Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): 4 Benefits for Athletes
Athletes are always looking for their next “win,” whether they are at the professional level or a weekend warrior. But, in doing so, they also encounter several challenges. Fatigue and injuries can seriously damage one’s competitive edge. In some cases, an injury or recurring injury forces athletes to abandon their sport entirely.
In recent years, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been proven to be an effective way to address injuries, aid in recovery, and improve athletic output—both mentally and physically. Even if you’re an amateur athlete who is just passionate about your sport of choice, HBOT is a viable way to take your performance to the next level.
Learn all about the hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits for athletes and how you can get started.
4 Ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Optimizes Athletic Performance
There are four main HBOT benefits for athletes.
1. Increased Energy and Physical Performance
HBOT encourages the body to heighten its aerobic stamina, benefits include:
- Higher strength and endurance
- Increase mitochondria efficiency
- Enhance maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)
2. Accelerated Recovery
Studies speak volumes about HBOT’s transformative impact on physical athletic performance:
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving tissue metabolism
- Increasing oxygen supply to injured tissues
- Enhancing stem cell proliferation and migration to injured tissues
- Safely reducing downtime and allowing a faster return to the competitive arena
Watch: Tommy Fleetwood, six-time DP World Tour winner and Ryder Cup player – enhanced athletic performance at Aviv Clinics:
3. Improved Mental Clarity
Cognitive performance, which is a foundational focus of the Aviv Medical Program, plays a crucial role in athleticism. Intensity, focus, and attention support the physical fundamentals of any sport. Research illustrates patients who have undergone HBOT experience improvement in areas such as attention, focus, and information processing speed—all of which contribute to better athletic performance.
Alon Day, a three-time European NASCAR champion, also benefited from the program. Unlike other sports, race car driving is about intense, small motor movements. Race car drivers require significant grip strength to control the steering wheel at high speeds.
Racing requires intense cognitive focus for an extended period. This is one area where Day made significant strides. Small movements of the hand and foot can make the difference between finishing first or crashing. After completing the Aviv Medical Program, Alon achieved measured improvement in cognitive function.
“There is nothing like it in the world. You cannot go to the gym and get the same results. When I came over there every morning, I felt like I was a bionic man, being in the hyperbaric chamber at the cutting edge of medicine. At the end of the hyperbaric treatment, when the season started, I was at my best. I won the championship, and I broke every record. In my opinion, this treatment is for whoever needs to be on top of their game.”
4. Better Sleep
Sleep is imperative to restoring the body after a hard workout. But sometimes, depending on injuries, daily stressors, and the pressure athletes face, getting consistent quality sleep is easier said than done. The good news is that research indicates the cognitive and physical improvements that come with HBOT help improve sleep quality.
Dylan Hartley’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy experience
Dylan Hartley, former England Rugby captain who suffered from post-concussion syndrome (PCS) due to repeated traumatic brain injuries has seen considerable improvement in his overall health after receiving treatment for head injury at Aviv Clinics Dubai in JLT. Read more about Dylan’s story
PCS can have significant consequences for both football and rugby players. PCS refers to a condition where individuals continue to experience symptoms following a concussion or traumatic brain injury, even years after the initial injury. PCS can have long-term effects on athletes’ physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being that may persist or even worsen for the rest of their life.
The only therapy proven effective is based on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol with fluctuations in oxygen and pressure to repair the concussed brain by inducing neuronal stem cells proliferation, generation of new blood vessels and improving brain metabolism. The needed HBOT protocol must be administered by a professional medical team with medical grade equipment that can deliver the exact treatment protocol proved to be effective.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help athletes of all ages
Watch Dr. Maroon explain why he not only recommends the hyperbaric oxygen protocols of the Aviv Medical program to patients with concussive injury to the brain, but also how his own participation in the program has improved his athletic performance and recovery times.
When 14-year-old Linden Perry suffered from post-concussion syndrome due to a sports injury, she regained her health and performance through a holistic treatment program—one that entailed HBOT, cognitive, and physical training. The personalized treatment plan left Perry more energized and gave her the confidence to continue to excel in her athletic programs.
