Anti-aging strategies focus on treating the whole person, promoting your long-term, total-body health, and not just responding to symptoms and disease as they arise. At Colorado Ageless Institute located in Castle Rock, Colorado, Dr. Claude Fortin offers this holistic approach, to promote optimal health and longevity. To learn about how you can restore health by emphasizing the core of your body’s functions, call the office to request an appointment.
Longevity Q & A
What is the average expected lifespan in America?
The average expected American lifespan in the 1800s was 25 years, in 1900, 45 years, and in 2000 it was 78 years. These improvements were due to technological advancements in the form of antibiotics, surgery, pharmaceuticals, availability of ICUs, ventilators, advanced diagnostics, etc. These technologies have outpaced our biological evolution in that we now live long enough as a species to face a multitude of chronic diseases that we had previously not lived long enough as a species to contend with. It has been clearly demonstrated repeatedly that our modern lifestyle choices are contributing to the reality that aging itself is now our major medical challenge for the foreseeable future.
Can aging be considered a disease?
Though not officially recognized as a disease, aging, and aging-related chronic disease disables 93% of people over 50 and as such is the mother of all diseases. Furthermore, it kills 90% of the population. Slowing down the root cause of chronic diseases namely aging can potentially add decades to the human lifespan. In comparison, curing individual diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease will add 19 days to human life expectancy, curing all cardiovascular disease would add 1.5 years, and curing all cancer would add 2.1 more years on average. The focus in western medicine is on curing individual diseases as opposed to prolonging health spans defined as living without disease. Despite this, US life expectancies have recently dropped for the first time despite spending 17% of GDP on healthcare - due primarily to the development of chronic diseases at ever younger ages.
What is the upper limit of the human lifespan?
Strategies to slow down and potentially reverse aging if successful, can delay or even prevent many chronic diseases that shorten our health spans. Recommendations such as eating fewer calories, reducing consumption of animal-based proteins, exercising regularly, developing and maintaining social networks, deploying stress management techniques, minimizing exposure to environmental toxins (including in our modern food chain), and embracing living outside the thermoneutral zone to stimulate brown fat development are all cost-effective modalities available to most people independent of socio-economic status. These modalities can potentially result in a reduction in age-related disease culminating in an estimated 10-15 years of additional health span. In addition, proactive activation of various longevity genes, can potentially add an estimated additional 8 years. Of note is that there is no known biological law or axiom defining the upper limit of the human lifespan.
What are "Zombie" cells and what if they don't die?
One of the key hallmarks of aging is the accumulation of senescent cells or cells that can no longer divide. Human cells can divide 40-60 times (the Hayflick limit), with each division resulting in a shortening of the telomeres which are coverings at the ends of all chromosomes. Short telomeres lose their histone packaging causing exposed DNA at the ends of the chromosome to be interpreted by the cell as damaged thereby initiating a never-ending unsuccessful cascade of attempted DNA repair and ultimately loss of cellular identity. This is due to a hijacking of our basic survival genetic circuitry designed to stop a cell from dividing when DNA damage is detected. The result is a senescent or “Zombie” cell which refuses to die and instead secretes inflammatory cytokines that can cause cancer, induce tissue inflammation (“inflammAGING”) and the associated chronic diseases, as well as recruiting neighboring cells to become senescent as well. Senolytics are therapeutic agents that essentially terminate senescent cells which cannot be otherwise salvaged.
What can I do about my genetic predisposition to desease?
Another hallmark of aging is cumulative epigenetic damage due to environmental and lifestyle factors. It has been determined that 90% of chronic disease is attributable to non-genetic i.e. environmental influences despite one’s genetic predisposition towards disease. In other words, even if genetics load the gun, lifestyle and environmental factors pull the trigger. Epigenetic damage is constantly being corrected enzymatically, the process of which is NAD cofactor dependent, the supply of which is known to diminish significantly with age. NAD boosters can correct this age-dependent deficiency, and purportedly slow or even potentially reverse aging. Nitric oxide levels also diminish with age, the lowering of which starts a cascade of arterial stiffness, followed by endothelial inflammation, and resulting in atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. At Colorado Ageless Institute, we advise on which pharmaceutical grade products to supplement to reverse this age advancing deficiencies.
How can I activate my longevity pathways?
Longevity pathways (mTOR, AMPK, and Sirtuins) work by activating our genetic survival mechanisms. They can be activated by low calorie (20% reduction) and low amino-acid diets, as well as exercise resulting in healthier, disease-resistant, longer-lived individuals in all species tested. In humans, animal-based diets are associated with higher cardiovascular mortality and cancer risks, especially with processed meats. For example, animal protein and high-fat diets induce gut bacteria to produce a metabolic byproduct which is absorbed in the gut and then converted in the liver to Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) which has correlated with heart disease. Plant-based diets are consistently correlated with lower all-cause mortality rates. Optimization of our gut microbiota diversity promotes health and reduction of disease risks. Moderate exercise and particularly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) activates longevity pathways (via Sirtuins), lengthens telomeres, increases mitochondria density and vitality, and improves microcirculation in tissues. Thermal hormesis also activates longevity genes and increases mitochondria-rich brown fat resulting in an increase in NAD production, metabolic rate, and reduced mortality risk.
What diagnostic and therapeutic modalities do you offer at Colorado Ageless Institute?
Longevity strategies available at Colorado Ageless Institute and under study today also include the utilization of AMPK activators, mTOR inhibitors, and sirtuin activators which include but are not limited to metformin, NAD+ boosters, rapalogs, resveratrol, various peptides, nitric oxide promotors, and senolytics. These result in an increase in cellular autophagy in which cells recycle damaged and misfolded proteins.
Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach to preventing, treating and even reversing diseases by replacing unhealthy behaviors with positive ones — such as eating healthfully, being physically active, managing stress, avoiding risky substance abuse, getting adequate sleep and optimizing chronobiologic mechanisms, intermittent fasting, as well as having a strong social support system. Use of a nutrient-rich, low-calorie density, antioxidant-rich diet is recommended via a nutritional prescription, along with an exercise prescription.
At Colorado Ageless Institute, we utilize a wide variety of scientifically based diagnostic and therapeutic modalities including longevity strategies and lifestyle medicine principles, in a personalized medicine approach to promote lengthening of health spans by reducing disease potential and thereby addressing the complications of aging by addressing aging itself. We have a particular interest in brain health as a core component of our approach and include specialized brain diagnostic tools as well as a brain health maintenance program. It is increasingly well recognized that cerebral blood flow is critical to maintaining brain health and we therefore include vascular diagnostics in our workup.
Claude Fortin MD, FAARFM, ABAARM
Anti-Aging & Restorative Medicine
Castle Rock, CO