Most folks believe that aging is a matter of wear and tear, as if our bodies were like an old, worn tire. But aging is an active process of self-destruction. After the body has done its job of reproducing, Mother Nature says, “Okay, you’re done! Now it’s time to get out of the way.” Some systems actually turn against the body, destroying perfectly good tissue, as if “on purpose.” It is the body shutting itself down. If only we kept producing the same hormones we did when we were young—which offers a compelling argument for bio-identical hormones.
Every chromosome in every cell contains a timekeeper, a tail at the end called a telomere. Each time the cell divides, that tail shortens. Cells with really short telomeres stop growing and dividing altogether, and your hourglass has run out. Short telomeres send out signals that cause inflammation. While inflammation is a natural and important part of our immune defense, when we age the inflammatory process is dialed up much too high, killing healthy cells. Too much inflammation can inflame our arteries and lead to diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
Another process of aging is something called apoptosis, which is literally cell suicide. Apoptosis is also a natural and important process. Cells deliberately kill off diseased, defective, and cancerous cells—and that’s a good thing. But when we age the body can commit apoptosis on healthy muscle and nerve cells, leading to weakness of the muscles and brain.
In my opinion, there are four major links to aging, disease, and death: epigenetics, toxins, lack of proper nutrients, and stress. Genes discovered to regulate aging were related to insulin metabolism. So for a start, it is important to keep your blood sugar and insulin under control by eliminating refined carbohydrates. Speaking of diet, studies have shown that aging is slowed by calorie restriction.
To make new cells, an existing cell divide in two. It copies its DNA so the new cells will each have a complete set of genetic instructions. Cells sometimes make mistakes during the copying process—kind of like typos. These typos—called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs—lead to variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations. SNPs are our genetic Achilles’ heel, giving us a predisposition to particular diseases. But these genetic predispositions are only ignited when put in the right environment. This is known as epigenetics. We can now do genetic testing to find out where our weaknesses are, then reinforce them with proper nutrients and lifestyle modifications.
Toxins are another component that leads to aging. And here is where genetics and toxins collide. Besides natural metabolic toxins, environmental toxins cause free radical damage, aka oxidative stress. Like the paint on our cars when it oxidizes, rust can happen in our tissue as well. Antioxidants that protect us from chemical damage are dialed down in old age, so we don’t have enough of such enzymes as CoQ10, SOD, and glutathione. Toxic burden and free radical damage can ignite our epigenetic expression. On top of that, the mitochondria (the power plant of the cell) actually has its own DNA and insulin, and oxidative stress can mutate that DNA, causing deterioration of the power plant, leading to energy reduction, cell destruction, and heart disease.
I recommend three favorite anti-aging nutrients to start with. First is Bio-Fisetin by Life Extension. Fisetin health benefits include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and brain-boosting action. RealNAD+ by Avior, a Nicotinamide riboside supplement, supports the integrity of cellular mitochondria. And finally, L Carnosine by Pure Encapsulations is a dipeptide compound that supports healthy cell function by two important mechanisms: it protects cells against free radicals; inhibits protein glycation, a major cause of aging of brain, skin, and other body tissues; and supports normal function. NOTE: Taking carnosine along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure or blood sugar might cause your blood pressure or blood sugar to drop too low. If you are taking such medications, do not take too much carnosine without consulting your physician.
Here are Four Strategies to Boost Telomerase Activity
In conclusion, a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, which are known to promote inflammation and oxidative stress, will adversely affect our telomerase functionality. Fortunately, strategies that lower inflammation and oxidative stress—like low inflammatory diets, centered around low glycemic index foods and whole plants; key supplements; regular moderate exercise; and stress management—can help restore your telomerase activity back to when your body was younger, lowering your disease potential and helping you feel more youthful and vibrant.