Age Youthfully
Dr. Dennis Bonner helps seniors rediscover their vitality
by Bill Donahue

Through a revolutionary age-management program devised by local physician Dr. Dennis J. Bonner, locals over the age of 60 are discovering they no longer have to act their age. In other words, seniors can restore their energy levels and reacquire the physical capabilities they had in the so-called prime of their lives—remaining active and able into their 70s, 80s and even longer.


“Old age can be insidious and disabling, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Dr. Bonner, who has offices in Levittown and Philadelphia. “My program might not be able to help you live longer, but it can help reduce the disabling events that might prevent you from enjoying the last 20 years of your life.”


It’s no secret that, as people age, they lose their functional, psychological and, often, sexual capabilities in a progressive fashion. In fact, between the ages of 30 and 50, the average person loses 30 percent of his or her muscle mass, with a corresponding increase in fat tissue. By the age of 70, according to Dr. Bonner, the body is running off less than 20 percent of its original metabolic capacity, barring an intervention. But Dr. Bonner’s expertise can essentially turn back the clock.


His age-management program is based on a comprehensive evaluation of each patient: medical exams, metabolic review, dietary and sleep patterns, etc. His prescribed treatment often includes supplemental injections of human growth hormone (HGH), as well as other therapies—the administering of testosterone gel, for example—depending on the patient, and, of course, an exercise regimen.


Dr. Bonner, a fellow of age management and dual board-certified physician in electrodiagnostics medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation, has prescribed his age-management program not only for his patients but also for himself. So far he’s lost 30 pounds and has converted excess fat to more muscle in his arms and legs, which is critical because “those are the things that carry you through life,” he says.


“You can take someone 60 years of age and evaluate them to see what their metabolic stage is, and then adjust it,” says Dr. Bonner, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia; he also earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. “You might have someone with a fat belly—maybe a guy who’s been going to the gym forever but can’t seem to get anywhere. If we tune up the hormones for him, it could be a magical reverse. It would take a few months to melt the belly fat off, and that changes his complete outlook for the future.”


Dr. Bonner’s program is based on science that has gained increasing notoriety in the past 20 years, beginning with an article published in the July 1990 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. The article detailed a study of 21 men ages 61 to 81 who received six months of HGH injections. Not only did the men increase muscle and burn fat, but they also benefited from denser bones, thicker skin and improved sleep.


Age management has continued to grow in popularity, no doubt fueled by the rapid aging of the U.S. population, specifically the baby-boomer generation. There’s even a nonprofit organization of more than 26,000 professional members—the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine—devoted to studying and furthering its principles.  


Fit and Energetic

To skeptics, the science behind age management may sound too similar to the premise of the 2008 Brad Pitt film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”—about a man who ages in reverse—or, worse, unnatural. It’s understandable that hormone therapy has attained a somewhat dubious reputation, mainly because it is off limits in professional sports due to its performance-enhancing properties. Used properly, however, hormone therapy has the potential to help seniors enjoy fuller lives at a time when their peers may be confined to wheelchairs or hospital beds.


“We’re not in the bodybuilding business,” says Dr. Bonner. “What the weightlifters and professional athletes do is take the same medication and turn up the volume way up. What we do is restore the natural chemistry of the body to levels where they were when you were 40.”


To verify the therapy’s efficacy, just ask “Andrew,” a prominent local therapist in his 70s who commented on the condition of anonymity. He’d been on the verge of heart failure, beset by fatigue caused by blood-pressure medication and burdened by the excess weight that came with older age. Then, when he began Dr. Bonner’s age-management program more than a year ago, everything started to change.


“[Dr. Bonner] is a great researcher, and he’s very much someone who studies very thoroughly what he’s doing,” Andrew says. “Before I started the program I had the feeling that I had to push too hard to get through the day, and that has changed a great deal. The difference was pretty quick—within a week or two of starting the hormone treatments. My fatigue is gone, and it’s also had a slimming effect on my torso, so when I look in the mirror I appear much younger.


“My overall appearance changed dramatically,” he continues. “I work out every day, and the program absolutely changed my physical strength. … I’ve always lifted heavier weights when I go to the gym, but now it’s almost like I’m effortlessly lifting more weight. I feel much healthier, much better.”


Andrew is hardly the only one who has experienced positive results, which typically occur within a week or two. Another Dr. Bonner success story includes a patient whose ill health imperiled his love of golf; within three days of starting the treatment, he started golfing again and now plays almost every day. Yet another: A “tired” 69-year-old grandfather decided he wanted to go back to work; thanks to the age-management program, he now works 15 hours a day, has regained his physique and “is doing things he shouldn’t have been doing ever,” says Dr. Bonner.


“If you reach 60, you’re likely to reach 80,” he adds. “The majority of people spend at least part of those 20 years in a disabled state. Although this program might not necessarily help you live longer, it can keep you fit and energetic for those 20 years.


“The point is, for people who are younger than 50, don’t read this article; go in the other room and get some ice cream. But for people who are age 50 and older who feel as if age is getting the better of them, you can do something about it.”


Dennis J. Bonner, M.D.

Suite 120, St. Clare Medical Building

1203 Langhorne-Newtown Road

Langhorne, PA 19047