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Marios Kyriazis

when it is used as an eyedrop. But acetylcarnosine as an eyedrop is quite resistant to the enzymatic processes that break down carnosine. Carnosine is broken down by the enzyme carnosinase, and if we give carnosine eye drops it would soon break down before it can have a chance to work properly in the eye. But acetylcarnosine is resistant to carnosinase, therefore it is not easily broken down in the eye, and it remains around to produce its effects. But acetylcarnosine as a capsule or a tablet in the body is not as effective as simple carnosine in tablet form. So we have this difference between the two. One is effective as a tablet but not as an eyedrop. The other one is effective as an eyedrop but not as a tablet. This is due to the enzyme carnosinase in the eye, which breaks carnosine down easily.

David: What sort of benefit does acetylcarnosine have on the eyes?

Dr. Kyriazis: It helps the eye in different ways. Most importantly, acetylcarnosine helps patients who have cataracts. There’s quite a lot of research showing that carnosine not only prevents the formation of cataracts, but most importantly it reverses existing cataracts as well. So it can be used as a treatment for existing cataracts, and one can actually avoid the need for an operation. This is something that not many people know. But I think it’s a very good development, and now it’s being promoted all over the world. I was in Russia a few days ago, where we had a seminar examining the beneficial effects of acetylcarnosine on cataracts. There are also benefits with other eye diseases. For example, it helps people who suffer from glaucoma or macular degeneration. It also helps people who wear contact lenses, or people who work in front of the computer and get tired eyes or itchy sore eyes. It has been shown that acetylcarnosine eyedrops work very well to prevent all these eye conditions.

David: In general, what sort of relationship do you see between stress and health, and how can a certain degree of physical or mental stress–such as through caloric restriction–actually benefit our health?
Dr. Kyriazis: This is based on the concept of hormesis. Hormesis means that after mild stimulation different biochemical processes are activated that try to repair the mild damage that happens to the body, and in trying to repair this damage they also repair any coexisting age-related damage. So if we are able to activate this process by different means so that our body will then repair the damage on its own. And research shows that we can activate it with different things–like putting an experimental animal in high-gravity conditions, high temperature, or increasing radiation. But these concepts don’t apply to human beings.

Concepts that do apply to human beings are stress and stimulation by, say, calorie restriction, or by certain physical exercises, mental exercises, or by keeping the body active in different ways–by keeping it alert, by not following certain routines, by constantly changing one’s lifestyle and keeping the body constantly stimulated. This activates hormesis which repairs damage in different parts of the body. So although people say stress is bad for you, I think what they mean is that excessive stress is bad for you. Mild stress isn’t bad for you, and, in fact, mild stress is beneficial. I don’t think that people who try to avoid stress altogether are doing themselves any favors.

I think that we should keep ourselves mildly stimulated all the time. And looking forward to the future, we are working with some of the scientists who developed the concept of hormesis to develop a type of mechanical stimulation. For example, putting human beings into something that is equivalent to a fair ground ride, where they go into increased acceleration, which simulates hyper-gravity. Or mildly increased radiation through a sauna. This would be like a small booth, and when people go in it’s very hot. But instead of having only heat, in addition you have mildly increased radiation. So people go and have their sauna, their steam bath or whatever, but there is also background radiation to stimulate their hormetic mechanism. And that would be commercially available, but at the moment it’s not. It is still under investigation. But apart from ordinary stress and stimulation there could be mechanical ways of stimulating hormesis.

David: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to improve their mental performance?

Dr. Kyriazis: I would recommend a combination of constant mental stimulation, mental exercises, with supplements or drugs that have been shown to improve mental performance–like hydergine, ginkgo biloba, vinpocetine, and bacoba. Bacoba is a Ayurvedic medicine Indian plant product. I recommend you use this with acetylcarnosine and Alpha Lipoic Acid. I think it’s important to try to alternate the treatment, to not have the same treatment all the time. For example, for one month, have a combination of ginkgo biloba with Alpha Lipoic Acid. The next month have vinpocetine with vitamin E. Then the next month change it again, and keep rotating the treatment. Don’t have the same treatment all the time. And have that in association with  brain exercises, like I mentioned in my book. There are different exercises that stimulate different parts of the brain. Some stimulate the left side of the brain, and others the right side. Other exercises stimulate memory, coordination, learning, and observation.

David: What sort of relationship do you see between one’s mental state and their physical health?

Dr. Kyriazis: I think one’s mental state is very important. It has been shown that there is quite a distinct relationship between the way we feel and the way our body behaves. People who have a positive outlook on life, who engage in positive thinking, and are always cheerful, have higher degrees of different immunoglobulins. In other words, their immune system is working at peak form, and that prevents, not only infection, but also cancer and different age-related processes as well. If our immune system is working at full power then we don’t age quickly.

There has been research on people who engage in positive thinking about their cancer, particularly breast cancer, and the studies have shown that the more positive these people are the more likely they are that they’ll be cured, and the less likely that the cancer will come back. That has to do with the immune system. Positive thinking and having a positive attitude stimulate the immune system. For example, I had a patient who was always thinking positively, and seeing the positive side of life. She developed breast cancer, and she was always saying that the cancer is not going to win, she will win. And she managed to survive against all odds by only the power of her mind. All the doctors were saying that she won’t survive further than three months, or six months, and she survived five years. I believe that was because of her positive attitude.

David: You discuss a number of alternative health therapies in your book The Anti-Aging Plan such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, homeopathy, and herbalism. What sort of advice would you give to someone who is interested in exploring some of these alternative or complementary therapies?

Dr. Kyriazis: It is quite difficult to give scientific advice, because I don’t think there is quite a lot of research supporting each of those therapies in relation to aging. There may be research supporting therapies in relation to age-related diseases. For example, hydrotherapy is very good for people who have arthritis, sore joints or sore muscle. If they went into a course of hydrotherapy, aqua-aerobics, or something like that, they would benefit exceedingly. But there isn’t any research examining the effects of these therapies on the actual aging process itself, so it is more clinically-oriented than biologically-oriented.

I also say to people that if something doesn’t work for them then they should try something else. Don’t give up. There’s always an answer to something. There is always a treatment to our illness. Something that works for somebody else may not work for you, or the other way around. Sometimes one’s friends may experience a benefit from using a particular therapy, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you too. Up to a point, I tend not to base my advice on published research–because I think that sometimes the individual may experience benefits even if there is no scientific research behind the therapy at all. In other words, science has not caught up yet with the benefits that these therapies have to offer.

So, basically, I recommend that–in association with your health practitioner–you find a therapy that is suitable for you and try it for, I would say, around two months, more or less. Something like that. If it works, continue it. If it doesn’t work, leave it and try something else. The very fact that you are exploring different therapies is a form of mental stimulation, which contributes to mental health and brain health. So keep looking. Keep searching.

David: What are some of the new anti-aging treatments that you foresee coming along in the near future?

Dr. Kyriazis: I think one of the most promising is a crosslink breaker. It’s a drug called  Alagebrium, and it’s manufactured by Alteon corporation in the states. This has been shown to actually revert age-related damage–not only prevent it, but revert it, because it breaks existing bonds between the crosslinked proteins. This has been used now in reverting blood pressure, because glycosylation causes thickening of the arteries, and thickened arteries result in high blood pressure. Because this drug reverses

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