There is a lot of research and scientific effort going on at the moment into understanding aging and the consequences of aging. Most of this research is NOT concerned with extending lifespan but increasing our healthspan – that is reducing the length of time in later life when many people become chronically ill or frail.
The two biggest factors in aging would now appear to be –
- Cell senescence
After cells have replicated (divided) a number of times, they should die through a process known as apoptosis whereby they die. However some cells don’t die but go into a twilight state – still alive but not dividing, what the press have called “zombie” cells. However these cells can secrete toxic chemicals which have been linked to many diseases of old age. The chemicals produced by “zombie” cells are highly inflammatory.
The more senescent cells we have, the older we become.
mTOR is a protein complex found in most cells and it’s role appears to be to allow the body to manage periods of starvation. With mTOR switched on our body enters “growth mode” and cells are instructed to grow and divide ie we age. The key to slowing aging may be to regularly “switch off” the mTOR complexes found in our cells
Slowing Aging – What We Can Do
- Diet 1 – Limit calorie intake, possibly have 1 or 2 limited fasts per week
- Diet 2 – Increase the amount of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, oily fish, complex carbs, vegetable protein, limited dairy and no red meat (red meat contains methionine). Have no ultra processed foods or simple sugars
- Diet 3 – Vitamin D3 strengthens the immune system and pre/probiotics for the gut can be helpful
- Work at losing central fats (abdominal fat) – abdominal fat cells secrete highly toxic inflammatory chemicals. As well as good diet, learn to relax (cortisol is a big factor in the accumulation of belly fat aka “stress belly”) and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
- Keep your brain young by keeping moving. Learn new skills or hobbies – music and language learning seem to be particularly helpful in building “cognitive reserve” to help guard against mental decline.
- Take part in strength training 2 or 3 times per week as well as cardio vascular exercise 3 to 5 times per week. Think about taking up High Intensity Interval Training – 15 minutes per day for 3 to 5 days per week has been shown to be highly effective.