The Anti Aging Institute of the Americas – Costa Rica’s Answer to Cenegenics
After a short article appearing months ago in the Tico Times newspaper about a new anti-aging clinic, (Can Anti Aging Treatments Unlock the Fountain of Youth), I recently met with Dr. Leslie Mesen, Chief Medical Officer of the Anti Aging Institute of The Americas to get a more detailed description of his expanded services. The clinic is located in The Country Plaza, across the street from the Villas del Rio condos, and kitty-cornered to the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazu. The offices and treatment rooms are on the second floor, where I sat down with Dr. Mesen and inquired, “Just what is ‘anti-aging’ all about and what is Cenegenics?”
The goal is to allow our patients to continue to be active and to look and feel younger as they advance through middle age and beyond. Our mission is to give patients a vehicle to live active fulfilling lives, giving them the additional energy to live engaged, active and enriched life styles. Growing older is inevitable but looking and feeling older is a personal decision. We offer our patients a model, and if they embrace it, it will allow them to perform at the top range of their age group, physically and mentally.
“How did you become interested in this anti-aging specialty?”
Dr. Mesen laughed and said, “Well, I remember being a child and watching people grow up, seeing older family members age, and wondering why that after they reached maturity, why they just didn’t stay that way. What made people grow old? Why did people start aging and have all the consequences of deteriorating bodies, less energy and having age associated health problems. That curiosity was really why I became a doctor in the first place. So, after becoming a doctor, I took the necessary courses and requirements of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, located in Florida, and am now one of their 24,000 members worldwide.”
“So why did you open a clinic here in Costa Rica?”
“While practicing in Florida at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for two years, I became aware of a US based anti-aging group called ‘Cenegenics’. Cenegenics was an early pioneer in the practice of anti aging medicine and they have done an admirable job of providing their patients with quality anti aging medical care, nutritional guidance and proper exercise. They are headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, but have offices in most states, serving their clients. But, the Cenegenics program is very expensive, with high costs brought on by outrageous medical malpractice insurance premiums in the United States and office and medical staff costs there. Being Costa Rican, I wanted to return to my country, provide this service to not only local residents, but also to foreigners at a greatly reduced cost, because of our lower cost of doing business here. Also, a more recent problem for anti-aging clinics in the US is that the FDA has declared HGH illegal for anti-aging purposes, that it can only be used to treat diseases such as dwarfism and AIDS related wasting diseases. However, human growth hormone is legal in Costa Rica for anti-aging, health enhancement purposes.”
Dr. Mesen explained that the model for his clinic, like Cenegenics, is hormone replacement, HGH, testosterone and other hormones to balance the body’s system, plus healthy nutrition and a good exercise program. Patients that embrace all three of these elements will experience excellent results and enjoy many benefits, enabling them to live fulfilling and active life styles and avoid many of the complaints of “growing old”. There are also elements such as finding a healthy balance between, work, family time and personal time. Patients are encouraged to get a good night’s sleep, be sexually active and enjoy life to its fullest, while moderating alcohol consumption.
As a result, Dr. Mesen says that patients experience many benefits. HGH, for example, provides increased healing of tissue throughout the body, shorter recovery times after a workout, and an increase in the metabolic rate that helps patients to loose weight and keep it off. Patients notice healthier, thicker skin, less wrinkles, and less aches and pains as the body rebuilds itself to a more youthful state. Testosterone replacement promotes increased energy and stamina, increased muscle mass, lower body fat and increased libido. The idea is to give your body the same hormone balance that it had in your 20’s, where with those higher hormone levels, your body naturally maintained, repaired and regenerated itself.
“How do patients gets started and what is the progression of applying your anti aging model.”
“First we start with a thorough medical exam, a cardio stress test for patients over 50, and an extensive panel of blood tests. With these, we then a have a complete overview of the patient’s hormone levels and health from which to make medical recommendations. If we see any health issues that concern us, we refer them to an appropriate medical specialist before our treatments. If there are just normal issues, then these can be addressed through healthy life style changes and proper hormone replacement. In addition, we require all repeat patients to have an exam one time per year. The majority of middle aged males, unfortunately, do not see a medical doctor until they have a real problem. We try to catch conditions before they become a serious issue. And, in Costa Rica, our medical exams are a fraction of the cost of an exam in the USA.”
“How much HGH and testosterone do you prescribe?”
Dr. Mesen continued, “Simply speaking our goal is to optimize our patients levels to the levels commensurate to what they had when they were in their early twenties. For HGH, we look to elevate patients to an IGF 1 level of 350. For testosterone we elevate to a free testosterone level of 1200. We base our prescription amounts on the patient’s baseline levels from the blood tests we perform. We do the same for female patients, with the appropriate female hormone replacements to bring them to the levels they were in their twenties.”
“How do you administer these treatments, especially for foreign patients?”
“Well, you’ve brought up a good point. We offer local patients two delivery systems – the injectable that we, or they, can do by themselves.
But, for foreign residents that must travel here, we recommend our pellet implant delivery system. With the pellet implant system, we place HGH and testosterone pellets into the body which then slowly release measured amounts of HGH and testosterone over a three to four month period. This eliminates the need for patients to travel with injectable medications, like HGH, that may be restricted in their county of origin.”
Dr. Mesen also explained that all patients have the option to meet with a nutritionist to design a diet plan that meets their current needs and future goals. Before treatment, their body fat is also measured to monitor their progress. Then the patient has the option to meet with a professional trainer to have their current fitness levels evaluated. They then can have a custom training program designed for their goals. Costs for these are nominal when compared to what it would be in the USA.
“So what is the reason patients should come to your clinic as opposed to Cenegenics.”
“Simply stated, we provide the same quality of care at much lower cost to the patient. Why pay double when you don’t have to! In addition, Cenegenics may not be able to legally prescribe HGH treatments for the purposes of returning you to your twenties’ hormone levels, unless it finds some other degenerative condition. It should be noted also that our medications, HGH and testosterone, comes from the same FDA approved medical suppliers, but our prices are much lower than what Cenegenics charges. With their saving, our patients could enjoy a free vacation here in beautiful Costa Rica, go to the beach, or Arenal Volcano or a spa each time they return for treatment.”
Dr. Mesen also stressed that in addition to hormone anti-aging treatments, they also provide other anti-aging procedures for younger clients with no hormone deficiencies. For instance, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatments can help with facial skin rejuvenation and retard or reverse hair loss. Botox treatments are available to treat facial wrinkles. Also, treatments known as “facial fillers” or “dermal fillers” that can plump up the lips or reduce wrinkle lines are available. All of this is good news for locals wishing to improve their appearance, and foreigners wishing to save money without sacrificing any quality in their care.
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