The Elderly

By “elderly” we mean nothing more than someone who has an advanced case of vitamin MePA deficiency disease. What happens when such an individual begins to take Dr. Aardsma’s Vitamin MePA Dietary Supplement? An account of the first such case follows.

by Gerald Aardsma; October 10, 2017

I shared my concern for my elderly mother in Aging: Cause and Cure (pages 17–18).

Far more than just curiosity has motivated my efforts to unlock the mystery of human longevity these past four decades. The question of why human life spans were once more than ten times what they are today is one of enormous practical significance. Indeed, there is no medical or scientific question of greater practical significance than this one. It was clear from the start that a correct understanding of why human life spans were so much greater in antiquity might open the door to an understanding of how to extend human life spans today. I was not much concerned about extending my own life span. In our twenties, old age mistakenly seems remote. It was my parents I thought of most often, and ever more urgently as the decades passed.

Dad died in 2000, just a few weeks short of his 77th birthday. He was a good man who had devoted his life to ministry rather than money, with malice in his heart toward no one. The world would be a better place were he still with us.

Mom, now in her late eighties, still retains her natural poise, combined with a New England Yankee reserve and fortitude. I continue to scramble, in hopes that I am not too late to see my youthful dream fulfilled in her.

Mom has lived by herself in an apartment in New Hampshire since fairly shortly after Dad died. My younger sister lives nearby and has been doing a truly remarkable job of watching over Mom.

Mom has been slowly declining in overall health, as is normal with the aging disease. She now uses a walker to get around.

Mom initially declined my offer of the vitamin. I accepted her refusal and made no attempt to push it on her—such things take time to adjust to—even though I knew she was making a very poor choice for her health. Fortunately, my brother and two sisters were able, over the ensuing weeks, gently to help Mom work through her qualms about the vitamin. She started taking Dr. Aardsma’s Vitamin MePA Dietary Supplement on August 29, 2017.

I emailed her that day:

Expect it to take about a month for the vitamin to build up in your body before you begin to notice any changes to anything.

Much to my surprise, Mom wrote back later the same day:

It has started working already, I think, because the left arm I broke has a lot more strength in it and doesn’t feel shrunken like it did before, but I know this would be very sudden. I am very sensitive, however. Time will tell.

Mom had broken her arm in a fall in her apartment three years earlier. Fortunately, a great-granddaughter was spending the night. Though she was only five or six years old, she was able to call 911 for help. My sister remembers the break as follows:

Her left arm had broken just below her shoulder. She was put in a sling and we set up temporary quarters for her in our dining room. She stayed with us for, I think, two weeks at the most. Then she felt well enough and stable enough to go back to her own place. She had visiting nurses here and at her place and had therapy for it.

It healed well, according to the doctors and x-rays, but she always complained that it gave her a little pain, and she couldn’t fully extend it above her head. I figured it was bone pain she’d have to live with, like arthritis, because of the break.

I don’t remember details of the break, but my brain flags it as “a nasty break”.

I wrote back to Mom the same day:

It seems early, but we have lots to learn about this vitamin yet.

A big question is how fast we should expect results of any kind in the elderly. Noah’s healing was slow, but he was physiologically only 50 at the start of the Flood. It seems possible that the more advanced the disease is, the more rapid initial healing may be.

I heard from Mom again a week later:

Coming in on a wing and a prayer. Just want you to know I am feeling much better and have become creative again. Hoping to set up a little spot in the bedroom for crafting this winter. I am adding more steps outside every day and expect soon to visit the Adirondacks.

This email about knocked me over. As a boy growing up at home I observed a woman, my mother, who was creative by temperment, talented musically, with a natural aptitude for fashion, and a joie de vivre. But much of this had dropped away over the last few decades. Suddenly, in this short email, the person I had known was back.

“Coming in on a wing and a prayer” is from a popular WWII song, in reference to a badly crippled bomber struggling to return to base in England. Mom, in this succinct and artful manner, playfully summarized the start of her own journey back toward health and youthfulness with vitamin MePA.

