Longevity Blog

Inflammaging: Are You Accelerating Aging? - Longevity Blog

Inflammation is the body’s natural and necessary response to any harmful stimuli and is an important component of the immune system. It is what enables our body to respond to injury, infection or illness. However, the chronic and systemic inflammation generated by today’s lifestyle choices and factors is the root of age-related chronic diseases.

Human aging is associated with this chronic, low-grade inflammation, and the phenomenon has been termed “inflammaging.” Inflammaging is a significant health risk factor in most age related diseases and death, as most of these chronic diseases share a common inflammatory basis. However, this risk can be prevented and even reversed.

Chronic inflammation has many features of acute inflammation but is usually of low grade and persistent, resulting in responses that lead to tissue damage and degeneration. Processed foods contain additives, sugars, conservatives and chemicals. When they are consumed regularly, the body becomes chronically inflamed, developing the risk of disease and accelerating the aging process. Other factors include stress, environmental chemicals, sleep deprivation, and lack of exercise, which contribute to increased inflammation and compromise our immune system.

One source of inflammaging points to damaged cells that accumulate with age due to increased inflammatory responses and their inadequate elimination. As damage accumulates, these responses can become chronic since cells age and are unable to adapt to new pathogens. Another inflammaging factor might relate to harmful products produced by oral or intestinal bacteria, which can leak into surrounding tissues and circulation, leading to chronic low-grade inflammation. Inflammaging could also be due to cellular response to damage and stress, known as senescence. Finally, age-related changes to the immune system (known as immunosenescence) potentially contributes to inflammaging as immunity becomes less adaptive with age.

Regardless of the underlying mechanisms of inflammaging, it is important to remember that it is a critical determinant of the speed of the aging process and of lifespan. It is linked to heart disease, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, age-related macular degeneration, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and insulin resistance, cancer, and other diseases. Inflammaging accelerates the propensity to disease and death, significantly impacting health, quality of life and longevity.



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