Which Hyperbaric Chambers for Athletes Are Most Beneficial?
While all hyperbaric chambers have the same goal—to deliver 100% oxygen in a high-pressure environment—not all chambers are created equally. There are different types of chambers that each possess a unique process.
- Monoplace chambers administer oxygen to one person at a time. The chamber’s structure reflects a tube or cylinder in which individuals lie in a horizontal position.
- Soft-side monoplace chambers are more “portable” than the rigid cylindrical HBOT chambers made of glass or plastic. But, it also cannot reach the level of pressurization to produce high-level results.
But neither of these chambers allows for the one key ingredient needed to achieve groundbreaking results: oxygen fluctuation.
Multiplace chambers or “suites,” such as the one at the Aviv Clinics facility in Dubai, utilize the science behind oxygen fluctuations in a pressurized environment. This mechanism produces the underlying elements of enhanced athletic performance, including:
- New stem cells. Stem cells can exist as any cell type in the human body. As it relates to physical performance, stem cell production supports the heart, lungs, and muscles. Lungs breathe deeper and more efficiently, allowing athletes to perform at a higher level for longer periods without becoming winded. The heart is able to pump out more oxygenated blood to other organs and muscles, and muscle growth occurs at a faster pace.
- Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). HIF plays a role in angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels. With more routes for blood to travel throughout the body—to the heart, lungs, and muscle tissue—more oxygen is also getting to those areas. This prevents fatigue and muscle soreness. HIF is also instrumental in creating new red blood cells, ensuring that maximum oxygen flow goes to the organs.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a protein that gets released during HBOT treatments and “signals” blood vessel formation. Again, the more blood that can flow to key areas of the body, the higher one’s athletic capacity.
How Can Athletes Gain the Greatest Competitive Advantage?
With Fleetwood and Day—and any athlete looking to reap the benefits of a hyperbaric chamber—it’s not just about the oxygen, or even the oxygen fluctuations. Athletes need to incorporate additional components to reach their full potential.
Fleetwood and Day both experienced brain-based enhancements thanks to the cognitive training included in the Aviv Medical Program. Nutrition is another area athletes need to be cognizant of, especially when pushing their bodies to maximum output.
A comprehensive program also considers athletes’ unique goals—whether they’re coming off their sports season and are looking to facilitate recovery or want to start a new season in peak physical condition.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are a professional athlete or simply want to advance your athletic capabilities to their best potential, HBOT can help. To truly transform your game, the comprehensive approach of the Aviv Medical Program is second to none in achieving peak performance.
Athletes who go through the Aviv Medical Program may undergo HBOT along with physical, cognitive, and nutritional training. This holistic program is key to helping our patients enhance their health for the long run.
Contact us to learn more about how the Aviv Medical Program can help you achieve your goals.
Choosing the Right Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Program for You
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has become available for more health conditions to help extend healthspan, improve physical performance, and manage cognitive decline. As more facilities providing HBOT open, different types of HBOT technology and treatment protocols have appeared. It has become increasingly important to understand the differences and identify the option best able to meet your health goals and needs.
What are the types of hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers?
There are two types of hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers: multiplace and monoplace chambers.
Multiplace chambers are large, modern, comfortable rooms that feature cushioned seating. They are designed much like a first class airplane seat, with personal entertainment tablets. Aviv Clinics clients receive their HBOT treatments in spacious multiplace chambers that allow them to sit comfortably and engage in brain training during the course of the session.
Aviv Clinics – Multiplace chamber HBOT suite
Monoplace chambers are rigid glass or plastic tubes that are meant for one person. Patients must use them lying down. Most clinics use monoplace chambers. People who are claustrophobic in small spaces might find them confining. People sometimes associate them with hospital burn units, wound care facilities, or MRI machines. They are sometimes even referred to as “Michael Jackson” tubes because the singer reportedly used this method from time to time.
What treatment program is used for HBOT?
HBOT treatment programs can range widely, so it is important to understand which protocol best fits your health goals. Some facilities offer single, spa-like experiences, while others provide basic HBOT for a few sessions to address specific issues. On the other end of the spectrum are comprehensive, research-backed programs, such as the Aviv Medical Program, that address issues such as mild cognitive decline, stroke, Lyme disease, PTSD and fibromyalgia.
