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Study Suggests Maintaining Klotho Protein Levels Protects Against ALS-Related Nerve Degeneration

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gherig’s Disease after the famous baseball player who was forced to retire after experiencing the disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. The medical term for ALS accurately describes the effects the disease has on patients. Amyotrophic refers to three root terms: a meaning “no,” myo meaning “muscle,” and trophic meaning nourishment, all of which combine to indicate that the condition leads to no nourishment of muscle tissue and atrophy, or wasting away, of the affected tissue. Lateral indicates the upper and lower areas of the spinal cord that lead to muscle atrophy, and sclerosis refers to the hardening and scarring of the affected regions.

In ALS, motor neurons that provide an essential connection between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body degenerate or deteriorate rapidly. When the motor neurons eventually die, the brain can no longer cause or control muscle movement, leading to their eventual atrophy. Soon after, individuals can experience partial or total paralysis of voluntary muscles, leading to an inability to control muscle movement, speak, eat, and even breathe. The average life expectancy after receiving an ALS diagnosis is between three and five years.

Lack of Available Treatments

Currently, there is no cure for ALS. While familial, or inherited, ALS accounts for some cases of the disease, nearly 95% of cases occur sporadically, without any known genetic precursor. 

In an effort to find a potential preventive treatment for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, researchers at Boston University’s School of Medicine have turned to study biological models that simulate neurodegenerative conditions. As a result, scientists have identified a certain protein that appears to serve a unique, beneficial purpose in protecting the brain from the mechanisms of ALS.

Klotho Protein

In Boston University’s School of Medicine laboratory model, researchers identified an anti-aging protein called klotho protein that showed neuroprotective effects. In fact, increasing klotho protein levels reduced neurological deficits in experimental models of both Alzheimer’s Disease and multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers then posited that klotho protein increases may aid in protecting the brain against other neurodegenerative diseases, as well.

In a subsequent study on a laboratory model, klotho protein provided similar neuroprotective effects against ALS. Klotho protein was shown to reduce ALS-associated neurological deficits, thus providing a potential decrease in the manifestation of symptoms. In conjunction with the presence of anti-inflammatory brain cells called microglia, klotho protein shows potential to protect the brain against inflammation, degeneration, and motor neuron loss.

Future Implications

Klotho protein therapy, along with other activities that increase klotho levels, have been shown to potentially prolong the life of an ALS patient by as much as 300 days. Further, increasing klotho levels appears to improve quality of life by reducing ALS symptoms in patients who have already discovered the disease.

While the klotho protein has long shown benefits for other neurodegenerative diseases, this new information provides hope and potential therapeutic applications for the thousands of patients currently suffering from ALS.

Resources:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/buso-pop062719.php
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12031-019-01356-2

https://www.als.org/understanding-als/what-is-als 

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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Health

AgeRejuvenation: Your Partner in the Pursuit of Ageless Living

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In the age-old quest for longevity and vitality, physicians are now beginning to attack the signs of aging from multiple fronts. “At AgeRejuvenation Functional Medical Clinic, we offer cutting-edge treatments and strategies to promote cellular repair and mitigate DNA damage,” says Brett Markowitz, the clinic’s CEO and founder. “We also offer guidance on the lifestyle changes that will enable you to maintain your health, function, and appearance.”

Understanding the two types of aging

Two classifications distinguish aging and its impact on the human body. The first, primary aging, refers to the natural and inevitable changes that occur over time, regardless of external factors or lifestyle choices. 

Secondary aging, on the other hand, refers to the aging processes that occur due to lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Unlike primary aging, secondary aging is not inevitable, can vary significantly among individuals, and is influenced by factors such as diet, exercise, exposure to toxins, stress, and the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis.

“Our personalized plans for each patient combat both primary and secondary aging,” notes Markowitz. “This requires an integrative and proactive approach. By combining regular physical activity, a balanced diet, good sleep hygiene, stress management, and social involvement with healthcare’s preventative measures, you can now influence the pace of your own aging process. Primary aging factors are less within our control, but the synergy of these strategies buffers their impact. And secondary aging can be significantly slowed with lifestyle and environmental changes.” 

