Why do some people age more gracefully than others? Why do some succumb to cancer, heart disease or diabetes early in their life while others live disease free and healthy for more than a century? Is aging something we can slow down and avoid or is it inevitable?
We ponder these questions as we examine our own mortality. Our body is a biological machine. Like any machines, our parts wear out, break down and fall off. This is part of aging and aging process is multidimensional.
Over the years, scientists have proposed several theories of aging. Aging basically fall into 2 main categories;
- Cellular structural damage – destruction of cellular functions due to wear and tear, slowness in repair and regeneration and accumulation of wastes.
- Genetic pre-programming – the gene controlling aging and longevity that determines how long the body cells live.
Both theories point to the same culprit, that is, free radicals produced during our cellular metabolic process that induce oxidative stress and causing damage to the cellular structure, triggering aging. I have written a post entitled “Get Enough Antioxidants To Fight The War Within”. You can find our more what are free radicals and how they cause oxidative stress and damage the cellular structure.
Scientists have linked over 80 degenerative diseases to free radical induced oxidative stress. So, if free radical is the main culprit for degeneration and aging, then the antidote for anti-aging is antioxidants.
Dr. Thomas Perls, Assistant Professor of Geriatric at Harvard School of Medicine, studied 1500 centenarians over a period of 9 years. He found that becoming extremely old is about avoiding disease. Being old does not necessarily means being sick and sustaining on medication.
The gene controlling longevity may operate by limiting the activity of free radicals in the body, suggesting the important role antioxidants play. He found that centenarians have substantially higher level of antioxidants and lower level of free radicals in their blood.
How do you get enough antioxidants in your blood? In my earlier post entitles “Why Do You Need Supplements” covered it. In this post, you can learn about the various types of antioxidants and where you can get them.
The fact is, there is nothing we can do to control the genetic pre-programming in our favour. This is determined at the time of conception. But we can take control through healthy lifestyle choices, proper diet and exercise and daily supplementation of antioxidants.
The earlier you begin, the better. Scientists have discovered that damage from free radicals begins early in life, sowing the seeds for degenerative disease and accelerated aging.
With sensible healthy lifestyle choices, and taking preventive measures, we can add years to our lives and lives to our years.
What are you doing to prevent aging? Share with me in the comment box below.
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