Basic hyperbaric oxygen therapy for specific issues, such as gangrene, non-healing wounds, infections, and “the bends” experienced by some divers, has been used for decades. For these conditions, the number of HBOT treatments can be as few as one or two sessions.
A comprehensive HBOT treatment protocol, like the Aviv Medical Program, addresses issues that affect your healthspan and physical and mental performance. It differs not only because of the length—every client does at least 60, two-hour HBOT “dives” throughout the 12-week program—but also because it encompasses more than just hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Clients receive individualized exercise and nutrition coaching, as well as regular check-ins with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, physiologists, nutritionists, neuropsychologists, and other health professionals.
Be aware of clinics that offer unclear treatment protocols. Some of these facilities promote their services as more of a spa-like experience, with no standardized treatment plans or science-backed evidence to support their claims.
Is the HBOT program backed by research?
Review whether the facility you are considering has developed its treatment protocols based on scientific, peer-reviewed research. Every treatment you choose has the ability to affect your body positively or negatively, so doing your research and choosing a reputable clinic is paramount.
The pressure and length of treatments, as well as the oxygen dosage used in Aviv’s HBOT treatments, are the result of over a decade of peer-reviewed scientific research. This comprehensive protocol has been shown to maximize the body’s own regenerative power. It is a unique, proprietary system of modulated oxygen exposure that is only offered by Aviv Clinics.
What type of expert/clinician support is available?
An important consideration when choosing your hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic is the type of expert support available to provide treatment and guidance. The best treatment protocols include a multidisciplinary team.
At Aviv Clinics, clients have access to an expert clinician team that includes physicians, physiologists, psychologists, and nutritionists throughout the 12-week program. The team continues to stay in contact with clients even after the treatment course to ensure they continue their progress. Subsequent six-month follow-up assessments are also part of the program and help clients continue to track their progress.
What assessments are performed?
Tracking progress from the start of the treatment course is needed to confirm whether your health goals were reached. Some clinics include scanning and diagnostic assessments as part of their offerings.
Aviv Clinics offers the industry’s most comprehensive battery of cognitive and physical tests to set a baseline for each client at the start. The Aviv Medical Program assessments include:
- In-depth medical intakes performed by our expert clinical team, including physicians, neuropsychologists, physiologists, physical therapists, and nutritionists
- Full battery of computerized cognitive testing that includes evaluation of your memory, focus, information processing speed, attention, and executive function
- Extensive blood tests
- Advanced MRI brain imaging protocols (anatomical, perfusion, microstructure)
- CPET – a heart and lung performance test to measure how the body produces energy with and without oxygen
- Body composition analysis, including gait, balance, and overall motor functions
- Full genetic sequencing
- Cellular performance tests including a stem cell count and assessment of aging biomarkers such as telomeres, which help to calculate your true biological age
The assessments are repeated at the end of the program. This allows our team to provide clients with a full report, summarizing progress throughout the program, and providing the data and analysis necessary to move forward with health and wellness goals.
Will there be medical support during the HBOT session?
Having professional oversight and support during your HBOT treatment is a critical consideration. At facilities that use small, monoplace tubes, clients are typically monitored through cameras.
At Aviv Clinics, a nurse is present inside the HBOT suite to support clients and ensure appropriate treatment during all hyperbaric dives. A trained technician also monitors the session from outside of the chamber. A physician is on site at all times during treatments as safety is Aviv’s top priority.
Is a comprehensive progress report provided?
Many condition-specific or other facilities work on a session-to-session basis. Even if a long-term recovery plan is the purpose, they may only track progress per HBOT treatment.
Aviv Clinics takes a holistic approach by providing all-encompassing and in-depth reports. After clients complete the Aviv Medical Program, the clinician team provides a detailed before-and-after cognitive and physiological analysis, showing their markers of improvement. Clients review their progress, one-on-one with the physician, who explains and interprets the data, and provides next steps.