AgeRejuvenation Functional Medical Clinic recommends certain practices to slow the effects of primary aging, such as regular exercise to maintain muscle mass, reduce the risk of age-related diseases, and improve cognitive functions.

“A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that protect against cellular damage and combat oxidative stress,” Markowitz says. “Additionally, consistent, quality sleep supports cellular repair processes, regulates metabolism, and reduces inflammation to mitigate the effects of aging.”

As Markowitz explains, relaxation practices can help combat chronic stress, which can accelerate cellular aging by shortening the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Using sunscreen and protective clothing also reduces the aging effects brought on by UV radiation.

Unlike primary aging, the rate of secondary aging is influenced significantly by lifestyle choices. For example, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can significantly reduce the risk of developing diseases that speed up the aging process.

“Certain nutritional supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, resveratrol, and Coenzyme Q10, have been proposed to support cellular health,” says Markowitz. “Mental exercises like reading, puzzles, and games challenge the mind, which can help preserve cognitive function and may even delay the onset of conditions like dementia.”

Markowitz goes on to explain that a robust social network with family, friends, and community reduces stress and decreases the risk of conditions that promote secondary aging. Furthermore, air purifiers, water filters, and choosing to live in less polluted areas can minimize exposure to pollution and environmental toxins that contribute to non-genetic aging.

“Advances in genetic testing can offer deeper insights into one’s susceptibility to age-related diseases,” Markowitz notes. “The results of these tests allow clinics like ours to tailor health strategies to prevent or delay their onset.”

Hormone optimization holds the key to vitality

The broad field of anti-aging treatments incorporates everything from topical skincare products to sophisticated genetic interventions. In this rapidly evolving field, hormone optimization has become a cornerstone of personalized anti-aging strategies since hormones act as the body’s chemical messengers and regulate virtually every major system, from metabolism to mood.

“As people age, these hormones can become unbalanced, leading to a myriad of health issues,” says Markowitz. “Hormone optimization seeks to restore hormonal balance, improve overall well-being, and slow the aging process.”

Unlike synthetic hormones used in traditional hormone replacement therapies, bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to those produced by the human body, offering a more natural solution to restoring hormonal balance. This can be particularly transformative for battling menopause and andropause symptoms.

“As people age, many recognize the need for thyroid function optimization,” Markowitz says. “Our thyroid gland influences metabolism, energy levels, and body weight, so it’s no wonder that we contribute to a sense of vitality and well-being when we optimize its function.”

Markowitz also finds that many people find renewed vigor through testosterone and estrogen balancing. “For men and women alike, maintaining the right balance of testosterone and estrogen is crucial for health because these hormones impact everything from bone density to libido,” he says.

The synergy between anti-aging treatments, hormone optimization, and a healthy lifestyle

The intersection of targeted anti-aging treatments, hormone optimization, and lifestyle adjustments represents a synergistic approach to aging gracefully. Hormone optimization and a healthy lifestyle enhance the effectiveness of anti-aging treatments by ensuring the body is in its best possible state for repair and regeneration. For instance, balanced hormones can improve skin elasticity, making cosmetic treatments more effective. 

Combining these strategies allows for a holistic approach to aging and an increasing degree of personalization. Clinics like AgeRejuvenation tailor treatments to each individual’s unique hormonal profile and aging concerns, resulting in targeted and effective interventions.

“The pursuit of ageless living is a multifaceted journey that intertwines cutting-edge scientific discoveries with tried-and-true lifestyle practices,” Markowitz concludes. “The path to longevity and vitality is as much about embracing a holistic lifestyle as it is embracing the newest anti-aging treatments. These advancements can add years to your life, but more importantly, they can add life to your years, enabling you to age gracefully and with dignity.”

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