This post arose from e-mail conversations with a gentleman representing a skin care company with an MLM model who impressed us because he was civil, knowledgeable, and willing to debate the science of his product. His name is Craig Peloquin and his company is Glissandra™ Skincare. Now, we have cursorily looked at the active ingredients, and have some issues on the scientific underpinnings. It basically relates to the theory of hormesis, which is a fancy way of saying a small amount of a thing that is bad for you is good for you. It is what homeopathic medicine relies upon. There is some truth to it, in some therapeutic paradigms, but we see it misapplied all the time. So we will be peppering their scientific advisor with questions once this gets fully underway. But to get things rolling, we are going to allow Craig to state the case for Glissandra’s technology. We will come back later with questions, as comments, which they have graciously agreed to answer.
I want to emphasize that this company scores points from the start just for showing up. Being willing to subject your work to scrutiny is what real science is all about. For this reason, we are going to suspend (at least temporarily) our bias that MLM is inherently evil. We are instead going to test the proposition that it is certain MLM’s that are evil, not the business model itself. In other words, our leap of faith is that an MLM can be a good thing. Having said that, we really are here to talk about science, not the business model. But if they can convince us that the science is sound, then they have taken the first large step in convincing us that a non-evil MLM is at least possible.
So, here is the opening gambit in the debate…
Good day Dr. John, Dr. George, and all the BFT readers.
I thought we could start a new topic for your readers, as I indicated in a previous post I am a senior executive with an anti-aging skin care MLM company with 23 years of real science behind our products and we are more than happy to discuss the science behind our products as well as field any questions you and your readers may have.
I understand the bias in this blog for MLM companies, so let’s keep the business side out of this debate, since your blog is about science, let’s stick with the science.
Your readers will have their own opinion of MLM companies, of which obviously I am a strong proponent to this marketing concept. (bias acknowledged)
I thought that the best way to start would be to open the topic with the Theories of Aging. This way we can look at all scientific approaches, not just the ones that we personally have an interest in.
Theories of Aging
Let me introduce my Chief Technology Officer, Prof. Robert Kam-Ming Ko. He is currently the Professor in the Division of Life Science at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he went on to Canada and obtained his Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of British Columbia in 1990.
He then returned to Hong Kong to pursue his research work on Chinese herbal medicine. His research focuses on antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties in Chinese tonifying herbs in establishing their scientific basis in terms of modern medicine. He has edited three books and published more than 180 scientific papers and book chapters on related topics.
I trust that this information would be sufficient to qualify him as an expert in his field and he will be actively following our debate that will be copied on my blog at www.antiagingskincarescience.blogspot.com.
Let us start with the theories of aging.
Aging is a consequence of changes that are harmful, progressive, and thus far irreversible in most living organisms, including humans. Age-associated damage occurs to biomolecules, cells, and organs. Diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart diseases, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease occur more frequently with old age.
The biochemical mechanism of aging has long been an area of intensive research, and a number of theories of aging have been proposed, including the neuro-endocrine theory, which links aging to hormonal changes; immunological theory, which attributes aging to immune system dysfunction; telomerase theory, which relates to the shortening of chromosomes during cell division; and oxidative stress theory, which refers to free radical damage to cells; stem cell exhaustion, which refers to the decline in the regenerative potential of tissues due to decreased number of stem cells, and the decline in their abilities to differentiate.
Among these theories, it is reasonable to distinguish those that attempt to establish primary causes of aging from those that are secondary. For example, the telomerase theory may be secondary since the decrease in telomerase activity can be caused by the increase in cellular oxidative stress.
In gerontology, the study of aging, oxidative stress is increasingly recognized as the primary cause of aging.
The role of mitochondrial decay in aging
If oxidative stress is indeed the primary factor in skin aging, it is important to understand its roots. Scientists now believe that oxidative stress may be caused by mitochondrial decay. Mitochondria, the chief producers of both energy and oxidants inside the cell, play a critical role in the process of aging.
As energy producers, mitochondria convert unusable forms of energy into a usable chemical form known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is required for all vital cellular chemical reactions throughout the body. During the metabolic cycle of ATP production, oxidants are released from the mitochondria as harmful by-products that can damage important biomolecules, such as DNA, lipids, and proteins. At the same time, the mitochondria themselves are also victims of this metabolic cycle of ATP production as they are highly susceptible to damage by the oxidants thus released.
Over time, largely due to cumulated damage by the oxidants, the functional capabilities of mitochondria deteriorate; the production of ATP declines and the release of oxidants increases. The latter inflicts greater damage to the mitochondria, which in turn results in accelerated oxidant production. This is the vicious cycle of mitochondrial decay. If left unchecked, mitochondrial decay leads to cumulative damage in cellular biomolecules, resulting in a host of age-related diseases.
Effects of mitochondrial decay on the skin
The skin is the body’s largest organ. The consequence of cumulative damage in skin cell biomolecules is a corresponding increase in the depletion of important extracellular components, such as collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, among others. The loss of these significant components is manifested in the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, droopiness, pigmentation, puffiness, skin inelasticity, enlarged pores, dryness, and a dull skin tone.
An increasing amount of scientific evidence confirms that mitochondrial decay is the fundamental cause of aging; therefore, scientists are endeavoring to find remedies to reverse the declining functional capabilities of mitochondria due to aging.
More information on mitochondrial decay and theories of aging can be found at these independent websites:
National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov)
Natural Standard (http://www.naturalstandard.com)
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