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The world is so fast that there are days when the person who says it can't be done is interrupted by the person who is doing it. -ANONYMOUS
The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. -EDEN PHILLPOTTS
WHAT IF I WERE TO TELL YOU that we are on the threshold of a revolution that can reverse the signs of aging? And that with this book in hand, by following just three simple steps, you can start reaping these benefits today?
When I wrote The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription, I introduced the Inflammation-Aging Connection-the concept that inflammation at the cellular level is the single most powerful cause of the signs of aging. That's not to mention the correlation between inflammation and such chronic diseases as arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimers, cancer, and strokes.
The extensive research and the resulting solutions I introduced still hold true today, and thousands of people have reported how much better they look and feel after following my program.
I could have discontinued my research there. But I knew there was more to learn. I knew that if inflammation was at the root of aging, something deeper must be able to mediate that inflammation. That "something deeper" turns out to be the biggest breakthrough in anti-aging medicine in years: protein-like substances in our bodies called peptides and neuropeptides.
Peptides are compounds consisting of two or more amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), chained together by what is called a peptide bond.
Neuropeptides are peptides released by neurons (brain cells) as intercellular messengers. Some neuropeptides function as neurotransmitters, and others function as hormones.
Peptides and neuropeptides, like many substances in our bodies (think cholesterol) can work both for and against us. The good news is that by following the program in The Perricone Promise, you can dramatically increase the positive effects of anti-inflammatory peptides and neuropeptides and greatly decrease their negative influences.
As a result, you will experience dramatic changes not only in the way you look, but also in the way you feel. In just twenty-eight days, you can erase what seems like ten years from your face and body. With The Perricone Promise, you'll learn to help reverse the aging process and add many more youthful years to your life.
Look Better, Feel Better in Three Easy Steps
As a dermatologist, my primary interest and concern is how my patients look. Is your skin clear and healthy? Is your skin radiant and glowing, or is it dull and sallow? Is your skin heavily lined and wrinkled, or is it toned and supple? This concern does not stem from an obsession with youth or with looking like a model or film star. The answers to these questions are prime indicators of overall health. Your face and body are constant, visible monitors of how well or how poorly you are aging. Looking good and having a positive body image is not vanity; it is your road to a long, healthy, and happy life. This is one of the key reasons that I chose dermatology as a medical specialty-to be able to find new ways to achieve these highly visible goals regardless of chronological age.
My promise to you is that you can achieve these goals-looking younger and living longer-by following the three easy steps included in this book:
Step 1. DIET. A revolutionary nutritional program that includes the Ten Superfoods to help reduce inflammation and rejuvenate the skin and body.
Step 2. SUPPLEMENTS. In addition to eating well, these multipurpose and highly effective nutritional supplements will increase production of the anti-inflammatory peptides and neuropeptides, your body's natural anti-aging weapons.
Step 3. TOPICALS. Working from the outside in, these newly formulated neuropeptide-based creams will have you looking younger almost instantly.
Throughout the rest of this book, you'll find ways of unleashing the power of neuropeptides to:
Increase production of collagen and elastin.
Repair scars and wrinkles.
Increase circulation, resulting in breathtaking radiance and glow.
Experience rapid wound repair.
Develop a dewy, supple appearance to skin that you haven't seen since your teens.
But this book is not just about the way you look. By following this simple three-step program, you can rejuvenate not only your skin, but also your brain, your emotional state, and your overall health. Increasing the power of positive peptides can result in such diverse effects as:
Decreased inflammation in every organ system.
Increased efficiency of metabolism, resulting in cellular repair.
A strong and healthy heart that is resistant to disease.
Denser bones as you age.
Decreased risk of certain forms of cancer.
Repair of the skin.
Normalized metabolism for losing weight while retaining youth.
A rejuvenated immune system.
The Brain-Beauty Connection
Each step I have taken in my career has led me to uncover secrets that go deep beneath the surface of the skin. When I began my research into peptides and neuropeptides, my goal was to help solve my patients skin problems. I wanted to find ways to help them look healthier and younger.
How exciting, then, to discover that my research had much greater benefit than I ever imagined. It turns out that boosting the positive powers of peptides and neuropeptides will not only help you look healthier and younger, but actually help you maintain the health of every system and organ in your body-and even give you an edge on reversing the aging process. And its all due to the Brain-Beauty Connection.
Prior to the discovery of neuropeptides, control of the brain and nervous system was thought to be accomplished through a complicated network of neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine), hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol), and enzymes.
Today, we know that matters are infinitely more complex. As brain researcher Dr. Steve Henricksen once put it, "We used to think the brain was like a computer. Now we think each cell is like a computer, a separate computer. And one single cell is like the whole brain."
If the brain is at all like a collection of integrated, high-speed computers, neuropeptides seem to form the electrochemical communications web that keeps them balanced and working in unison.
There are cells in the brain that produce various neuropeptides, and these neuropeptides do just about everything. They can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. They are responsible for many functions: They control our mood, energy levels, pain and pleasure reception, body weight, and ability to solve problems; they also form memories and regulate our immune system. These active little messengers in the brain actually turn on cellular function in the skin. (Its interesting to note that the immune system is an extension of the brain, and that the skin is an immune organ.)
Beauty Is Much More Than Skin Deep
When I was a medical student, we studied embryology. There I learned that three layers of tissue develop into every organ system in our bodies. One fact that particularly intrigued me was that the same layer of tissue that was responsible for the production of the brain also produced skin. That is why, when we eat a food or take a nutritional supplement that is therapeutic for the brain, the skin improves. This simple fact shaped much of my research into the role of peptides and neuropeptides in the Brain-Beauty Connection.