The Bottom Line
An HBOT treatment protocol that is backed by research, supported by a multidisciplinary and caring clinician team, and a full range of assessments to show progress are all important considerations for choosing the right HBOT clinic to meet your health goals.
The Aviv Medical Program is rooted in extensive scientific research and trials conducted on HBOT treatment for a variety of conditions, including reversing the signs of biological aging, mild cognitive decline (MCI), post-stroke recovery, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Lyme disease, and Fibromyalgia.
Contact Aviv Clinics to learn more about the Aviv Medical Program and how it can benefit you.
Life After a Diagnosis of Cognitive Decline: What Now?
Whether you have received a diagnosis of mild cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, exploring the possible causes is the first step in moving forward.
Symptoms like forgetting where you have placed your glasses, frequently asking the same question, or failing to recognize familiar people may have led you to seek medical attention. Perhaps your family noticed changes in your mood or personality and urged you to see a doctor. Being evaluated and having a diagnosis may be initially disconcerting and stressful, but how you proceed from here will determine your best outcome.
Often, what may be causing the cognitive issues is something controllable and treatable such as high blood pressure, high blood sugars, stress, anxiety, medications, or drug and alcohol use. No matter what is behind the decline, the key is addressing those things that can be controlled and treated, and then choosing a healthier lifestyle going forward.
What is cognitive decline?
Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. It can range from mild to severe, escalating to the point where the person loses the ability to comprehend, write, or speak. At that stage, a person can no longer live independently.
Age is the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 16 million people in the United States are living with cognitive impairment. An estimated 5.1 million Americans aged 65 and older currently have Alzheimer’s disease, the most well-known form of cognitive impairment; this number may rise to 13.2 million by 2050, the CDC reports.
Stress and anxiety will most certainly follow on the heels of a diagnosis. Learning to cope in healthy ways will be crucial because stress and anxiety can worsen symptoms of cognitive decline. You may be tempted to isolate because you fear being embarrassed by your condition or want to hide your frustration when you are challenged to remember. However, do not shy away from being challenged. Do just the opposite.
Interact even more and engage in things that bring you joy. How you proceed after diagnosis could slow the progression or alter the trajectory of the disease.
Here are six things to do immediately no matter the diagnosis:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, good proteins and healthy fats, and limit those foods that contain saturated fats like butter and cheese. Some examples of brain-beneficial foods include coffee, blueberries, nuts, dark chocolate, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which the brain uses to build brain and nerve cells, and are essential for learning new things and storing memories.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Whenever you exercise, you are pumping more blood to your brain tissues, and with that comes a lot of oxygen and other nutrients vital for the brain’s functioning. Walking or swimming are great ways to get oxygen-rich blood pumping to the brain.
- Challenge your brain daily with activities that keep it stimulated like doing puzzles, taking quizzes, and reading content you enjoy. They help exercise the brain, enhance creativity, improve problem solving, and may slow memory decline.
- Get adequate sleep. Stay away from things that may overstimulate your body like tea or coffee before bedtime. Put down your phone or computer a couple of hours before bedtime so you can decompress naturally and slowly. Sleep allows your body to cleanse the brain of toxins and waste. Getting enough is essential.
- Find a good support system. It will be critical to build a good support system now that you have received a diagnosis. Whether it is a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a support group, having a connection with someone who cares about you and knows what you’re going through can keep you from feeling alone.
- Manage stress. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol will only worsen the symptoms of cognitive decline. Instead, try journaling, prayer, meditation, exercise, or whatever works to calm your inner spirit and reduce your stress load.
In some people, mild cognitive impairment can be reversed or remain stable, especially if it is linked to a medication. For others with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the outlook can be harder to swallow since both are progressive conditions, and symptoms will eventually worsen. However, making lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercising may slow the rate of progression.
The bottom line
Maintaining healthy lifestyle choices, including proper nutrition, exercise, social and cognitive activities, and adequate sleep, may help prevent or delay cognitive decline. For those who receive a diagnosis, the best approach moving forward is to cherish every moment of clarity, enjoy every day you are gifted, and maintain as many healthy choices as possible to slow down the disease.
