It has been the dream of many to be able to reverse aging.
Once discovered, it would almost be equivalent to having a fountain of youth. Although scientists have been unable to stop the aging process, it can be slowed. Here are some things you need to know about this rapidly developing science.
Aging occurs at different rates, causing some people to look much older than their biological age. While your genes may cause some premature aging, researchers believe that about 70% to 80% of it is due to your lifestyle.
Cellular aging occurs as cells get older and your telomeres get shorter.
Telomeres are the ends of your chromosomes that naturally shorten as you age. Their length helps determine your lifespan. As they become shorter, the DNA inside becomes damaged, and the cells eventually die, which means they no longer replicate themselves correctly, leaving senescent (old) cells.
As you age and lose some of the DNA in your telomeres, your body becomes more susceptible to developing serious diseases. They include cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dementia.
Your organs also age. As they do, they lose some of their ability to function as well as they did when you were younger.
They have a reserve ability, which enables them to function much more than what is normally needed, but this ability is slowly lost as you age. Some things that can speed up the loss are illnesses, medications, changes in activity levels, and other life changes.
The best thing you can do to age at a slower rate is to get regular exercise. This one thing can cause your cells to age at a rate about nine years less than people who live more sedentary lives. Obesity accelerates the aging process by making cells senescent earlier.
Certain types of exercises can produce better results than others. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) helps cells produce more energy and build protein – the combination helps to slow cell aging. These exercises need to be conducted two or three times a week, along with more moderate exercises such as walking, biking, or swimming on most weekdays.
Eating a healthy diet can also help protect you from aging prematurely. Most health experts recommend following the Mediterranean diet rather than the western style, which is heavy on processed and fried foods and more meat.
Because the Mediterranean diet has a bigger percentage of fruits and vegetables, it provides more healthy fats and antioxidants, which can help protect you from heart disease and strokes, and your brain from inflammation, which can lead to memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.
Sunlight will quickly produce signs of aging. Ultraviolet light damages the skin through oxidative stress. This factor, because it is controllable, is called extrinsic aging. It speeds up the process that shortens your telomeres – smoking and stress do the same thing. Prolonged exposure to the sun leads to wrinkly skin that also sags and wrinkles.
When senescent cells are present, they do not die or become replaced. These cells accumulate as you get older, which can cause premature aging and increase your likelihood of getting a disease. Intermittent fasting is one way to speed up these cells’ autophagy (death), allowing them to be replaced with new and healthier cells.
Reverse aging continues to be studied by many scientists around the world. Although much more needs to be learned, the above tips will help you start slowing the aging process in your life.