The logic I have followed is that the whole is far more important than the parts; a personís life determines the activity of his cells, not vice versa. And yet these arenít irreconcilable approaches, for no one can outlive his cells–that much is certain.
If you look at life through the eyes of a geneticist, it means nothing that a very old person has a strong will to live or enjoys the simple pleasures of life. And indeed such facts may be insignificant in terms of DNAís original programming, but as the outcome of a life well spent, it is enormously significant–indeed, it is the most significant thing.
Outside the biologistís test tubes and flasks, DNA gets influenced by your every thought, feeling, and action. The stress hormones that play such a critical part in aging are regulated by RNA, which is a copy of DNA; even though the DNA itself may sit quietly in its vault, its active twin is constantly changing instructions.
When you make a lifestyle change that reduces stress, the RNA in your cells responds by churning out fewer stress hormones.
One cannot assume that injecting growth hormone does not have long-term side effects. This may not prove true for older people with abnormally low levels of naturally occurring growth hormone, but for normal people, extra growth hormone is useless for rejuvenation purposes.
Interfering at a gross level with the bodyís function does not really affect the source of the problem. Giving a drug, even one the body produces itself, can effectively push the physiology one way or another, but the body remembers what it wants to do, and until that memory is changed, there will always be imbalance.
Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).