The visit to the Adirondacks would mean a visit to my brother Allen’s place, hours away in northern New York. I couldn’t remember a time in recent years when Mom had ventured such a trip. Only a few weeks previously I would have judged it to be outside the realm of possibility.

I wrote back promptly:

Goodness, Mom, you sound about forty years younger! Wow!

With our trust in the Lord,

I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. Mom had indeed gone to visit my brother and was spending a few weeks with him.

On September 20, 2017, I wrote my sister, as follows, for her observations so I could add them to my science journal.

For my records, what is your (candid) impression at this point regarding the effect of the vitamin on Mom so far?

She promptly replied:

It seems to have given her a new lease on life.

She says her broken arm that she hadn’t been able to extend fully she can now move with ease.

She hasn’t had any consistent help with her sleeping. Two nights before she went to Allen’s she said something like she barely slept at all, and chalked it up to being too wound up. But she slept very well the night before going.

By the “new lease on life” statement I mean this: she seems happier and more at peace.

I wrote my brother with the same question the same day. He evidently misunderstood my purpose (to collect objective observations from others) and wrote back the following:

Mom and I just took a ride through the country, over the mountain range behind us. Quite an adventure. She enjoyed it.

I’m taking dictation from Mom, regarding your question about how MePa is affecting her:

After two hours, my left arm—that had felt broken—felt normal, and I could use it as I did before!

Digestion: I could not eat hardly at all without choking and sneezing [I have a hiatal hernia]. I can now swallow. Makes me feel more relaxed.

I could hardly stand up and walk; now, at least, I can get around better.

Using the walker, I was able to go to Burlington, yesterday, and walk around quite a lot. I ate in a restaurant without choking.

I think I sleep sounder.

I definitely feel happier.

I have a desire to paint, once again. [Bird houses, etc.] I had lost any desire to do anything.

I had a good report on my eyes: they are holding their own. The Dr. says, “No change.” My left eye is pretty bad.

I don’t know what else to say.

Thank you for it!

Another week later, my brother provided these observations:

Mom sings the praises of MePa. She believes it snatched her back from the brink of death. [My words, not hers.] In her words, she said, yesterday, that, a few weeks ago, she thought she was dying; could hardly stand up; couldn’t lift her left arm. Now, she truly does seem to be doing much better. And as you’ve pointed out, her mind seems to have rejuvenated.

Mom wrote October 02, 2017. She had decided to move in with my brother and his family.

The ride back to NH yesterday was just beautiful. Acres of corn waiting to be harvested and lots of apples to be picked along the Champlain Valley.

I am so glad to be thinking of moving back to where we served the Lord years ago. I always loved the Adirondack mountains, and am a camper at heart.

Today I need to walk outside and put more steps on the Fitbit. I do feel stronger in the spine area and can walk without the cane or walker for awhile, but it is wiser to use something when I am alone.

We hope to make the move in about 30 days.

Blessings on all of you.

My youthful dream appears to be coming true.

February 1, 2018 Update

Mom moved in with my brother and his wife, Allen and Robin, on October 25, just a few weeks before her 86th birthday. My brother is an accomplished artist who makes truly beautiful wildlife carvings for a living. You can look him up at Pondside Studio. Allen and I are just fourteen months apart in age, he the elder. Some people thought we were twins when we were growing up. I have come to see us as more of a particle–antiparticle pair than as twins: he the artist, me the scientist.

Allen commented in an email on November 2, 2017:

Mom seems to be doing very well. I hesitate to be too positive…about anything, ; ) , but in my opinion, she actually seems to be gaining strength.

He emailed again on December 17, 2017:

Mom has asked me to let you know three things:

  1. Ever since December 3rd, according to her records, her blood-sugar has been under 200, which is quite a bit better than it had been.
  2. “The pharmacist told me I had built up a resistance to the Xanax and it wasn’t working anymore. So, I’m gradually getting off that, very slowly…and sleeping well.” [She has cut the pills into quarters, and plans to take one quarter per day, until they’re gone.]
  3. “The heart medicine [Flecainide] was stopped [ran out] four days ago, and I seem to be doing OK.” [We are still working on getting Mom a new doctor at the clinic here. I have called them, repeatedly. I will call them again, tomorrow. Bottom line: Mom would like to take less medicine, and she feels that having less stress here, she doesn’t need as much medicine. This is something for her new doctor to determine… when we get her a new doctor.]

