Medical testing, PCS9 inhibitors & aging conference–an email to a friend

Hi JJ,

 Have you ever heard of PCSK9 inhibitors?  The PCSK9 protein binds to the liver receptor that binds LDL cholesterol, so if you inhibit the protein more LDL is absorbed by the liver, reducing the amount in the blood. 

 I understand a defect in this system results in high cholesterol, I wonder if this is the cause of your high cholesterol?  Either way this is an interesting article.  Unfortunately, the drugs that inhibit PCSK9 are really expensive (over $1,000 a treatment, with 1 injection needed per month (Alirocumab, one of the drugs has a half-life of 17-20 days).  But costs on things like this come down over time–especially since there is more than 1 drug that works.  It may be cheaper overseas (if you can even get it?)

 This article is where I came across PCSK9.  My LDL is 76, which is good by western standards but still not quite as low as recommended.  The article indicates that getting LDL really low (like less than 20) can be beneficial; to do that I would have to take one of these drugs.  So my target is less than 70 which I can probably do with some minor diet changes and increasing my exercise a bit.

 I am overseas now, just got done with the Undoing Aging conference in Berlin at the end of March.  Aging science is really taking off; the conference was sold out (last year 350 people attended, this year 500).  Next year they are going to have to go to a bigger venue to accommodate more people.  While it is great that the concept is getting so much attention, but I don’t like the larger crowds.  

 After the conference I went to Sri Lanka and did a bunch of medical tests.  Most everything looks really good; with just a few things I don’t like (even if the doctor wasn’t concerned).  A few of my liver profile things were not very good, but I haven’t had time yet to research it and see if it is just normal cycling or if it is something I should try to get back into the optimum range (if possible).  Science has come so far these days that you can biohack a lot of different things; we will see what can be done about the liver.  Speaking of which I suppose you know Joe has cirrhosis of the liver pretty bad?  That is really terrible.  I did a little poking around to see about the possibilities of biohacking it but have not come up with anything that sounded worth trying.  Yet–still looking.

 Another thing my medical review showed up is high BP when exercising.  What I did was fine for my age (doctors say), but I didn’t like having to stop the stress test because of high BP.  I have been having issues with pre-hypertension for a few years now, and have increased my consumption of vegetables, nearly met the DASH diet nutrition level and increased exercise rate.  I am usually within the DASH recommendations for Calcium (1,200 mg) magnesium (500 mg) potassium (4,500 mg) and fiber (30 mg)…but have not succeeded in getting my sodium levels down to the desired 1,500 mg.  Meeting the DASH guidelines succeeded in stopping the increase, but it remains high so I want to exercise more…and eat more vegetables. 

 The last bad thing my medical checkup showed was mild osteoporosis.  Which I was kind of appalled at; I always considered my bones to be extra heavy!  *sigh*.  Nothing really to be concerned about yet, just need to be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D…and more exercise, especially weight training (which I don’t do much of).  Seems like exercise is the answer to most things I have that are tipping out of balance, I better be sure to get more!  

 Speaking of vitamin D, I started taking 2000 units a day in December, and my previously low numbers have been corrected.  But it is still in the lower end of the scale (after I get home, I want to look up how much is recommended for healthy aging–I don’t have the information here).  Since too much vitamin D is toxic, I won’t take any additional until next winter (rely on sunshine this summer); then I will probably increase to 3000 IU a day and do a test after a month to make sure it isn’t too high.

 How is everything there?  After Sri Lanka I came to Japan for a few days and am now up in the mountains (about an hour train ride) NW of Tokyo, where the ski season has ended and this 1200 room hotel is nearly empty (less than a dozen cars in the parking lot).  I came here for peace & quiet so I could get the notes from the meeting typed in and properly researched.  I don’t expect to get them into a form that could be published, but I wanted to at least get them into the computer before I forget the details I didn’t get on paper.  I took 55 pages of handwritten notes at the Undoing Aging meeting, and have gotten most of them into the computer.  Hope to finish typing them into the computer before I start heading home tomorrow.

 Hope all is well there.  Do you still plan to come up to Alaska?  Our cruise plans are progressing, Tamer coming up next month will be a real help.  I am always concerned when I leave the rental business shorthanded!

 Cheers,  Ray

PS as with all my letters I write that have an aging slant, I will be putting this on my blog, but stripped of any way to identify who you are 🙂


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