Most Popular in:


Email This Item! Print This Item!

Aging and Inflammation

By: Peter T. Pugliese, MD
Posted: November 24, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 7 of 8

The AGE products are reactive and combine with normal proteins, such as collagen and enzymes. This combination results in either a poorly functional collagen or a nonfunctional enzyme. AGE products that circulate in the body combine with a specific receptor on many cells known as receptor advanced glycation end (RAGE) product. When activated, RAGE signals the cell to turn all NF-κB, which initiated a cascade of inflammatory cytokines. Lesson: Avoid foods cooked at high temperatures.

Exercise and supplements

The body is made to move. Even the most well-conditioned athletes will become extremely weak if they are bedridden for as few as two weeks. The fundamental law of nature “Use it or lose it,” is never more applicable than when related to muscle and brain cells. Nursing home residents confined to wheelchairs who are fed and dressed and bathed by attendants deteriorate rather rapidly. A simple exercise of walking, without a cane or walker, coupled with moderate resistance exercise, such as weight lifting, will have a remarkable effect on sedentary individuals in as few as two weeks. Set up a routine that you walk every day and lift weights, start with five pounds and go up to 10–20 pounds. If you can lift 20 pounds with each arm and do this three times week, you will be truly amazed at how well you feel.

I am a firm believer in supplements. See Supplements for Slowing Inflammatory Damage for a partial list of what I believe is essential to slow the inflammatory damage in aging. They are not listed by any ranking order. Multiple vitamins and calcium (600 mg) daily is also recommended, and you need not take all of these at one time. Divide them with your three meals a day. I take all of these … and a few more. In all cases, check with your physician if you are taking prescription medication to be sure there are no contraindications for specific supplements, especially if you are on blood-thinning medications.

Play an expanded role

A major cause of aging is chronic inflammation, and the defensive response of the immune system. Understanding these processes and explaining them to your clients will help them pay more attention to the damaging behaviors they may be practicing that help to spur on inflammation in the body. The three known means to combat aging and inflammation are reduction in diet, moderate exercise and the use of supplements. By helping clients understand this, you can play an expanded role in their anti-aging efforts.


1. JI Lee and GJ Burckart, Nuclear factor kappa B: important transcription factor and therapeutic target, J Clin Pharmacol 38(11) 981–993 (Nov 1998)