“I really love it here. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.”

And then, a few weeks later, on December 30, Allen wrote:

We had a bit of a “scare” this morning. Mom got up around 6 to use the bathroom but ended up on her back on the floor in the narrow walkway between her bed and her bureau. She says she was unable to get to her feet or to scoot herself along to get out of that confined space, though she was able to cover herself with a couple blankets. Thankfully, Robin got up to use the bathroom at 6:30, so Mom called to her. Robin came back to the bedroom and got me up, and I was able to lift Mom to her feet. From there, she was able to navigate back onto her bed.

We are so thankful that there are no broken bones or injuries of any sort [that we’re aware of at this time], though I would be amazed if there aren’t bruises somewhere.

We are also thankful she was only on the floor for 1/2 hour, as the floor is rather cold and her room is cool, too, being at the far end of the cabin from the wood stove.

She got back into bed, and we put a couple extra blankets over her and got her a cup of Postum to help her warm up.

It was obvious that her mind had been busily thinking about her situation while she was lying on her back for the 1/2 hour, but was a bit confused for a minute or two after we picked her up.

Presently, she is sleeping.


Some random thoughts:

We suspect it is very likely that the fall occurred because she tried to stand up too soon after sitting up in bed—not allowing enough oxygen to circulate to her brain before standing up. We will work on helping her adopt a new procedure.

I will soon have some devices in place to enable Mom to signal us, in case this ever happens again. Bells, cordless buzzers, etc. To the best of our ability, we’ll see to it that she can get our attention if this ever happens again.

We were finally able to get Mom’s papers transferred from NH to NY, several days ago—after many phone calls over the past few weeks to attempt to speed the process. About a week after the transfer occurred, the clinic called us to set up a new patient appointment. The earliest appointment they could give us was for January 30! When I expressed my concern that Mom should be seen right away so her new doctors could assess her health and re-prescribe the heart medicine she had recently run out of, I was told that I could take her to an urgent care, if I needed to do so!

So, Mom has not been taking her heart medicine prescription for about two weeks, now. And, frankly, she has seemed to be getting along perfectly well without it: ambulatory, happy, busy, comfortable, etc. I plan to ask her the medicine’s name, today, and research what it is for. I will also try—again—to get a prescription for it approved, but, being a Saturday, I doubt I’ll make much headway.

I look forward to visiting with Mom, later today, after she awakes, to set her mind at ease as much as I can, and to talk with her about ways we can prevent repeat incidences.

Mom is aware that “the clock is ticking” on her health and life. She has referred to this fact a number of times over the past few weeks. She knows the time will come when she is no longer as ambulatory as she is now. She has been doing amazingly well to this point to keep herself “up and running”, but she knows it won’t last.

I’ll write again, later today, to keep you informed. Please feel free to express any thoughts or suggestions you may have.

There is no major alarm; I just wanted to update you.

I replied the same day:

Not a nice way to start the day, for any of you!

Please, don’t let this scare panic any of you, especially Mom. Remember that Noah’s physiological age decreased just one month per calendar year. This says that convalescence is expected to be a long, slow process in the case of MePA deficiency disease. I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that the vitamin changes some things quickly. For example, the immune system evidently rejuvenates rapidly, and sleep patterns and mental acuity improve rapidly for many people. But Noah’s experience teaches us that restoration of overall youthfulness is not rapid. Mom is expected to continue to be in her mid-eighties, physiologically, for several decades.

But, Mom is not expected to continue to decline, and I don’t think this fall says that she is declining. Remember that she fell several years ago. She advanced in vitamin MePA deficiency disease some three physiological years after that fall before she began to take vitamin MePA. So, simple math says that we can expect falling to continue to be a risk for Mom for at least the next three or four decades.

