Growth factors are compounds that act as chemical messengers between cells - turning on a variety of cellular activities. Growth factors play a role in cell division, new cell and blood vessel growth, and collagen and elastin production and distribution. Many growth factors used by the cosmetic industry are from bovine (cattle) sources in the form of colostrum polypeptides.
In an anti-aging situation, growth factors would need to be stimulated by some means. As an example, exercise induces insulin growth factors (IGF). Any stage of collagen replacement or repair requires some form of stimulation of a wound healing response. The ideal modalities are collagen induction therapy (CIT) and sonophoresis, both improve the penetration of any active ingredient and "wake up" the fibroblast.
Growth factors are predominately responsible for orchestrating and regulating cellular function and repair after injury. Most rejuvenation treatments rely on dramatically invasive chemical peels, light or radio frequency to burn the skin, which leads to release of TGF-B1 and TGF-B2 (transforming growth factors), TIMP-1, and Heat Shock Protein 47. These generate a fibrotic response that promotes scar collagen (thick, parallel orientated bundles). By contrast, collagen induction therapy results in increased TGF-B, FGF-7, and EGF which promotes natural collagen, with scarless wound healing. Understanding which growth factors produce positive effects, we can specifically target and manipulate cells to achieve desired results. Ideally, we want to limit the presence and duration of function of certain cells that contain deleterious growth factors and optimize those that result in a more natural, even tone and smooth healthy skin texture.
Source: The Concise Guide to Dermal Needling. Cell Function. page. 22, 24
Scientific research suggests that elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone can result in an increased growth of yeast in the body. Yeast is primarily housed in the digestive tract and may be culpable for as many as 30 percent of the acne cases seen on an annual basis. We can also increase yeast levels by eating sugar, which provides yeast populations with fodder to propagate. This propagation can then lead to imbalances in flora (healthy bacteria) that line our digestive tracts. This, in turn, allows for further yeast overgrowth.
The most common yeast population among Americans (relevant because of diet) is called Candida albicans, commonly referred to as Candida. Candida in associated with vaginal yeast infections and thrush. It may be a surprise but yeast infections originate in the intestine. When Candida levels fall out of balance, the yeast emits toxins that travel through the body via the body (via the blood stream) and result in a variety of physiological imbalances. If left unchecked, toxic yeast may rise up and disturb hormone production, impair immune function, and generally wreak havoc on many organs with the skin being the common victim.
The use of antibiotics to treat acne (used to counteract the bacteria that feed of the sebum in the skin) can cause an additional suppression of the immune system plus negatively affect digestive health which will inevitability exacerbate the development of acne. In my opinion, the colon and its related toxin build up is the primary source of acne. Suffice it to say that acne could be greatly reduce to changes in one's diet, colonics and detoxes (do your research and consult your physician as appropriate).
You may not know this...not all wrinkles are created equal. While wrinkles from sundamage and intrinsic aging can be improved, those from a process known as glycation cannot.
It is less widely known that blood sugar has an important bearing on the aging process. Unfortunately, in addition to being a vital cellular fuel, glucose is also a substance that can cause damage to cells and tissues by randomly reacting with proteins, DNA and other vital molecules.
In the process called non-enzymatic glycosylation or glycation, glucose molecules attach themselves to proteins, setting in motion a chain of chemical reactions that ends in the proteins binding together or crosslinking, thus altering their biological and structural roles. The process is slow but increases with time.
Advanced Glycosylation End products (AGEs), is the term given to Crosslinks of proteins like collagen and elastin, which seem to toughen tissues and may cause some of the deterioration associated with aging. AGEs have been linked to stiffening connective tissue (collagen), hardened arteries, clouded eyes, loss of nerve function, and less efficient kidneys. These are deficiencies that often accompany aging.
AGEs exert their harmful effects on two levels. Most obviously, they physically impair protein, DNA and lipids, altering their chemical properties. They also act as cellular signals, triggering a cascade of destructive events when they attach to their cellular binding sites.
The main binding site for AGEs is appropriately called RAGE (receptor for AGEs). The binding of AGEs to RAGE induces cellular activation and intracellular oxidative stress, AGE binding to RAGE tends to be self-amplifying, since the more AGEs bind to RAGE, the more RAGE binding sites develop. This creates a "positive feedback loop" leading to spreading waves of cellular activation and tissue damage.
One happy finding is that the body has its own defense system against crosslinking. Just as it has anti-oxidants to fight free-radical damage, it has other guardians, immune system cells called macrophages, that combat glycation.
Macrophages with special receptors for AGEs seek them out, engulf them, break them down, and eject them into the blood stream where they are filtered out by the kidneys and eliminated in urine. The only apparent drawback to this defense system is that it is not complete and levels of AGEs increase steadily with age. One reason is that kidney function tends to decline with advancing age.
Is there an answer to glycation?
Treatment is best started with prevention by diet control, reducing total calories, avoiding high sugar foods and not cooking at high temperatures. Supplements such as aminoguanidine, pyridoxamine, carnosine and benfotiamine are excellent glycation preventors.
Carnosine levels decline with age, and now that many people are cutting down on meat - the main dietary source of carnosine - supplementation becomes expecially important. Expect to see carnosine in the 'new generation' of actives of the future.
Beautymag Online, Glycosylation and the Ageing Process
Peter T. Pugliese, MD, April 14, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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