Longevity Blog



Aging is a natural and unavoidable process which starts at birth. Wrinkled skin, greying and thinning hair, loss of muscle strength and tone, joint pain, fatigue, memory loss, and disease are common signs of aging. These phenomena also imply loss of functionality and adaptability. Both life span and quality of life become important factors in longevity considerations: not just living long but aging well in the years we are alive.

We know the secrets to longevity and wellbeing: exercise, no smoking, less stress, enough sleep, active lifestyle, work-life balance, healthy diet, low sugar, correct posture, proper breathing, mindfulness, and a positive mindset. Finding purpose, feeling gratitude and being of service to others also enhance the quality and meaning of life.

Science offers two basic theories to explain aging.  Genetic theories propose that our genes are programmed to determine how we will age and that genetic encoding is responsible for about 30 percent of our lifespan. Cell death and their inability to divide properly over time is what eventually lead us to our death. If we can control our genes we can change how long we will live. These programming theories point to shortening of telomeres, a factor that impacts the ability of the cell to divide and copy DNA information. Telomeres are the caps of chromosomes, the twisted threadlike structures within the cells that store DNA information.

On the other hand, damage theories indicate that over time our bodies and DNA get damaged to the point that we are unable to function. Damage factors include attacks from the environment or within our body’s own chemical effects which result in cellular damage that is eventually irreversible. According to this perspective, the major cause of aging is “oxidative stress”, which damage DNA, proteins and fats caused by “oxidants”, resulting from breathing, inflammation, infection or consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. Neutralizing these oxidants and the free radicals they produce, could potentially increase our life span.

Aging is perhaps a result of the combination of all these factors and different theories can offer plausible explanations on how and why we age. We have been able to greatly expand life expectancy in the last few hundred years and we may continue to be successful in years to come. Regardless of the underlying factors of aging and dying and until science finds the immortality secret, there seems to be agreement on a key component in minimizing DNA damage in our bodies: caloric restriction. It reduces cell metabolism and free radical production, in addition to other benefits, which are certain to enhance health, promote longevity by delaying aging.



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