Now pay attention to the fact that the outcome of this fall has clearly been much less serious than her previous fall. This observation removes any logical basis for concluding that Mom’s health is declining. I would go on to suggest that you will likely find Mom’s recovery from this fall to be surprisingly rapid, as another rapid (immune system related) effect of the vitamin appears to be faster, less inflamed, less painful healing.

You are quite right to take action to reduce Mom’s risk of falling, and to make sure Mom can quickly get the help she needs in the event that she does fall. Again, this is expected to continue to be a risk for decades.

Allen sent the following update later the same day:

Mom’s outlook took a nosedive after her fall this morning, but she recovered quickly and had a fine day.

Before the day was over, she had gotten out the wig I bought her for Christmas, trimmed it up a bit, and was wearing it around the house . . . feeling happy and young again. ; )

We’ll be watching Craig’s List for an inexpensive exercise bike—something she has said she enjoyed using in the past.

We had some good laughs, today, and “laughter doeth good, like medicine.”

On January 17, 2018, Allen wrote again:

Mom is doing beautifully. She seems to be getting younger every day!

Helen and I received a nice card from Mom earlier this week, dated January 24, 2018:

I am taking the MePA Vit and have to go for my Dr’s appt on the 30th. I stopped the Xanax for anxiety and sleeplessness and am using 1-1/2 grams of melatonin and sleeping soundly! (The 1st in years.) Also, stopped the heart pill (Flecainide) for AFIB. It had too many side effects. Will let you know how I make out!

I love it here, and Allen takes us out when we get “cabin fever.”

The scenery is gorgeous up here. The sunsets, magnificent! This is a little bit of heaven on earth.

This Just In

Allen had the following comments after checking the above update:

The doctor’s visit, two days ago, went very well. Mom’s new (young) doctor was concerned that Mom is taking Glipizide, which she says has been linked to hypoglycemic problems—people fainting, falling, not knowing what they were doing, etc. She, therefore, has replaced Glipizide with Metformin, which she says will eliminate that concern. So Mom wonders, now, whether the falls she has experienced may have been because of Glipizide. Nonetheless, that last fall has taught her to be careful when she sits up.

Mom is quite happy that her new doctor says she is free to eat whatever she wants [sweets and desserts]… in small quantities, of course. I give Mom high marks for the self-discipline she has been exercising in this area for the past three months. I don’t think she’ll throw off all self-restraint now, but she does feel happier to think she can loosen up a little.

Mom is no longer taking Xanax—an anxiety med. She took herself off it and doesn’t believe she needs it any longer. She is in a quiet, low stress environment, and she is staying as close to the Lord as she can—maintaining a thankful, joy-filled attitude; avoiding negativity. We enjoy grace-founded family devotions several evenings per week. Mom and I have recently begun working through Future Grace by John Piper for 1/2 hour each morning after breakfast. The frequent “washing” and “renewing of the mind” by the “word of His grace” is, I believe, having a positive effect on Mom.

Nor is she taking Flecainide any more—her heart medication.

Nor is she taking any more Melatonin or anything else to help her sleep. She says she is sleeping beautifully.

Our lifestyle is quite regular and peaceful. We go to bed at about the same time every night; we get up at about the same time each morning; we eat at regular times; our diet is simple and repetitive; there is no background noise—squabbling, TV, radio; the cabin is quiet and cozy; there are no near neighbors, so no noise; we are far enough back from the road to seldom hear any road noise; the phone seldom rings… It would be difficult, I think, to find a quieter, more peaceful home with five adults in it.

She is slowly working her way off Escitalopram—an anti-depressant. It was prescribed at 20mg. She now takes only half a pill—10 mg. In a couple weeks, she plans to reduce to 5 mg, then, eventually, none.

These medications are still available to her, in case she gets to the place where she feels she needs them, which I believe is a comfort to her.

She is motivated—either internally or by my periodic encouragement and rare example—to do some daily exercises. This is a significant point to me, as it takes quite a bit of initiative to exercise. I wonder whether Mom’s initiative is not another positive result of MePA.

Presently, she does her exercising in the house. When it warms up enough, and things outside are not so icy, she looks eagerly forward to getting outside and doing some walking. She also plans to begin going to church on Sundays—weather permitting.

