A few extra pounds make you look youthful

Copenhagen: A little extra weight can make you look up to seven years younger, according to researchers in Denmark.

In addition a happy family life and plenty of money are also contribute to better ageing, says a study that examined the effects of lifestyle, medical history and diet on the way that men and women age.

The duty by scientists at the University of Southern, also discovered that a happy marriage can bring special benefits for a woman – making her look almost two years younger by the time she reaches middle age. Marital harmony can make men, in turn look up to a year younger. When there are children, fathers tend to look a year younger.

Having children has no perceived effect on a woman’s looks – possibly because women are more likely to take charge of the childcare – and the effects disappear in families with more than four children.

Belonging to a higher social class – with both looking up to four years younger than their true age.

Professor Kaare Christensen, lead author from the University of Southern Denmark, said the study revealed that high social status, low levels of depression and marriage were linked with a more youthful appearance.

The study, being published in Ae and Ageing, asked a group of nurses to guess the ages of 1,826 identical and non-identical twins, all in their seventies, after looking at photographs of their faces.

Scientists then compared the average age estimates with environmental factors such as marital status, parenthood, class and lifestyle choices.

They concluded that while looking young is an indicator of good health, looking old for one’s age is conversely associated with increased mortality.

Heavy drinking was found to put a year on the faces of both sexes along with chronic asthma, diabetes and regularly taking painkillers. Over-exposure to the sun was seen to add 1.3 years to a woman’s perceived age while depression made women look 3.9 years older and men 2.4 years older. Though 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years was found to add only a year of extra wrinkles to men and half that to women.

Contrary to popular expectation, however, putting on weight with age was found to have a positive effect on keeping a youthful appearance.

For men, adding two points to their body mass index can take a year off their age while women can benefit from the same effect by adding seven points to their BMI.

These findings support previous studies which show that non-genetic factors account for approximately 40 per cent of the variations in a person’s perceived age.

Professor Christensen added: ‘Our study confirms previous findings of a negative influence of sun exposure, smoking and a low BMI index on facial ageing.

‘It is a lot more dangerous looking one year older than being one year older.

‘If you are not depressed, not a smoker and not too skinny, you are basically doing well.’ Combining the various factors can explain why some people, for example those in their forties, can look substantially younger than their peers.

According to the study, a married woman with a high social status, who has not spent a lot of time in the sun, could look at least seven years younger than a woman who is single, of a low social class and has spent excessive time soaking up harmful rays.

Dr Karlis Ullis MD – Santa Monica


Dr Karlis Ullis MD
The Sports Medicine & Anti-Aging Medical Group
1807 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica
California 90403
T: 310 829 1990
F: 310 829 5134
Dr Karlis Ullis MD is an internally recognised authority on anti-ageing medicine and sports medicine. He is the author of “Age Right” (Simon & Schuster, 1999), a ground-breaking book on practical, easy to use anti-ageing inventions for the consumer. He first began developing his theories on anti-ageing medicine while at UCLA where he worked with some of the world’s greatest athletes, including Olympic Gold Medalist Gail Deevers, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Mike Powell and “Flo Jo” Joyner and NBA star Reggie Miller. When he began applying these anti-ageing techniques to patients in his private practice the results were startling: middle-aged men and women who had accepted decline in their health as a fact of life were revitalised.

Dr Ullis is also the author of “Super T” (Fireside/Simon&Schuster 1999) which explains how testosterone is the fuel for energy and sex and “The Hormone Revolution Diet” (Avery Press, 2003).

His clinic, The Sports and Anti-Aging Medical Group utilises the latest in scientific evaluation tools. Customised programmes are developed for each patient. Tests include blood and urine oxidative DNA damage ageing tests, early cancer detection panels, vitamins, antioxidents and trace minerals are measured. Total body scans to detect early atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and early cancer detection.

Dr Ullis also acts as a consultant to Sly Stallone’s nutrient company – www.instonenutrition.com

General Advice


Warning: Certain supplements and hormones may pose health risks for some individuals. You should also be aware that many claims for health and anti-ageing products are not always substantiated by medical evidence and/or long-term studies. Always take the advice of a qualified medical practitioner/doctor, particularly if you have persistent systoms.

Care should be taken not to take high doses of some vitamins and supplements, particularly Vitamins A and D which are stored by the body and can be toxic in large amounts. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA ) or Reference Daily Intake (RDI) varies (although the US/UK recommendations are similar ) but does not take into account, gender, age, current state of health or environmental factors. For this reason Elixir News does not state these doses. It is therefore wise to consult a doctor or nutrionist rather than rely on RDA or manufacturers guidelines.

Taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day, for example, could cause diarrhoea, while high intakes of calcium (above 1,500 mg a day) and iron (above 17mg a day) may result in similar symptoms in some people. Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid) may cause facial flushing if taken at high doses, while excess zinc can reduce copper absorption, leading to anaemia. While many women take doses of around 100mg of vitamin B6 to ease PMT symptoms, high levels could cause nerve damage. Such damage has only been noticed at 1,000mg, but the US’s FDA recommends people take no more than 10mg a day. Similarly with minerals care should be taken not to exceed recommended doeses. There are also concerns over the mineral chromium picolinate as it has been linked to cancer.

Where we know about concerns over a supplement or where it has been banned outright we will post these details on our banned/redlight section. You should also reassure youself that the supplements you buy are of the highest quality.

The advice of a specialist doctor should be sought for guidance on the right supplements for you. A doctor may advise various blood tests to determine these -see AntiAgeing Tests.