As leaders in brain performance, the experts at Aviv Clinics understand the impact that a diagnosis of cognitive decline can have. The scientifically proven protocols of the Aviv Medical Program are designed to maintain your cognitive health and even improve the early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
Contact us to schedule a free phone consultation with a client ambassador and learn more about how the Aviv Medical Program can help optimize your brain health and performance.
New Study Shows HBOT Can Reverse the Main Activators of Alzheimer’s Disease and Help Prevent Memory Loss
A groundbreaking new study has brought scientists one step closer to preventing and curing age-related cognitive decline, especially related to early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
This landmark study, published in Aging on September 9th, is part of an ongoing program researching age-related cognitive decline. Conducted by the Sagol School of Neuroscience in Tel Aviv and Tel Aviv University, the study marks the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)—a non-pharmaceutical method—has proven effective in reversing the main activators and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
HBOT is a form of oxygen therapy that involves administering 100% pure oxygen to a patient in a pressurized environment. HBOT has been used for decades to treat other conditions, such as non-healing ischemic wounds, but for the first time, it also has shown promise as a potential treatment for reverse the main activators and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and treat brain and cognitive problems.
A treatment based on this unique protocol is now available at Aviv Clinics Dubai.
Aging and reduced blood flow
The brain is an incredibly complex organism home to a vast network of nerve cells (neurons) that depend on oxygen to thrive. As we age, the number of blood vessels in our brain naturally begins to decline. This causes reduced blood flow to the brain, which in turn causes the brain to receive less oxygen. This decreased blood flow is also known as vascular dysfunction, and it’s a known precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, along with amyloid plaques.
What is an amyloid plaque?
Amyloid plaques are hard, insoluble clusters of proteins formed in the spaces between neurons. They’re formed from beta amyloids—microscopic protein fragments produced by certain cells in the body. In the brain, beta amyloids are found in the fluid between neurons, and a healthy brain usually flushes them out without consequence. However, just like plaque can accumulate on your teeth if you don’t clean them regularly, the same thing can happen in your brain.
As the brain ages, it’s more susceptible to forming amyloid plaques in its blood vessel walls. Once an amyloid plaque forms it can damage the neurons in the brain, ultimately resulting in neuronal death. These plaques are thought to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive decline associated with it.
For years, scientists have wondered whether or not it’s even possible to dissolve or shrink amyloid plaques. The groundbreaking new study proves for the first time that a unique protocol of HBOT can both reverse amyloid plaques and prevent them from forming in the first place.
How HBOT can reverse amyloid plaques
Study researchers initially used HBOT with mice to understand the effect it has on amyloid plaques. In this first part of the study, researchers delivered HBOT to a group of mice whose brains contained amyloid plaques. The mice received two 60 minute HBOT sessions a day, five days a week for four weeks. The researchers discovered that HBOT significantly reduced the amyloid burden in the mice’s brains, decreasing amyloid plaques by over 30% and shrinking plaques by nearly 19%.
HBOT was also shown to prevent the formation of new amyloid plaques, and the mice exhibited improved performance on cognitive tasks when compared to the control group, giving us evidence that HBOT improved their cognitive functions.
The mice-based study gave promising new evidence that HBOT can be used as both a treatment and a preventative measure for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers then sought to use the same protocol with human subjects.
The human test group consisted of six patients around age 70, all suffering from mild cognitive impairment. After receiving 60 daily HBOT sessions over a three-month period, the patients saw significant improvements to their cognitive functions, including better memory recall, concentration, and response times.
The researchers theorize that this is due to HBOT’s ability to increase blood flow in the brain. When the brain receives more blood, it receives more oxygen. And when the brain receives more oxygen, it can function at its full capacity.
What this means going forward
The study gives us hope that HBOT can be used as a viable drug-free and non-invasive method to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, bringing us one step closer to preventing and even repairing memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.
“By treating vascular dysfunction, we’re mapping out the path toward Alzheimer’s prevention. More research is underway to further demonstrate how HBOT can improve cognitive function and become an influential tool in the imperative fight against the disease,” affirms Dr. Shai Efrati, one of the investigators conducting the study.
