Friday, April 18, 2014

If Not Botox, What?

If not Botox, what?

Is there any magical substance that will stop or even reverse the aging process where it really matters… on your face.

No one wants to lose face, but since, as I posted yesterday, Botox leaves people without a face, it is clearly not a solution.

Now, a Canadian laboratory has discovered that the key to reverse the skin’s natural tendency to age lies in… exercise. At least, it does so if you are a mouse.

But recently, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario began to wonder if such alterations were inevitable. Earlier studies at McMaster involving mice that were bred to age prematurely had shown that a steady regimen of exercise could stave off or even undo the signs of early aging in these animals. When members of this breed of mice remained sedentary, they rapidly grew wizened, frail, ill, demented, and graying or bald. But if they were given access to running wheels, they maintained healthy brains, hearts, muscles, reproductive organs, and fur far longer than their sedentary labmates. Their fur never even turned gray.

Of course, we humans long ago swapped our fur for naked skin. But if exercise could keep animals’ outer layer from changing with age, it might, the researchers speculated, do the same for our skin.

But, does the same apply to humans? First results suggested that it did, but the researchers needed to factor in lifestyle and diet. So they ran an experiment. The results were surprising:

So the researchers next set a group of sedentary volunteers to exercising, after first obtaining skin samples from their buttocks. The volunteers were aged at 65 or older and, at the study’s start, had normal skin for their age. They began a fairly straightforward endurance training program, working out twice a week by jogging or cycling at a moderately strenuous pace, equivalent to at least 65 percent of their maximum aerobic capacity for 30 minutes. This continued for three months. At the end of that time, the researchers again biopsied the volunteers’ skin.

But now the samples looked quite different, with outer and inner layers that looked very similar to those of 20- to 40-year-olds. “I don’t want to over-hype the results, but, really, it was pretty remarkable to see,” said Dr. Tarnopolsky, himself a middle-aged exerciser. Under a microscope, the volunteers’ skin “looked like that of a much younger person, and all that they had done differently was exercise.”

As it happens, exercise does not erase wrinkles or other signs of good character and wisdom. Still, it clearly improves the quality of what the Times calls, “the skin beneath our shorts:”

Nor is there evidence that exercise reverses wrinkling and other damage from the sun, some of which many of us accumulate during outdoor exercise. Still, Dr. Tarnopolsky said, “it is astonishing to consider all of the intricate ways in which exercise changes our bodies” —including the skin beneath our shorts.

If none of that works, there’s still the tried and true formula for saving face: stay out of the sun and never smile!

No comments: