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What are the Different Types of Anti-Aging Medicine?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 17, 2024
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When talking about anti-aging medicine, it is often helpful to think of two broad categories. On the one hand, there are medical technologies that may someday be able to slow down or halt aging altogether by using various materials to stop cells from dying and rejuvenating cells when possible. There is also, however, a lot of anti-aging medicine that has absolutely no basis in medical research or fact. Some homeopathic medicines sit on the edge between these two categories; they are sometimes effective, but not to the degree claimed by their makers. Given the importance to humanity of any discovery in this field, it's safe to assume that if the medical community at large has not verified the anti-aging medicine in question it is almost entirely disreputable.

Antioxidants are frequently called a type of anti-aging medicine. Concoctions of this type are said to eliminate free radicals, which are thought to cause premature aging. Some people believe that chelation, which is used to get rid of heavy metals, is necessary to prevent the body from aging. Most people who try to prevent aging blame aging on perceived toxins and avoid them at all costs. Whether these techniques are effective is largely in the eye of the beholder.

Being healthy in general is important when attempting to slow down aging, and having good nutrition is important to health. For this reason, nutritional supplements might be considered a type of anti-aging medicine. Some supplements are designed specifically to combat the effects of aging, although they may not halt or reverse the aging itself.

Many people place the blame for aging on hormones. As such, anti-aging medicine may take advantage of controlling hormones such as prolactin and cortisol. Given that one of the major concerns in the anti-aging movement is freedom from death, medicines that promote the immune system are also important. None of these strategies can work in isolation, and a full-body attack must be mounted for maximum effectiveness.

Most people believe that the key to aging lies in DNA, and the only way to have effective anti-aging medicine is to design a treatment that somehow modifies the life of cells. One effective method that has been established and tested is calorie restriction, although the amount that this can extend a person's lifespan is usually not very large and certainly not a sure thing. The movement toward treating aging and death as curable diseases is relatively recent when considering the lengthy history of modern medicine, and as it gains credence, it will likely become less fraught with fraud.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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