Your regenerative potential is tremendous. Tissues such as your nerve cells, liver, heart, bones, lungs, intestines, and skin can all regenerate. In fact, your body’s default mode for the 30 trillion highly dynamic cells that make you who you are is that of regeneration, not degeneration.
Your body at 50, 60, or 70 years — your chronological age — could have a biological age that’s much older or younger than the calendar dictates. While you can’t stop chronological age, you can in fact slow down and even reverse your body’s biological age. This extends your longevity and, even more importantly, your health span, or the number of years you spend in good health.
There are many factors that play a role in the aging process: psycho-social, dietary, environment, genetic predispositions, and lifestyle factors all contribute to your biological age and resultant healthspan. Biological age can be estimated via epigenetic “clocks” based on telomere length human DNA methylation data. An epigenetic clock is a biochemical test that can be used to measure age. The test is based on DNA methylation levels, measuring the accumulation of methyl groups to one’s DNA molecules.
DNA methylation and epigenetic alterations have been directly linked to longevity. DNA methylation is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. Aging is strongly correlated with changes in DNA methylation.
Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. Telomeres are long in young humans and they shorten with each cell division. When they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. Telomeres can be measured using a simple blood test.
Factors that speed up aging
- unhealthy fats, hydrogenated oils, added sugars and starches, along with artificial additives and stabilizers.
- high nitrates found in fast food, lunch meat, hot dogs, and frozen meals
- associated with chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, depression, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, and they also influence telomere length.
- A study of 886 people between the ages of 57 and 91 found that those who consumed three or more servings of processed foods daily were more likely to have shorter telomeres than those who did not.
- strongly associated with frailty risk in older adults. In turn, frailty in older adults is linked to an increased risk of hospitalization and three-year mortality.
- chronic stress, anxiety and worry will speed up the hands of time.
- Evidence suggests that chronic psychological stress stimulates the autonomic nervous system, renin-angiotensin system, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis when the body attempts to resolve perceived threats to homeostasis.
- Prolonged activation of these pathways can result in chronic immune dysfunction, increased production of reactive oxygen species, and DNA damage, which are known to contribute to the aging of skin and other tissues.
- Chronic psychological stress generally causes biological “wear and tear” that can increase inflammation and dysregulate endocrine function, with an end result of impairing neural structure and cognitive performance. Even unconstructive repetitive thinking, such as worrying and rumination, may be physically damaging to your body, contributing to inflammation, dysregulated HPA axis function and accelerated cognitive decline.
- The adverse effects of stress are so strong that they may start in utero. As one study demonstrated, young adults whose mothers experienced severe stress during pregnancy had significantly shorter telomere length as young adults.
- known to accelerate the shortening of telomere length, which is linked with chronic disease, cellular senescence and apoptosis. One study revealed that older women who are sedentary are about eight years older, biologically speaking, than women who are physically active.
- a lifetime of physical inactivity accelerates secondary aging, such as speeding the reduction in bone mineral density and muscle strength, a lifetime of physical activity totally prevents decrements in some age-associated risk factors for major chronic diseases, such as endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance at the age of about 60 to 70 years
- If you haven’t led an active lifestyle, you can’t go back in time to change that, but getting moving now can still make a positive difference. Even in previously sedentary middle-aged adults, exercising for two years led to significant improvements in fitness, including decreased cardiac stiffness and improved maximal oxygen uptake, suggesting it may help prevent some of the risks of sedentary aging
- while exercise is important, so, too, is regular non-exercise movement, meaning you’re up and active most of the day instead of primarily sitting
- during deep sleep, your body recharges and detoxifies
- lack of sleep is one of the most effective ways to accelerate aging, with research showing that even one night of poor sleep activates biological pathways that promote biological aging
- The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports findings causally link sleep deprivation to the etiology of biological aging, and further supports the hypothesis that sleep deprivation may be associated with elevated disease risk because it promotes molecular processes involved in biological aging
- Inadequate sleep also accelerates skin aging, with chronic poor sleep linked to increased signs of intrinsic aging and diminished skin barrier function, while sleeping for five hours or less per night increases the risk of all-cause mortality.
- Physical activity, stress relief, aromatherapy and avoiding electronics at night are other options for increasing your sleep quality. If you consistently have trouble falling asleep, slow release melatonin can be useful for regulating your circadian rhythm and increasing total sleep time.