While manipulating the neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and hormones that are in the brain to help create younger, more beautiful skin, increase longevity, and slow the aging process might seem more at home in a Michael Crichton or Robin Cook novel, believe me when I tell you that it is not only possible, but in fact the new reality.
Scientists now know that these neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and hormones have a vast cellular communications system. Neuropeptides are natures "cell" phones. There is a trio controlling every aspect of our bodies, using neuropeptides as their messengers. That is, the brain signals the thymus, which is the master gland of immunity (more about this in chapter 2); the thymus signals the skin; and the skin talks back to the brain. Every messenger has a recipient for its message. These recipients are known as receptor sites. Think of it as "cellular communication": The cells communicate in the same way as making a phone call from your phone (the messenger) to another phone, which is there to receive the call (the receptor site). There is no voice mail here-it is a world in which (for good or ill) every call is answered, instantly.
The message delivered at the receptor site depends upon the particular neuropeptide, neurotransmitter, or hormone making the call. If high levels of the potentially harmful neuropeptide Substance P (which you will also learn more about in chapter 2) are being released in the brain, for example, we will experience "psychic pain"-we will feel depressed and anxious. Substance P has receptor sites throughout the body, including in the skin, so the message or call sent to the receptors in the skin might be: "Were depressed. Lets turn on inflammation in our skin cells today."
The result? Accelerated aging of the skin through abnormal cell turnover, loss of radiance and tone.
So the brain sends messages to the skin. But remember, this "phone system" circuitry goes both ways. We now know that just by touching the skin, we can actually change the circuitry in our brain! This is an amazing concept if we take a minute to think about it. Usually we think it takes a powerful drug or surgical or therapeutic procedure of some sort to make any kind of significant change in the body or mind. However, studies have shown that just fifteen minutes of daily massage help premature infants gain weight faster, enabling them to leave the hospital sooner than their counterparts. The massaged babies are more relaxed, active, and alert. Six months later, they continue to be more advanced.
Studies in orphanages and hospitals repeatedly tell us that infants deprived of skin contact lose weight, become ill, and even die. Infants who are held cry less than those who are not, their immune systems are enhanced, and they handle stress more efficiently.
The need for touch continues throughout our lives. When diabetic children were massaged for a month, blood glucose levels decreased and they were able to reduce their medication levels. Asthmatic children had fewer attacks. Massage helped children with autism, severe burns, cancer, and arthritis. These are perfect illustrations of how neuropeptides can be activated in the brain from touch receptors in the skin. And the neuropeptides released, such as endorphins, send a healing, positive message to the brain.
NEUROPEPTIDES COME INTO THEIR OWN
I recently spoke with Jim Parker of the Do It Now Foundation, who shared with me some fascinating information on the world of neuropeptides back when they were first known as endorphins. They were going to be the "magic bullets" of psychopharmacology, miraculous chemical keys to unlock the secrets of pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, memory, intelligence, and behavior. They were supposed to explain everything from falling in love to falling asleep, and a full understanding of their actions and effects was going to cure drug addiction and mental illness, regulate mood and appetite, and even heighten creativity and sexual response. They were the endorphins, the internally produced morphine-like substances responsible for an array of drug-like effects in the body, and for a while after their 1975 discovery, everyone wanted to speculate about them. But the euphoria didn't last. Life got complicated as research findings grew confusing, then contradictory. As the number of identified endorphins grew from month to month, and scientists understanding of their many effects broadened, they became known as endogenous opioids, and finally neuropeptides, of which endorphins form a small subcategory. Investigators continued to look hard and long at the powerful new body of chemicals and quietly went about the difficult work of figuring them out-or at least figuring out a way to figure them out. In the process, they linked them with a vast array of physical and emotional problems-as both possible causes and potential cures-and the prognosis is now good for at least some of the promised early magic bullets to hit their mark. In human terms, for the millions of people afflicted with a wide range of problems from alcoholism and obesity to chronic pain and schizophrenia, the study of neuropeptides holds great promise.
One of the great joys of practicing dermatology is seeing immediate, visible effects when the right treatment is applied to a particular condition. This has been a great motivator for me throughout my career, and it continues to provide the inspiration for spending many hours in the laboratory looking for that next miracle ingredient that can truly deliver results to the skin.
For far too long, the beauty and skin care industry has focused on the look and feel of a product-its packaging and its perfume, as opposed to genuine efficacy. Since I first introduced topical formulations containing highly active ingredients such as alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), retailers have had a hard time keeping their shelves stocked with these products. A new generation of women and men is controlling the marketplace-a generation that not only wants but actually demands products that work overtime to keep them as young looking and as vital as possible. I think this is an excellent development, because it has now involved many major corporations in serious research aimed toward resolving the problems of aging skin.
However, there is a somewhat alarming trend toward obtaining serious (and very costly) surgical procedures at a younger and younger age. Just turn on the TV and you will see some young woman, still in her teens, vying for radical surgery to turn herself into a clone of the current hot actress, model, or singer. America seems to be gripped by manic, radical makeover madness. According to a New York Times article, "A Lovelier You, With Off-the-Shelf Parts" by Alex Kuczynski (May 2, 2004), Americans underwent 8.3 million cosmetic surgery procedures in 2003, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year.
In addition to all the surgery, new fillers designed to plump up facial lines are being rushed to market. Use of Botox, a neurotoxin (neuro means "nerve"; toxin means "poison") that paralyzes muscles to smooth out wrinkles and expression lines, is rampant.
Excerpted from The Perricone Promise by Nicholas Perricone Copyright © 2004 by Nicholas V. Perricone, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
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