Dr. Efrati is also a medical advisor to Aviv Clinics in The Villages, Florida, which is the only location in the United States to offer the specific HBOT protocol used in this remarkable study. The Aviv Medical Program uses comprehensive testing and assessments before, during, and after the treatment protocol to track progress and provide multidisciplinary clinical team support.
For more information about the Aviv Medical Program, HBOT treatment, and how it may help your brain health, please contact us.
To read the study published in Journal Aging – click here.
Telomeres and Reverse Aging: A Deep Dive into the Connection
Aging seems to be an inescapable part of life: spines shrink, skin wrinkles, and attention spans dissipate. But what if aging was escapable—or at least reversible? What if scientists were able to target the root cause of aging in our very own cells and treat it as if it were an illness?
Researchers in Israel have conducted the world’s first study to prove that biological aging can be reversed:
- Scientists were able to reverse the biological aging process in “thirty-five healthy independently living adults, aged 64 and older.” Through the targeted application of a unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol.
- Telomeres are one of the critical biomarkers of age, and they naturally shorten during the aging process. The research study showed HBOT may help with “increasing telomere length…in the aging populations.”
- These findings are truly groundbreaking, given the accessibility of hyperbaric oxygen treatment. However, Aviv Clinics in central Florida is the only center in the United States to offer this unique HBOT treatment protocol.
So how did these researchers manage to accomplish such a seemingly impossible task that existed only in science fiction just 50 years ago? The answer lies in telomeres—a critical component of your DNA.
What Are Telomeres?
A telomere is a protective cap found at the end of each DNA strand in the human body. They are considered one of “two key hallmarks of the aging process.”
The two types of age to keep in mind are:
- Chronological age, or how many birthdays you have had
- Biological age, or the age that reflects your body’s functions
When considering telomeres, here’s how they manifest in age:
- Short telomeres equate to an older biological age.
- Longer telomeres equate to a healthier, younger biological age.
So it is entirely within reason for a healthy 60-year-old (chronological age) to be much younger (biologically speaking) if they have long, healthy telomeres to continue to protect their cells.
Telomeres and Shoelaces
Telomeres work much like the hardened end caps of shoelaces. Those components on your shoelaces protect the delicate strings they are connected to. Without a protective cap, a shoelace can quickly become frayed and unusable.
As long as the cap persists, a shoelace can stay intact for quite some time. Similarly, telomeres prevent damage from occurring to your underlying DNA:
- With intact telomeres, your cells are protected and they can continue functioning like normal.
- Without telomeres, your cells essentially begin to age and die.
Telomeres and DNA
DNA is a commonly understood component of human biology. Few people go through life consciously thinking about how DNA functions.
Let’s change that with some facts:
- Your DNA contains the biological instructions necessary for your body to continue developing.
- Millions upon millions of cellular processes occur within a human body at any given time.
DNA manages those processes, calmly instructing your cells to divide, consume, and produce complex proteins to stay alive. Telomeres play a vital role in this function.
Telomere Length Naturally Decreases with Age
As we age chronologically, our telomeres naturally shorten. This exposes our DNA, leaving our bodies vulnerable to the diseases and effects of aging.
Some of the common diseases of aging—onset by shortened telomeres—include:
- Heart disease
When the telomeres in your cells become too short, they enter an aged, unhealthy state called senescence. In senescence, a cell can no longer divide to continue replenishing the body’s vital tissues, which makes a person more susceptible to the diseases listed above.
Stress May Impact Telomere Length
External factors like stress can also affect telomere length. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports:
- “Chronic stress and cortisol exposure decrease your supply” of telomerase—the enzyme that replenishes telomeres. So when stress affects your life heavily, you become more susceptible to shorter telomeres.
- Stress is now “one of the most consistent predictors of shorter telomere length.” Exposure to life hardships (e.g., childhood neglect or caregiving in late adulthood) has been particularly noted for its impact on telomere length.
How Aging Manifests
Keep in mind, aging can look different for everyone. Some individuals may notice physical or cognitive changes as they age.
