Anti-ageing Medicine is a medical movement that emerged in the United States in the 1990s – its goal was to change the way ageing was approached. In 1992, Dr Ronald M. Goldman and Dr Ronald Klatz, along with a group of physicians, founded the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, which unleashed a revolution within medicine. Until then, ageing was seen as something where nothing could be done, that doctors should be resigned to, simply treating the diseases that come with it (with Geriatrics being the recognized specialism to treat the elderly).

Anti-Ageing Medicine advocates a change in how ageing should be addressed: as an ailment that can be treated with new medical interventions. The first change is in the attitude, moving from a passive to an active position. From this perspective it is recognized that several changes of habits and the intake of substances could cause a change in the form of ageing. It has been discovered that healthy ageing is not the result of winning the genetic lottery, but of adopting a new preventive and interventionist attitude.

“Anti-Ageing Medicine debunks the myth that it is necessary to wait for the diseases and the discomforts of age to arrive and having to conform to them, showing that it is actually possible to interfere in the processes before this happens, by adopting habits that prolong life and enhance the quality of life”.

Anti-ageing means ageing with health and well-being, maintaining the feeling of well-being and youthfulness together with the wisdom of life; it means preventing everything that can lead to illness. Longevity is not meant to be a burden. Joviality and energy can be preserved and maintained with medical help.

The first approach is disease prevention, or disease tendency prevention. Anti-Ageing Medicine is about not getting sick, as it is first and foremost a preventive medicine. The focus is on preventing and diagnosing functional and metabolic changes before these manifest as diseases that can cause high financial and human cost for treatment. Today, the predisposing factors of chronic diseases have been defined, and these can be modified; hence, the emergence of pathologies can be avoided or postponed.

Anti-Ageing Medicine studies the many factors that are responsible for the ageing process and takes the necessary measures to modify their action. Thus, the five pillars of anti-ageing were established, from which healthy ageing can take place.

Five Pillars of Anti-Aging

1. Diet and Nutrition

Scientists have discovered that what we eat influences how long we live. A diet rich in calories, animal protein and saturated fats will not only cause cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, but accelerate the ageing process of the body as a whole. The process of digestion overwhelms and wears out the organism. Metabolism increases oxidative stress and causes cellular ageing. A low-calorie diet, on the other hand – eating little and in a balanced and healthy way – has been associated to having a longer life. The secret is a low calorie diet, high intake of fruits, vegetables, fibre, and foods with nutritional density.

2. Stress Management

Chronic stress is a negative by-product of our modern way of life and can affect how quickly age translates into sickness. The chemistry of stress is similar to the chemistry of ageing: elevation of cortisol and catecholamine and the reduction of anabolic hormones. Incorporating regular periods of personal relaxation into your weekly routine will help you fight stress. The quest for healthy enjoyment, pausing to enjoy the small pleasures of life, will act as an invigorating balm, one that is reflected in quality of life, and prolongs it.

3. Physical Activity

Physical inactivity and daily hypo-activity are the basis of many diseases of ageing. Many studies have proven the overall health benefits of performing regular physical activity. Exercise prevents a number of diseases, such as cancer. Aerobic and strength training allows men and women at any age to increase muscle strength, stamina, balance, and bone density. In order to achieve these results, include at least one physical activity in your daily routine. It can be in the form of a simple walk, a dance or martial art class.

“It was discovered that healthy ageing is not the result of winning the genetic lottery, but of adopting a new preventive and interventionist attitude.”

4. Food Supplementation

Today, it is increasingly difficult to ensure that our bodies are provided with the right balance of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Even in a balanced diet nutrients may be lacking due to production methods or the origin of the food. In the pursuit of healthy ageing, it is essential, therefore, to supplement our diet with nutritional supplements. Daily supplementation is important not only to provide nutritional building blocks required by organs for optimal nutrition, but also to protect against free-radical attacks caused by poor eating habits, lifestyle, and environmental pollution.

5. Hormone Replacement Therapy

What were once considered age-related diseases, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and atherosclerosis, have been found to be diseases mainly due to hormone deficiency. After the age of 35, a process of reduction of hormone production begins, progressively decreasing the production of sex hormones and anabolic hormones. As catabolism continues, the lack of anabolic hormones creates the conditions where no further recovery and repair of the body can occur. Replenishing hormonal deficiencies will give the body the ability to maintain its regenerative power.

A balanced approach to stress management, a balanced and healthy nutrition, and the supplementation of minerals, vitamins and hormones through careful evaluation and restoration to normal levels will result in an effective anti-ageing and regeneration process.

Anti-Ageing Medicine aims to improve and maintain well-being as a means of prolonging the duration and improving the quality of our lives. Its principles can be integrated into any medical specialism and benefit as many people as possible – as we grow older we can also grow healthier.

“Anti-ageing means ageing with health and well-being, maintaining youthfulness with the wisdom of life; it means preventing everything that can lead to illness.”