Other factors that speed up aging
- Excessive alcohol
- Excessive exposure to UV rays
- Environmental toxins
- Suboptimal genetics that control Detoxification and Methylation
Interventions help that slow down aging
Calorie restriction based on BMR
- Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic (basal) life-sustaining functions
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is produced through the following basal metabolic rate formula:
Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)
- Once you know your BMR, multiply it by 0.90 and this would be a calorie deficit of 10% in your diet. It is important to note that if you are exercising in any given day, you will need to calculate the number of calories burned and add that to your daily calories needed
- Assume that each gram of protein contributes 4 Calories to the caloric total, each gram of carbohydrates contributes 4 Calories, and each gram of fat contributes 9 Calories (known as the 4-4-9 rule)
- When limiting calories, choose to reduce calories from carbohydrates in your diet and not protein or fat
- Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting provide anti-aging benefits. While conducting studies on the impact of calorie restriction in overweight adults, researchers discovered that limiting calories enhanced energy production and lowered the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
Optimizing blood sugar and HbA1c
- Hemoglobin A1c test shows the bigger picture of a weighted average of blood sugar levels over the past three to four months. This simple test is thus a powerful measure of elevated long-term blood sugar and glycation levels, which scientists believe may be intimately involved in accelerated aging
- While the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping hemoglobin A1c levels below 7%, those seeking aggressive disease protection should strive to maintain hemoglobin A1c levels at less than 5%
- Intermittent and periodic fasting (IF and PF, respectively) are emerging as safe strategies to affect longevity and healthspan by acting on cellular aging and disease risk factors, while causing no or minor side effects. IF lasting from 12 to 48 hours and repeated every 1 to 7 days and PF lasting 2 to 7 days and repeated once per month or less have the potential to prevent and treat disease.
- Balancing blood sugar using supplements such as Berberine, Cinnamon, ALA may also help put years on your life.
Controlling inflammation and methylation
- One of the major changes that occur during aging is the dysregulation of the immune response, leading to a chronic systemic inflammatory state
- Recent research efforts provided compelling evidence of genome-wide DNA methylation alterations in aging and age-related disease
- Curcumin and EGCG found in green tea are powerful regulators of inflammation
- Methyl Folate and Methyl B12 in supplement form can help regulate methylation
Managing the telomere
- Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) supplementation has been shown to increases telomere lengths 20-25%. Research has also found that supplementing NMN for short periods of time (90 days) almost doubles the length of telomeres in humans, indicating potentially breakthrough health benefits and lifespan extension effects.
- Scientists and researchers have found that supplemental resveratrol can mimic calorie restriction in some ways and extend lifespan. Resveratrol affects the activity of enzymes called sirtuins. Sirtuins control several biological pathways and are known to be involved in the aging process
- When it comes to visible aging, the 3 Ds of aging skin: degeneration, deflation, and descent are to blame
- The 3 D’s are caused by lowering levels of collagen and elastin – the building blocks of firm, strong skin. The process of collagen and elastin loss starts around the age of 20 where after that, a person produces about one percent less collagen in the skin each year
- Your body makes its own collagen from the amino acids proline, glycine and hydroxyproline. All of these amino acids come from the food we eat, but we don’t eat enough of them
- Each skin cell has two layers of fat that make up the cell wall called the phospholipid bilayer. This layer incorporates omega-3 fatty acids responsible for giving skin its plump, healthy appearance
- As we age, this membrane becomes thinner and less sticky. As these thinner skin cells reach the surface, they form less of a protective barrier. Skin can lose moisture and elasticity, and this in turn leads to the formation of wrinkles
- Both supplemental collagen and omega-3 fish oil offer intriguing skin benefits on their own, but together they’re a match made in antiaging heaven, providing your skin with a whole range of different nutrients it may not be getting from your daily diet.
- Air pollution, tobacco, alcohol, water pollution, medications, and radiation are just a few toxins we are regularly exposed to that speed up the aging process
- Glutathione is natural detoxifier that improves the health of all of the body’s cells to reverse aging
- Glutathione protects the skin against oxidative damage which leads to wrinkles making it an excellent form of anti-ageing skincare from the inside out
- Milk thistle can help support liver health via enhancing detoxification and researchers have also found that milk thistle has antioxidant and anti-aging effects on human skin cells
Protecting Mitochondria/ATP production
- Mitochondria are membrane-bound cell organelles that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions
- Chemical energy produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
- Age-related changes in mitochondria are associated with decline in mitochondrial function. With advanced age, mitochondrial DNA volume, integrity and functionality decrease due to accumulation of mutations and oxidative damage induced by reactive oxygen species
- Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) supplementation may increase mitochondria biogenesis where Ubiquinol (CoQ10) helps protect the mitochondria from oxidative stress
- CoQ10 and PQQ deliver a powerful one-two punch. CoQ10 works to improve the speed and efficiency of mitochondria, while PQQ assists by promoting the growth of mitochondria. Together they help the body produce more energy, faster. While more research needs to be conducted on the effects of this duo, studies conducted separately on each supplement show that they both have distinct benefits to cellular energy production, heart health, and brain health.
Despite the fact that we all age, there remains much controversy over what “aging” actually is, and there is no scientific consensus on its true definition. A popular theory of aging is that it is not a “disease” but rather a natural, inevitable physiological process that has no official “treatment”. Aging could, however, be seen as a loss of cellular stability or an end to the ability to recover efficiently at the cellular level from the daily burdens of life. To slow down cellular instability and improve recovery, do your best to follow all of the “do’s” and “don’ts” above.