It's never been a better time to be in the business of peddling
the fountain of youth. Thanks in large part to retiring baby
boomers who are spending their hard-earned pensions and 401(k)s on
creams, pills, syringes, and deodorant-like sticks full of magic,
the anti-aging market will be a nearly
$300 billion industry
Taking into account that actual product efficacy is a mixed bag,
following are a few of the paths the Western world is paving on its
tireless quest to turn back the arthritic hands of time.
Human Growth Hormone
More energy. Tighter and more radiant skin. Increased lean muscle
mass. Improved mood. A better sex life. These are the unbelievable
benefits being attributed to human growth hormone (hGH).
Hollywood has apparently been
lining up for shots
of this stuff. Although it's supposed to be tightly regulated and
reserved for patients with rare disorders like pituitary adenoma,
doctors are injecting the A-listers away and writing them
prescriptions for products like
) Genoropin so they can conveniently shoot up hGH at home.
The market is also seeing hGH pop up in pill form. Vaguely
pharmaceutical-sounding SanMedica International has an oral product
. Nevermind that the FDA hasn't touched it with a 10-foot pole; it
got all the endorsement it needed to fly off the shelves when Dr.
Oz plugged it on his show.
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau don't know how good they had it. If
the incessant TV drug ads are any indication, being a grumpy old
man is no longer an acceptable part of aging.
After age 30, men gradually stop beating their chests and are able
to commit increasing brain power to subject matters not related to
their sex life. . These are symptoms -- along with occasional,
aforementioned grumpiness -- of the body's natural decline in
testosterone production. They are also what make men grown-ups.
But underarm gels and solutions like
) AndroGel and
) Axiron have been developed to fix "low T," a condition considered
by some critics to be a pharmaceutical-company-invented syndrome.
The risks run the gamut between cardiovascular distress and
Stem Cell Treatments
No longer just a breakthrough medicine for age-related diseases
like cancer, spinal-cord injuries, diabetes, or Parkinson's, stem
cell therapy is now being used to "treat" aging. Get a load of
these surgical nuggets.
A cosmetic clinic in Beverly Hills tried to give a patient a
face-lift by injecting the area around her eyes with the stem cells
isolated from her abdomen fat during her tummy tuck along and some
dermal filler. While it's a nice use of the
two-birds-with-one-stone idiom, the more than $20,000 procedure
bone fragments around her eyes
Scientific American suspects dozens, if not hundreds, of clinics
around the country are using similar stem cell treatments that are
neither tested nor FDA approved and cost anywhere between $3,000
and $30,000. The StemGenex clinic in La Jolla, CA, for example,
will make you a
natural Brazilian butt
with your very own fat. And if stem cell clinics like Doral, FL's
Nuvocell do in fact become the
for hair loss treatment, we'll all be fabulous at our own
open-coffined wakes with lustrous, full heads of hair.
It's tragic enough that we've been steadily losing the Florida
panther to overdevelopment in the South, but soon the US Fish &
Wildlife Service may have another species to add to its endangered
list: the silver fox.
In less than two years, the mass market will see the introduction
of an anti-gray-hair pill from cosmetics company
(EPA.OR). What's currently a "watertight proof of concept" will be
full production by 2015
Employing fruit extracts that mimic certain natural enzymes, in
theory, the pill will prevent the buildup of hydrogen peroxide in
hair follicles -- which causes oxidative stress and graying.
"Prevent" is the operative word here. This isn't a gray-reversing
supplement, so if you've already been sprayed with (as Bill Cosby
put it) "God's graffiti," you're out of luck.
In fact, this treatment is really only designed for those still in
the prime of their locks. Those who find complete success with the
pill may have to start popping it a full
Wrinkle-Fighters, Fat-Busters, Breast Enhancers, and
Like its trademarked name suggests, the
science-based aesthetic product offerings
from pharmaceutical giant
) have the age-afraid around the globe covered from head to toe.
After all, this company is the mother of Botox, which is expected
to become a
$3 billion market
Also, as the creator of the original
system, Allergan may be responsible for getting Chris Christie
fit enough for a presidential bid
in a few more years, and for giving Halle Berry a few more
blockbuster movie nude scenes, thanks to the company's Natrelle
breast implants and tissue expanders. Then there's
for the weak-eyelashed among us and, last but certainly not least,
a number of creams and lotions for the wrinkle-wrought.