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Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw

thing finding out about the free radical theory of aging, because there was something you could study in animals, as well as in people, and find out whether interfering with these free radical reactions might have an effect on aging or life span. And there hadalready been some studies done– some of them by Denham Harman himself, which showed that in some animals– for example, rodent strains that were predisposed to die early of cancer– you could extend their life span with anti-oxidants that would interfere with free radical reactions.

Durk: Now one of the things we also found pretty soon was that there were other theories of aging. There was one called the cross-linking theory of aging– developed by a scientist by the name of Johan Bjorksten back in the 1930’s– and that was a mechanistic explanation. Cross links are bonds that form toimproperly link sections of large molecules, such as proteins or nucleic acids; this prevents them from functioning normally. It’s been subsequently found that a great deal of cross-linking is caused by free radicals. They are not mutually exclusive, and, in fact, the two theories are closely related. We know Bjorksten,and he said that he started taking very high doses of vitamin E back in the late 1930’s to slow down aging.

David: What are some of the benefits that you’ve seen in your own lives as a result of your experimentation with health-enhancing substances and nutrients?

Durk: Well, I think that one of the most prominent ones is that our skin elasticity is much better than you’d expect for fifty- two year olds who have been exposed to a lot of sunlight. The loss of skin elasticity involves, among other things, cross- linking in the skin. Just as a windshield wiper blade that’s exposed to ultraviolet light and ozone becomes stiff and brittle, and starts cracking and loses its elasticity, the same sort of thing happens to your skin. However the windshield wiper blade can’t repair itself, so it’s ready for the junkyard in a couple of years, whereas it takes a lot longer for people to end up in the junkyard.But people’s ability to repair themselves is imperfect. Aging is basically the accumulation of improperly repaired or unrepaired damage.

Sandy: But I think that with the use of supplements we’ve noticed the short-term beneficial effects much more than the long-term, especially because it’s hard to know what kind of condition we would be in had we not taken supplements over the past twenty- eight years. There’s a number of supplements thatprovide compensation for aging effects in the short-term, and those things really stand out and are very noticeable.

David: What are some of the short-term benefits that you’ve noticed?

Sandy: We’ve noticed improvements in certain aspects of our mental function. An awful lot’s been discovered about how the brain works. It’s now known that whenever anything takes place in the brain– whether it’s a thought, or an emotion, or whether you’re moving your body, or anything else– it involves therelease of neurotransmitters by some neurons, and a receipt of the neurotransmitter as a message by another neuron. And as people age their ability tomanufacture and release the neurotransmitters changes.

Durk: And the ability to respond to these messages degrades with age too because of age-related damage to the receptors, and also to the re-uptakemechanisms that re-cycle these neurotransmitters.

Sandy: But it is possible to compensate to some extent by taking supplements which contain precursors to the neurotransmitters, which make it possible for your nervous system to 

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