Physical changes may include:
- Wrinkled or sagging skin
- Whitening or graying hair
- Immune, metabolic, kidney, or liver issues
Cognitive changes may include:
- Memory trouble
- Mood shifts
- Slower executive function (e.g., thinking and decision-making, multitasking)
What Is Reverse Aging?
Now for some good news: Whatever type of aging you face, reversing it is possible. When referring to “reverse aging,” we mean biological age. Though chronological aging is inevitable, certain treatments can manage some of the biological shifts that occur because of natural aging and external factors.
The Research Behind Telomeres and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
With the importance of telomeres and aging now understood, most people ultimately want to know:
- How to protect their telomeres, and
- How to repair any degradation that has already occurred.
The scientific research team led by Dr. Shai Efrati, founder and director of the renowned Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, proved—for the first time—that reversing biological aging is possible.
By using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), Dr. Efrati and his team of scientists were able to increase the length of telomeres in people aged 65 or older by more than 20%.
HBOT involves the patient inhaling pure oxygen in a pressurized environment. This study was conducted on 35 different adults aged 65 and higher. Patients had their blood measured before the study, as well as during the 30th and 60th sessions of HBOT.
The findings were truly unbelievable:
- The telomere length of patients who received HBOT “increased significantly by over 20% following HBOT”—in just three months!
- “There was a significant decrease in the number of senescent [cells],” reducing the number of these dangerous, aging cells with little-to-no telomere length by as much as 37%.
These findings were the basis for creating the cutting-edge HBOT protocol only available at Aviv Clinics.
How Can I Protect My Telomeres?
“Telomere length is genetically determined, with heritability estimates ranging from 44% to 80%.” Fortunately, that still leaves you with a wide margin to protect!
Thankfully, there are many different ways you can protect your existing telomeres and thus control damage and the negative impacts of aging. These include:
1. Exercise Regularly
Research has shown that people with high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than moderately active or sedentary adults. More specifically, adults who regularly exercise demonstrate a biological age difference of nine years when compared to those who don’t.
2. Maintain a Balanced Diet
Like regular exercise, a balanced diet is crucial in protecting telomere length. High levels of body fat create high levels of oxidative stress—stress that directly affects your cellular integrity.
To protect the length of your telomeres, you must reduce the levels of oxidative stress in your body. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants can provide your DNA with the proper protection it needs to maintain healthy, long telomeres.
3. Avoid Smoking & Alcohol Use
You already know that smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t the healthiest decisions—but did you know that people who smoke have shorter telomeres than those who don’t?
Likewise, people who excessively consume alcohol experience faster levels of biological aging than those who don’t. The science is in: If you’re interested in protecting the length of your telomeres, stay away from tobacco and alcohol.
4. Manage Stress
Stress, especially higher cortisol levels, is one of the main reasons for shortened telomeres. Stress takes many forms, but we are mainly concerned with psychological, chronic, and life-related stress.
These kinds of stress raise the levels of oxidative stress placed on the cells of your immune system. Fortunately, there are many wonderful methods for mitigating stress in our daily lives. Whether it is mindfulness, martial arts, or meditation, you will likely be able to find a method that works best for you.
Fight Aging with Aviv Clinics
Aging manifests differently for everyone, but help is available. Aviv Clinic’s age-related decline program is based on research and has helped many clients restore the youthful vitality they seek and deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can boost your cognitive or physical performance while reversing the effects of aging, contact our team.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Induces Cognitive Function: New Study Shows
In the past hundred years, life expectancy has risen from 55 to 80. A critical focus of medicine and healthcare in general, innovative drug therapies, medical devices, and other aspects of modern diagnostic, treatment, and recovery have all played a role in this. The emphasis is now shifting to extending ‘healthspan’ to match lifespan. There are, of course, limits to the physical capabilities of the body but one vital organ, traditionally associated with modern treatment, is proving highly responsive to new therapies. Brain functions can not only be kept from decline but even improved.
Lifestyle changes, specifically diet, physical and mental exercise, have long been recognized to increase cognitive function as we get older. Foods, fitness machines and applications abound explicitly aimed for the older generation. But the elixir of a drug or other therapies that significantly fight age-linked cognitive decline has so far proved elusive.
