Aging is the one constant that so far, no human being can control. We start to age the moment we are born, and this process continues till we die. Many people have tried to extend their lives searching for the fountain of youth and traveling to Shangri-La.
Well, today's science proves that aging can be reversed. Your analytical age could be seventy. However, your biological age could be 50. This article is all about the scientific facts and findings that promise an answer to the ages-long question How to reverse aging?
How does Aging happen?
Aging is a process that has been studied for hundreds of years. Aging simply means the slow change of biochemical and physiological functions in organisms after they have reached maturity or shortly before death. Aging results from the wear and tear of living. It affects many things at various levels. Aging is associated with an increase in oxidative damage.
Aging leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of hair. Aging leads to decay in the immune system, leaving us vulnerable to many diseases. Aging leads to osteoporosis, resulting in weaker bones that are more prone to fractures. Aging affects our brain, too, leading to memory problems and impaired thinking.
Aging causes heart disease and cancer. Aging is responsible for cataracts, macular degeneration, hearing loss, and erectile dysfunction in men. Aging can lead to organ malfunction such as liver failure, kidney failure, and insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).
The Genetics of Aging:
The epigenome is the study of factors that can make sure that some genes are turned on while others are switched off. Aging affects the epigenome too. Aging causes changes in how DNA is packed, making it difficult for the cell machinery to read the genes correctly. Aging causes changes in histones (which help DNA to be packed into chromosomes).
Aging affects DNA methylation too. Aging can cause changes in DNA repair mechanisms and a rise in inflammation leading to a run-away effect that eventually leads to organ failure and death. According to Dr. David Sinclair, "Genes do not control aging. Aging is controlled by epigenetics."
There are many theories about the genetics of aging. According to Dr. David Sinclair, "I think what makes us older is your epigenome rather than your genes." Aging has been linked to telomerase deficiency or hyper-telomerase activity in mice. Aging is linked to mitochondrial dysfunction or the accumulation of defective mitochondria.
Aging has been linked to the shortening of the protective caps on chromosomes called telomeres which are shortened every time a cell divides, with each division contributing more cells with shorter telomeres till they become critically short and cells die or turn into cancer cells.
So, according to Dr. Sinclair, we need to control, study, and modify the epigenome to control or even reverse aging.
How Can Aging Be Reversed?
The aging process can be stopped entirely and pushed into reverse gear if we make some changes in our lifestyle. Controlling our diet, regular exercise, and even intermittent fasting techniques can help reverse aging.
- Diet: Today, people are very much aware of diet's role in our lives. Many doctors have directed their patients to follow specific diets based on age, sex, lifestyle, etc. These dietary changes help reduce the risk of deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease. Aging is not different from these conditions, so you should follow a proper diet. We advise you to follow a healthy vegan diet.
A vegan diet focuses on high-carbohydrate, low fat, and no animal protein, which is the perfect recipe for reducing aging. You should remember that all plant products like vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants that slow down the process of aging. Vegan diets tend to be lower in sugar, saturated fat, and cholesterol, all of which if otherwise eaten are linked to and the reason for accelerated aging. Something we aim to avoid by applying vegan diets.
Vegans have been shown to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels," says Dr.Chandan Sen, a Senior Physician-Gastroenterology at the Fortis Hospital.
- Exercise: Aging can be reversed by keeping your body active and fit through regular exercise. Those who exercise regularly tend to look younger than those who don't. Aging starts with reduced metabolism, which increases the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Exercise helps prevent these conditions by helping you maintain a healthy weight and boosting your metabolism. It also improves muscle mass which is very important for supporting bone strength as we age. Dr. David Sinclair adds that exercise helps you feel good and increases the levels of neurotrophic factors, which are required for proper brain function.
- Intermittent fasting: Aging is caused by free radicals in your body, created when the body breaks down food during digestion or energy production. Whenever cells break down sugars or fatty acids for energy, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are released as byproducts.
Aging causes an increase in ROS production which can cause cells to age faster, leading to various diseases and conditions like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, etc. Intermittent fasting helps reduce free radical damage by lowering the body's demand for energy during the fasting period. Plenty of research shows that if you do not eat for a certain period of time, your body may switch from using energy from food to using stored energy.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are many different intermittent fasting methods, but the two most common techniques include restricting your food intake within a certain time window (i.e., during the night) or only eating every other day.
Another method is to skip breakfast - instead, you eat two or three large meals within a shorter time frame. Intermittent fasting is generally safe, but people who are underweight, elderly, frail or have underlying health conditions should consult with their doctor before starting any new eating program.
According to Dr. David Sinclair, Aging doesn't have to be inevitable. Aging is a natural process, but we can reverse this process if we tap into its science. It is nothing more than manipulating DNA, which is easier said than done. However, it is not impossible.
According to your birth certificate, you could be 80 years old, but you will still have the cellular structure of a 50-year-old with more energy and better health.
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