5 Reasons to Add Astragalus To Your Anti-Aging Supplement Plan

Friday Feb 20 | BY |
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Long Life wooden sign with a street background

Can adding astragalus to your nutritional supplement program
reverse aging and keep you alive for 142 years?

There’s no single test that tells how long you’ll live. Doctors have a good idea about the diseases and health conditions that influence lifespan, though. For example, diabetes accelerates aging. Regular exercise prolongs health and wards off Alzheimer’s.

But, wouldn’t it be great if there was a common biological marker that tells if your lifespan will be short, average, or longer?

I’ve been on a quest to discover the answer to this question for close to twenty years, and wrote about what I found in my book, Prolonging Health (2002). Researchers have come a long ways since then. Scientists now believe that checking the length of your telomeres is the best way to determine healthy aging and gain clues about how long you might live.

For my patients, I test biological age versus chronological age—how old you are by the calendar, versus how old you are by measuring telomere length through a blood test.

Life Length laboratory was founded in Madrid, Spain by María Blasco, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost researchers on the function of telomeres in aging. This is the best test I’ve found to determine the median telomere length.

What Are Telomeres?

Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration and prevent sticking to other chromosomes. When cells divide, chromosomes replicate themselves. That’s good for life, but staying alive comes with a price: telomeres become shorter with duplication.

Scientists speculate that the gradual shortening of telomeres is linked to, and may even be responsible for, many diseases, including cancer. Shortened telomeres also play an important role in aging.

Diseases Associated With Shorter Telomeres

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Premature Aging
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Dyskeratosis Congenita

Telomere biology is fascinating, but looking for one elegant cause of aging is a mistaken paradigm. Researchers in Romania found that there are over 300 hypotheses of aging, but none of them is complete enough to explain aging.

Life, biology, and aging are made up of an intricate interplay between cells and chemicals, which are constantly changing and evolving. It’s unlikely that scientists will ever come up with a single cause or one solution for the treatment of aging. For now, though telomeres are the closest we have to understanding and influencing the aging process.

Can We Lengthen Telomeres?

Though the role of telomeres in aging is still not completely understood, scientists believe that cells with the shortest telomeres trigger a process that causes a dramatic change in how normal cells function. Cells with the shortest telomeres die prematurely.

Telomere shortening is prevented by the activation of telomerase, an enzyme vital for tissue regeneration. Long telomeres reflect high telomerase activity, and are considered a good predictor of greater tissue regeneration and longevity.

What can we do about shortened telomeres? Will longer telomeres actually make people younger? A handful of chemical and natural compounds hold promise as telomere extenders.

Researchers have screened thousands of natural compounds and chemicals for their effects on telomeres. One of the more interesting compounds comes from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Huang Qi: astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus).

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), astragalus is considered a Qi tonic, a natural substance that increases energy in the body. You can buy the dried herb is any Chinese herb store and also on the Internet. It’s not the whole plant, or even the TCM prepared forms that fascinates researches, but special compounds found in astragalus extracts.

These active compounds are classified as isoflavones, saponins, and polysaccharides, and all three have therapeutic properties. It’s the saponins that have attracted the most attention for their effects on telomeres, however.

1. Astragalus Lengthens Telomeres

Astragaloside IV
(AG-IV), an astragalus saponin, has shown benefits in reversing cell damage. It also helps promote tissue healing, improves immune response against viral infections in HIV-patients, inhibits the spread of lung and colon cancer, promotes nerve regeneration, and manages inflammation. It also activates telomerase.

Cycloastragenol (CGA), a derivative of AG-IV with even more activating potential on telomerase, is as close as we know to a telomere activator. Research suggests that CGA may have wide use in the treatment of degenerative diseases, as well as for aging.

The commercial telomere activator called TA-65, a natural product derived from CGA, has shown benefits on bone and cardiovascular health. In a 2014 French study, TA-65 lengthened flight feathers on birds. TA-65 activates telomerase and increases T-cells that are important immune cells that fight against infection and cancer.

2. Astragalus Promotes Healing

The experience of TCM informs us that astragalus is a healing plant important for the prevention of disease. Scientific tests confirm what the ancients discovered thousands of years ago: astragalus has the potential to extend life. But, its main uses include specific conditions and processes associated with disease.

Extracts of astragalus accelerate wound repair, speed up fracture healing, and induce production of growth factors responsible for improving blood supply to injured areas of the body. It also promotes the proliferation of fibroblasts, a kind of stem cell that makes body tissue.

3. Astragalus Calms Inflammation

The TCM formula Bu-Shen-Yi-Qi (BSYQF) contains astragalus and is frequently used in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in the respiratory system. Astragalus extract suppress tumor necrosis factor and other powerful inflammatory chemicals in your body.

4. Astragalus Improves Immunity

AG-IV and CGA improve cytotoxic T-cells. It helps maintain a healthy balance between T-helper lymphocytes. Extracts of astragalus regulate interferon levels, important in the management of chronic viral infections.

5. Astragalus Has Anti-Cancer Properties

Astragalus not only boosts the immune system, it has been shown to have anti-tumor properties. One study from Hong Kong found that astragalus extract suppressed colon cancer. It has also shown anti-tumor activity in breast and lung cancer.

Your Daily Dose of Astragalus

Can adding astragalus to your nutritional supplement program reverse aging and keep you alive for 142 years?

Not likely, but it’s a good start, and it’s the best we have, at least for now.

TA-65 is sold through doctors or professional licensing agreements, so it’s pricey. AG-IV and CAG are available over the Internet, but quality control is questionable. Astragalus extracts are readily available as medical grade nutraceuticals or as extracts, which your doctor can provide for you. Some forms of astragalus can be bought in health food stores. I know of no product that combines them all in the right amounts, however.

Over a lifetime, the naturally occurring compounds found in astragalus make a difference in disease prevention. Avoiding disease is a prerequisite for health and living longer. Just as green tea has health giving properties when taken in small doses every day, astragalus will benefit your health and help you live longer. The key is to start as young as possible and to keep it up for as long as you can.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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1 COMMENT ON THIS POST

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  1. June Hanson says:

    Just think, how a simple plant, that’s been around for thousands of years, used in Chinese medicine, can bring so much healing to the body. How blessed, we are, to have a great Doctor, like You to bring us such great information. Your many years of research, living in the plant world, you can give us advice that is dependable, not trying to sell certain products. So much of that out there. No wonder, people are fearful about natural products. Even doctors discourage herbal supplements. Of course. chemicals, as long, as they are prescriptions, are safe. Yah, get them home, read the side affects, if that is not enough to frighten you, the price of the drugs, will make you even sicker. I, went through that for years, until, I met you, Dr Williams. Antibiotics, almost destroyed my life. Your wisdom as an Oriental Medical Doctor, far surpasses mainstream doctors, who refuse to learn that mother nature, still has plants that will bring healing to our natural bodies.

    You, are a maestro on Anti-aging. I am living proof of it. Telomere field is exciting, you, are conservative, knowing it still needs more research. Giving us simple, inexpensive astragalus to add to our supplements. I added it, but also depend on your shots for added boost to other important shots, supplements and therapies.

    If you want to ward off the sickness and disease that comes with aging, Start on Doctor Williams, Anti-aging programs. It is never too late, you will never regret it. You, are worth the time & effort put forth, to have a happy, vibrant, life, for longer than you thought possible. Take it, from one who was dying and is now is enjoying, all the above.

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