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How To Slow Aging To A Crawl

How To Slow Aging To A Crawl

The biggest breakthrough for me in my quest to live as many years of my life as possible as healthy as I can possibly be is the idea that your body ages on a cellular level. That is that all of the cells in your body age and this is what causes aging, as distinct from the idea that as you get older various organs get less efficient, such as the heart, and eventually your organs get so innefficient that you die.

Yes it it is true that is what happens in practise, but the reason why is because of cellular aging. What people have done in the past to combat this is do stuff like  cardio training to keep the heart as healthy as possible and try to eat as well as they can to prevent arteries from clogging.

The thing is, as I understand it, and bear in mind this is from a layman’s perspective, not that of a scientist, the reason your organs age is because your cells are aging.

The good news about this is that there is a lot of research going into the mechanisms of aging by some very smart people and here’s where the understanding that you age at the cellular level comes in handy.

Once you understand that and then start to research the mechanisms cell aging, you realise that it is possible to slow, prevent and even reverse cell aging.

The first of the methods that I understand how to do this is high intensity training. That is, one of several variations of sprint training done in short sharp bursts.

What this has been shown to do is work on the mitochondria of the muscle cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the muscles, converting food into energy. As we age, what happens is that the cell mitochondria get less efficient.

However what has been found is that when you perform high intensity exercise, the old, tired mitochondria get replaced by new mitochondria. This is known as mitochondrial biogenesis. Not only that, but the number of mitochondria in the cell actually increase. The benefit of this is that if you have fewer mitochondria in the cell, the mitochondria have to work very hard to produce energy. More mitochondria means each individual mitochondrion works less, and doesn’t get overloaded as easily.

The next big area of cell aging is a thing called telomeres. They are the caps to your DNA. They are analogous to the little things in the end of shoe laces that stop the laces from fraying. As we age, the telomores gradually get shorter and shorter. The end point of this is when the telomores are so short that the cells of the body can’t keep on renewing and we die. OK that is a very simplified version of what it does, but essentially that is the case.

The longer your telomeres are, the greater your cell health is and of course cell health and overall bodily health are linked.

So the question naturally follows from this is how do I a) lenghen my telomeres or b) slow the shortening of them? Option A is something that medical research community is currently looking into – anti aging in a pill sounds great.

Option B – slowing the rate at which they shorten, we appear to have some choices there. Firstly, there is meditation. I don’t understand the mechanism behind this, but it is in line with other physiological changes that have been observed in people who meditate.

The other thing that slows telomere shortening are certain specific nutrients. Among these are vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, probiotics, coenzyme Q10 and fish oil.  I will expand on the details of the benefits of each of these in future blog posts, because each of them has many major health benefits.

The final thing that I would like to discuss in regard to cell health is fasting. OK, I love to eat, so this one is hard. In circumstances like this – where something is hard for me to embrace, there has to be a really compelling reason for me to do it. I found that reason just the other day as it happens. One word – autophagy. The first time I heard this word was two days ago.

This is the word for when cells do their housekeeping, chuck all the old junk out of the cell and leave at the side of the road for rubbish collection day.

Exercise helps boost autophagy, but fasting really kicks it into overdrive.

So these with three things – mitochondrial biogenesis, telomere preservation and ramping up autophagy, you can really boost your cell health, and with that, your overall health. In effect, stopping aging in its tracks.

More information on mitochondrial biogenesis and high intensity training .

More information on telomere lengthening nutrition .

 

Image source:  Human_embryonic_stem_cells.png: (Images: Nissim Benvenisty) derivative work: Vojtech.dostal (Human_embryonic_stem_cells.png) [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)

About The Author

Shaun

A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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