A recently published study by researchers from Israel has shown that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is emerging as an essential therapy in reversing an age-related decline in cognitive function.
HBOT as an enhancer of brain function
Dr Shai Efrati, Dr Amir Hadanny and a team at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center, lead researchers of a new study published in the peer-review journal, Aging, demonstrated the benefits of an HBOT therapeutic protocol created at the Shamir Medical Center.
The study was a collaboration between the Sackler School of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University.
The study was the first controlled clinical and randomized trial exploring the effect of HBOT on cognitive functions in fit ageing adults. It determined that HBOT was especially beneficial for the participants in improving comprehensive cognitive functions: attention, information processing speed and executive functions.
HBOT is emerging as an essential therapy in reversing an age-related decline in cognitive function.
HBOT’s role in reversing Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Dr Efrati issued a statement marking the publication of the study, in which he underlines the consequences and concerns related to decline in cognitive and functional ability in highly-developed societies:
“Major research efforts around the world are focused on improving the cognitive performance of the so-called ‘normal’ ageing population,” Dr Efrati said. “In our study, for the first time in humans, we have found an effective and safe medical intervention that can address this unwanted consequence of our age-related deterioration.”
Dr Hadanny added the treatment has now been in use for several years and scientists have begun to comprehend how brain function can be restored with HBOT.
“In the past, we have demonstrated HBOT’s potential to improve/treat brain injuries such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and anoxic brain injury (due to sustained lack of oxygen supply) by increasing brain blood flow and metabolism,” Dr Hadanny concluded: “This landmark research could have a far-reaching impact on the way we view the ageing process and the ability to treat its symptoms.”
Mechanism of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Though the brain accounts for only 2% of body mass, it utilizes over 20% of an individual’s oxygen intake, much of the cause of a decline in physical and cognitive functioning can be ascribed to a decrease in efficiency of oxygen processing associated with ageing.
The HBOT protocol targets this problem by placing patients in a pressurized suite where they breathe 100% oxygen. This raised oxygen in the body tissue by between 10 to 15 times above normal. Not only do overall oxygen levels increase, but the fluctuations in the oxygen levels in the body leads to the release of growth factors and stem cells that promote healing.
Conclusions on oxygen and brain function
The study enrolled sixty-three healthy, vigorous adults who were subjected to HBOT for two hours a day, five days a week, for three months. Their cognitive function was measured by using a comprehensive series of computerized cognitive appraisals. Cerebral blood flow was quantified by using a magnetic resonance imaging technique that observes the journey blood takes through the organs and tissues, known as brain perfusion.
Amongst the essential conclusions of the analysis was the correlation between the above-noted improvements and cerebral blood flow to different areas of the brain.
The study swells the mass of data regarding the efficacy of HBOT in generating brain function. Noticeably, the combination of pure oxygen and higher pressure led to increases in tissue oxygenation whilst simultaneously focusing on pressure-sensitive genes. Combined, this enhanced and restored tissue metabolism. This was the first time that such benefits had been observed in healthy patients as previous studies had focused on patients with cerebral impairments due to a range of conditions.
HBOT and reversal of cognitive decline in ageing
The improvements noted in the participants’ attention and cognitive processing speeds, possibly because of amplified blood flow to the brain. HBOT enhanced cerebral blood flow and regenerate brain cells and blood vessels in individuals with no brain damage. Previous studies had concentrated on the benefits to post-stroke, traumatic and anoxic brain injury
These improvements in overall cognitive function were still observable six months after treatment, Dr Efrati, writing in Psychology Today, proposed that the technique might even reverse damaged brain tissue. He further noted that this would be the first time an effective medical intervention had been observed to reverse age-related cognitive decline.
“Most drugs and interventions are at best slowing the expected decline,” he said. “For the first time in humans, we have discovered a way to regenerate the ageing brain — as can be seen by brain MRI — and enable us to gain back the cognitive function of our younger selves.”
The Aviv Clinics, JLT, Dubai U.A.E. is now using this very protocol to stimulate cognitive enhancement in healthy ageing adults.