The topic of aging and the methods to counter it has generated great interest and, in turn, volumes of research. For decades, scientists and cosmetologists have been trying to find a way to either pause or reverse the wear and tear of aging on humans. While they have had some success in the area, there hasn’t been a huge development until now!
By using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) with a new protocol called intermittent hyperoxia, scientists have been able to achieve two major feats that have had a significant impact on reversing aging:
1. Increasing the length of the telomeres.
2. Reducing the number of senescent cells in the body.
What Are Telomeres and Senescent Cells?
Unless you are a professional in medicine or biochemistry, coming across these terms is highly unlikely. So, let’s become familiar with them and understand their meaning.
At the end of every strand of our DNA are protective caps called telomeres, and these are similar to the plastic ends on your shoelaces. The telomeres help to protect our DNA from damage during the copying process.
Like an hourglass losing sand, the DNA loses a small amount of the telomere every time it’s copied, making it shorter and shorter. Eventually, it gets so short that there is not enough telomere remaining to allow another copy without damaging the DNA. It is widely accepted that your DNA can replicate 60 to 70 times until a telomere is too short to allow further replication and the cell becomes senescent.
These cells are a core driver of the pathological hallmarks of aging including chronic inflammation, cancer, and impaired stem cell renewal. Senescent cells stop dividing and enter a state of permanent growth arrest without dying. They continue to be metabolically active, sending out inflammatory signals that attract immune cells to destroy them. The problem is that some senescent cells evade destruction and hang around in a zombie-like state, polluting surrounding tissue with inflammatory mediators and other disruptive signals that, when present over the long term, will significantly degrade tissue structure and function, disrupt regeneration, and produce chronic inflammation. Senescent cells accumulate as we age, accelerating the development and progression of nearly all common age-related diseases.
The impact of aging on telomeres, cell senescence, and their subsequent contribution to age-related diseases has been subject to much research and debate in the scientific community. Dr. Shai Efrati, a scientist whose research has recently demonstrated that HBOT can induce cognitive enhancements in healthy aging adults via improved cerebral blood flow, has more recently focused on other anti-aging benefits of oxygen therapy and discovered the impact of intermittent hyperoxia on the length of telomeres and cell senescence.
The Hyperoxic-Hypoxic Paradox
Tissue oxygenating HBOT has been around since the 1600’s but recent breakthroughs in effectiveness by Dr. Efrati and his team are causing researchers to take a deeper look at what he calls the Hyperoxic-Hypoxic Paradox. While traditional HBOT only focused on the delivery of oxygen, this new study shows that exposure to fluctuating oxygen levels during hyperbaric treatment may be just as important.
Hypoxia is one of the most powerful inducers of gene expression, metabolic changes, and regenerative processes, including stem cell proliferation. Dr. Efrati’s research has shown that intermittent hyperoxia, or repeated intervals of high oxygen exposure followed by lower oxygen exposure, can induce many of the same mediators and cellular mechanisms which typically occur during hypoxia. This is called the Hyperoxic-Hypoxic Paradox.
Efrati’s Breakthrough Study
Efrati’s 90-day study involved exposing 35 healthy individuals aged 64 and over to a protocol of 60 sessions of 100% oxygen at 2 ATA, including three air breaks during each session to utilize the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox and minimize the risk of oxygen toxicity. Each participant provided blood samples before, during, and at the end of the treatments and sometime after the series of treatments concluded. The researchers then analyzed various immune cells in the blood and compared the results.
The findings indicated that the treatments actually reversed the aging process in two of its major aspects: the telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes grew longer instead of shorter at a rate of 20%-38% for the different cell types, and the percentage of senescent cells in the overall cell population was reduced significantly by 11% to 37% depending on cell type.
The results show a clear increase in telomere length during the course of the study.
The researchers themselves are optimistic about the findings. “Until now, interventions, such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise, were shown to have some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening,” said Dr. Hadanny. “But in our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications. With this pioneering study, we have opened a door for further research on the cellular impact of HBOT and its potential for reversing the aging process.”
The LiveO2 Advantage
Efrati’s body of work in HBOT research clearly shows a correlation between increased cellular oxygenation and anti-aging effects and has demonstrated the regenerative effect of the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox. The only problem with HBOT therapy is it is expensive, not covered by most insurance, and very time consuming. The LiveO2 Adaptive Contrast system follows a similar protocol, but speeds up and enhances the process using exercise to increase blood flow and respiration during training sessions, while bringing the session times down to 15-minutes. Best of all the cost is dramatically reduced with LiveO2 compared to traditional Hyperbarics.
Although it has taken years of research, science has finally been able to find a treatment that is an unprecedented leap forward towards the reversal of human aging. While there is still much work to do, this development is a true breakthrough and has presented researchers all over the world with a clear direction to head in and focus on.
While the research goes on, oxygen therapies, specifically those that employ the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox, present an innovative, leading-edge method to fight aging and enhance cognitive and physiological functions now.
Hachmo Y, Hadanny A, Abu Hamed R, Daniel-Kotovsky M, Catalogna M, Fishlev G, Lang E, Polak N, Doenyas K, Friedman M, Zemel Y, Bechor Y, Efrati S. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases telomere length and decreases immunosenescence in isolated blood cells: a prospective trial. Aging (Albany NY). 2020; 12:22445-22456. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202188
Hadanny A, Daniel-Kotovsky M, Suzin G, Boussi-Gross R, Catalogna M, Dagan K, Hachmo Y, Abu Hamed R, Sasson E, Fishlev G, Lang E, Polak N, Doenyas K, et al. Cognitive enhancement of healthy older adults using hyperbaric oxygen: a randomized controlled trial. Aging (Albany NY). 2020; 12:13740–61. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.103571
Hadanny A, Efrati S. The hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox. Biomolecules. 2020; 10:958. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060958