March 5, 2018 Update

Allen wrote yesterday to me and my siblings:

Mom has recently completed a number of fridge magnets. They are beautiful, and they showcase her original, unique, creative, lovely art.

They are all hand-painted birds or scenes on slices of sanded Ironwood from this area.

I thought we should give you first choice of her work, before offering it to the public on my website or in local stores.

He included the following photo.

My heart sings to see my Mom, at the age of 86, making beautiful artistic creations once again.

March 29, 2018 Update

This update is by Allen Aardsma. It was originally an email to his brother, Gerald Aardsma.

The primary reason for this email is to pass along a comment Mom made concerning MePA. First, let me tell you how the comment came about.

I was carving away, yesterday afternoon around 3:30, when my peripheral vision caught something white waving unnaturally at the far side of the property. I looked up to give it a closer look, and watched it for several seconds, concluding it must be a white plastic grocery bag waving in the breeze. But there really wasn’t much of a breeze, and it wasn’t moving naturally. So, I picked up my nearby binoculars to have a better look.

I still couldn’t make anything out. The property slopes gently away from the studio down to the spot I thought I was seeing something in, and there was a snowdrift and a swathe of dead goldenrod and briars between me and the spot, so the area I was examining was almost hidden from my view.

I stood up and took the binoculars to the glass door for a better view.

I still couldn’t make it out, though I was thinking “turkeys”. “Maybe there’s an albino turkey lurking over there, or a turkey with a white wing patch.”

While I was thinking these thoughts, a “white” turkey head and neck stretched up and waved around! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Then light dawned.

The thing waving around in the air was the curved, peeled end of the staff I recently made for Mom.

“Now, what in the world is Mom waving that around for?! HOW is she waving it around in such a way that I can’t see her?!”

Light dawned again.

“Mom has fallen!”

Sure enough, a quick sprint from the studio, down the length of the snowdrift (in ankle-high boots!) to the far corner of the lot revealed Mother lying on her back in the briar patch with her head “pillowed” on a strand of rusty barbed wire, waving her staff in the air to catch my attention.

It was a very enjoyable and alluring 50 degrees outside yesterday, so Mom got out for a walk. She had sat for quite a while, swinging gently, on the 3-seater swing just outside the studio door. But I hadn’t noticed when she left the swing to try to connect with an elderly neighbor lady who was out walking in the adjacent field. Evidently, in her hurry to catch the lady’s attention, Mom got tripped up by the briars and landed—miraculously—on her back in almost a depression of old cedar stumps and briars at the very corner of the property where turkeys and other critters cross through the fence—the one place where she was almost totally hidden from my view.

The briars had such a hold on her coat, she was unable to roll over or extricate herself! She was wearing a white faux-sheepskin coat—it was a white sleeve waving slowly that first caught my attention. But it was the end of her hiking staff that finally solved the mystery for me and galvanized me into action.

The good news is that—again, miraculously—she was relatively unscathed. She has a slight cut and bruise on her lower lip where, possibly, the staff whacked her as she fell. ??? The outside half of her right hand is quite discolored where a minor blood vessel was broken—either when she fell or when I lifted her to her feet. She says, this morning, that she has a slightly bruised hip, as well. But, when one considers what might have happened, this is “relatively unscathed”. It was a bit of a scare, but no harm done.

She seems to be doing very well again this morning—physically and emotionally. She knows she needs to be a bit more careful in future about walking around outside. She also knows she had better take her “beeper” with her, from now on.

Anyhow… back to the primary reason for this email.

Mom said she was feeling so youthful and happy, yesterday. We had an uplifting devotional time together in the morning, for one thing. And, then, it was such a warm and pretty day.

But she wonders whether it might be possible that MePA may cause an elderly person’s mind to become more youthful faster than the person’s body. If so, it might be necessary to warn the elderly to beware of “tripping on the briars”, so to speak.

Seems a worthwhile thought.

December 28, 2019 Update

Allen emailed the following photo and sound file of Mom and him making some down-home music together just prior to bedtime. They’re playing “I’ve Got a Mansion.” Mom is 87 in this photo.