.
This study speaks to the idea that not only can HBO be potentially used to preserve cognitive function, but to enhance it in the absence of other interventions.
Hyperbaric Oxygen and Longevity
Naturopathic Medicine & Longevity
Fasting is one well known approach with regards to life prolongation: Restricting food intake to 40% of usual energy intake increased the mean life span of rats by 33% possibly through increased levels of NAD+.
Dr. Dale Bredesen has published some excellent literature on Functional and Naturopathic medicine approaches to cognitive enhancement termed "ReCODE" – reversal of cognitive decline – a protocol that has reversed symptoms in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Easy assessments such as a1c, crp, fasting blood glucose and insulin and homocysteine and serum zinc are basics of the protocol which are simple labs we run at our Naturopath clinic in Edmonton.
Looking at chronic infections, intermittant fasting, ketosis and heavy metal load are also easy part of Dr. Bredesen's approach that our Naturopaths frequently run at our Edmonton office.
Dietary supplementation with a mix of S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) and a polysaccharide extract of Astragalus has been shown to increase telomere length of circulating lymphocytes of healthy older adult volunteers.
Sirtuins interact with all the major conserved longevity pathways, for example AMPK and insulin–IGF1 signalling, protein kinase A (PKA), mTOR, fork head box O (FOXO) and IGF1.
SIRT1 utilizes NAD+ as a co-substrate to promote the deacetylation of specific protein substrates. Resveratrol appears to be a SIRTUIN activating factor. Many studies have shown that resveratrol can extend maximal lifespan in yeast, worms, flies, fish and even honeybees. Metformin, which activates AMPK also increases NAD+ levels.
Our Naturopathic doctors are well experienced with the administration of IV NAD+ and oral resveratrol and can mirror the effects of metformin with Berberine. Furthermore, in the context of longevity, we consider the use of oral and IV Glutathione as a means of reducing oxidative stress.
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