“A SENSIBLE DIETARY PROGRAM . . . Cherniske, author of The DHEA Breakthrough, offers another self-help guide to the fountain of youth.”
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The choice is yours: You can add forty or more vigorous, fulfilling years to your life. It sounds like science fiction, but in fact it’s cutting-edge science grounded in exciting new research. In The Metabolic Plan, internationally renowned biochemist Stephen Cherniske reveals the medical breakthroughs that enable all of us to extend our/i>/i>
The choice is yours: You can add forty or more vigorous, fulfilling years to your life. It sounds like science fiction, but in fact it’s cutting-edge science grounded in exciting new research. In The Metabolic Plan, internationally renowned biochemist Stephen Cherniske reveals the medical breakthroughs that enable all of us to extend our lives—and the quality of our lives—starting today.
Far from giving out due to inevitable wear and tear, the human body is naturally endowed with astonishing powers of renewal, self-repair, and regeneration. The secret to unlocking these powers lies not in genetic tinkering or a high-tech fix but in “tricking” your body into adopting the metabolism of a twenty-year-old. The Metabolic Plan offers a comprehensive diet and exercise regimen specifically tailored to boost antioxidant levels, combat disease, increase muscle, reduce fat, and enhance memory and vision. Cherniske shares the age-defying properties of such cutting-edge supplements as 7-Keto and debunks myths about acid/alkaline foods. Here too are detailed metabolic plans geared to the different needs of men and women and to every decade of our lives—so we’ll know exactly what to focus on when.
Longer life, more energy, improved health, a pervasive sense of well-being: It’s all within our grasp. At once revolutionary and eminently practical, this is the book that finally solves the puzzle of aging.
“A SENSIBLE DIETARY PROGRAM . . . Cherniske, author of The DHEA Breakthrough, offers another self-help guide to the fountain of youth.”
Although this took place more than thirty-five years ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday. My biology professor was about to give me the key to aging, and I was doodling in my notebook, obsessed with the girl in the blue sweater two rows down.
“Nature,” he said bombastically, “doesn’t care a whit about you and me.” The statement jarred me from my musings. “Nature has one goal, and that is survival of the species.” Now he had my attention, because that meant procreation, which I was contemplating, albeit along different lines.
The argument that he was presenting, which has since been reinforced by decades of research in evolutionary biology, was that aging and death are simply part of the Plan—part of nature’s game. Survival of a species depends on its reproduction. Through natural selection, traits and behaviors that favor reproduction carry through from generation to generation, while adaptations that don’t are selected out. A species that fails to reproduce in adequate numbers to carry on its unique genetic package will become extinct.
Every species has a certain life span and characteristics that maximize its evolutionary success. For humans, this means a fairly slow rate of growth to maturity, with the highest point of energy, vitality, optimism, and sex drive occurring at around age 20.1 Then we begin to age. It’s as if Mother Nature says, “OK, I’ve flooded every tissue in your body with hormones and maxed out your immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. Now procreate!” And of course, the majority of us do. Then, Mother Nature says, “Thanks! I’ll give you a few more decades to care for the progeny you’ve created, and then I’m going to have to get rid of you to make room for a newer, younger model.”
Thus, aging and death. Now, I was hearing this at the age of nineteen, not a time when you think a lot about mortality, but the professor had a remarkable way of driving the lesson home. “You,” he said, “are filled with energy, while I have to drag myself out of bed every morning. You have strong, muscular bodies, and I have”—here he grabbed his belly with both hands—“fat. You have sex—or at least the contemplation of sex—and I have fading memories.” He was fifty-three.
Now, I was on a sports scholarship, so the part about strong, muscular bodies was not lost on me. And I was gripped by the sudden realization that this would not always be the case. If this was nature’s game, I decided right then and there to find a way to win: to enjoy what I treasured most—energy, vitality, and enthusiasm—for as long as humanly possible. I was also incapable of imagining life without sex (hey, I was nineteen), and thus began my quest for longevity. I reasoned that success in any game requires that you learn the rules, so I went on to study anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. I attended graduate school and traveled to six continents to unravel the secrets of aging.
And here I am in my midfifties, past the age of my balding, tired, and overweight biology professor; yet I’ve turned out much differently. My body fat is 9 percent, exactly the same as it was in 1966. My blood pressure is 90/60, better than it was back then. My cholesterol is 150, and my immune profile, neurologic scores, and blood tests are about the same as a man in his midthirties.
How did this happen?
I learned the rules to nature’s game . . .
And then I figured out how to bend a few.
“That could be just good genes,” say the skeptics. But until 1988, I was headed straight for professordom. I was sixteen pounds heavier than I am now, and my body fat was 20 percent and climbing. My cholesterol was 214 and rising; my blood pressure was in the high-normal range. I was tired, and I could read the writing on the wall. Fortunately, an important piece of the aging puzzle was about to be revealed—the piece that would enable me to turn back my biological clock.
Research in endocrinology in the 1980s was showing that metabolism controls aging, life, and death. I was determined to understand this process, not for some abstract academic reason but for a very personal one. A textbook chart illustrating the typical quality-of-life curve for Western man filled me with dismay.
Notice that quality of life rises through childhood as we learn and grow. Then we hit puberty (yahoo), and from there, we enjoy a brief fifteen to twenty years known as the prime of life. There’s a short plateau when things are OK, but then the downward slope starts, and accelerates as we experience degeneration, decrepitude, and finally slam into the brick wall of death at 76.7, give or take a few years. Take a good look at this graph, because if you do nothing to alter your metabolism, this is pretty much the story of your life. Does it look appealing?
If, however, you understand that something else is happening along with the passage of time, and that that something is actually more important, the graph (and your attitude) can change dramatically. As we’ve seen, this something is a metabolic shift from the anabolic, high-energy, rebuild, repair, and restore metabolism of youth to the progressively more catabolic (low-energy, break down, wear down) metabolism of old age. At about age thirty, there is a balance of these two forces, so the idea is to maintain anabolic metabolism at about the thirty-year-old level. My research and clinical experience show that this can be done, producing a quality of life that can look more like the accompanying revised chart.
In this graph, we can see that quality of life rises through childhood as we learn and grow. Then we hit puberty, and from there, we enjoy a prime that may last forty years or more. Importantly, rebuild and repair metabolism is maintained, so that there is no sharp downward curve in quality of life. You blaze through life expectancy, discovering to your happy surprise that the wall is really a curtain, and somewhere down the road, maybe at age 120, you die. The most exciting part for me is the absence of degeneration and decrepitude.
If you are willing to attend to your metabolism, you can enjoy this kind of life. The phrase paradigm shift sounds trite, but there is no other way to describe this breakthrough. It will forever alter the way that you relate to your body and mind. It will give you a deep sense of hope where before there smoldered only the resignation of being over the hill. Here’s the best news you’ve heard all day: there is no hill. Thousands of people have already discovered this, and you can, too.
Old paradigm: Aging is an inexorable process of degeneration. New paradigm: Aging is a dynamic process over which we have considerable control.
Old paradigm: The body wears out like our other possessions. New paradigm: The body has astounding powers of regeneration. We produce billions of new cells every day.
Old paradigm: A life expectancy of 76.7 years. New paradigm: Life potential of 120 years or more.
FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT
Research on aging is exploding, and not just because of the number of scientists working in this arena; it’s the unbelievable acceleration of knowledge that is taking place as a result of technology. I currently utilize analytical equipment that can give me information in forty-five minutes that only a few years ago would have taken a dozen chemists more than a week to produce.
Then there’s genomics—the ability to “read” information encoded in DNA—and of course, the Internet. We do indeed live in exciting times, and I believe we are rapidly approaching the point at which the limiting factor is not science but our ability to cope with the breakthroughs, to manage and integrate the massive amount of information into a coherent and practical plan of action.
MOTIVATION AND MEANING
As antiaging research filters down into the public domain, it takes on a certain flavor. This flavor reflects the attitude of those who write articles in the popular press and those who promote various products and programs. At the moment, the sense I get is that the antiaging movement is being fueled mainly by the fear of death. This needs to change if we are to enjoy new paradigm possibilities. Think about this. Someone who is not fulfilled in his life, who has not found the sense of meaning we all desire, will naturally have an acute fear of death. After all, it represents the buzzer at the end of the game—a game that, as we approach the end, may seem cruel and unfair. But efforts based on fear will produce limited results. Have you ever watched a basketball game in which one team was playing to win while the other team was playing not to lose? It’s hard to have fun when you are motivated by fear.
Quality of life, in other words, is as important as longevity, and so I approach antiaging not from a fear of death but from a love of life, and this requires that we spend time considering more than facts and hard data. The Metabolic Plan will help you examine what may best be summed up in the questions “Why do you want to live longer?” and “What will you do with the extra years?” Above all, I want to inspire you to have a greater appreciation for who you are and what you are capable of. From there, antiaging takes on a completely new flavor, one based not on fear but on celebration.
We’ll start by looking at your relationship to your body. So much of what I read in the popular press implies that the human body is imperfect or limited and that you need some pharmaceutical, genetically engineered, high-tech treatment to enjoy long life. The message is that you are defective and science is going to save you. This is nonsense.
You are a miracle. Science, no matter how well designed and executed, can never come close to the astounding capabilities of the human body and mind. To those who put their faith in a pharmaceutical fix, I would like to point out that nature has a perfect track record over millions of years. Not a single biochemical—including thousands of enzymes, hormones, amino acids, neurotransmitters, and blood and lymphatic cells—has an adverse side effect. What’s the pharmaceutical track record? How many drugs have been recalled because they were shown to have adverse, even fatal, side effects?
My focus, then, is using science to support the body’s miraculous renewal activity. And this renewal activity can be accomplished deeply and effectively only to the degree that you are aware of what is going on in your body. My motto is, “If people knew better, they’d do better.” I believe it is true on the conscious and subconscious levels. That doesn’t mean dry and boring Anatomy 101 but rather a new view that begins with the simple but critically important question, “Who . . . are . . . you?”
Stephen Cherniske, M.S., a nutritional biochemist, directed the nation’s first FDA-licensed clinical laboratory specializing in nutrition testing, advised the U.S. Olympic team, and served on the faculty of the American College of Sports Medicine. He currently serves as president and chief scientific officer for Oasis Wellness Network in Broomfield, Colorado.
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I have had many conversations with educated people about health, wellness and nutrition, but no one has ever summed up how it all comes together in context with the human aging process . . . until Stephen Cherniske. Wow, he calls it like it is, tells us how to keep our bodies younger and healthier, with more energy; and I find myself reading every chapter twice!! Seriously, I felt entertained while being educated on a subject so incredibly important. If you are tired of aging you owe it to yourself to READ THIS BOOK and start the repair and regeneration that can bring back a metabolism we can happily live with. This is a self help guide to a quality of life most doctors don't even believe is possible!