Why do we get older? What switches cells in our body to self-destruct mode after years of perfect performance? Is there a limit to how old we can live to?
If you have ever pondered these questions, then you are not alone. Mankind has been trying to unravel the mystery of aging for the past few hundred years. Understanding the aging process is critical to our ability to understand and treat age-related diseases that currently kill or limit the quality of life of the majority of people in developed countries. Despite recent advances in molecular biology and genetics we are still none the wiser although a number of theories exist, some of which hold more credence than others.
Understanding the aging process is critical to our ability to understand and treat age-related diseases associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
Below is a closer look at the aging process, current theories regarding aging, and other aspects of aging and how to age gracefully.
Theories of aging
Many theories on aging exist; however, none have proven to provide the complete answer. Error theories that point to free radicals or telomere shortening as the culprit suggest that decreasing oxidative stress through use of antioxidants in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise can help delay the aging process. MitoQ is a potent neutralizer of free radicals that decreases oxidative stress and may help protect our bodies against some of the factors that ultimately result in a decreased life span.
Aging theories can be categorized into two main groups, although there is considerable overlap and interaction between them. Programmed theories of aging state that our body is designed to age and that there is a certain biological timeline that our bodies follow. The ultimate length of this timeline is regulated by either genes, hormones, or our immune system.
Error theories of aging assert that aging is a result of damage that accumulates over time. Cells die as a result of wear and tear, oxidation, protein build-up, or by other unavoidable natural processes that causes gradual degradation, particularly of DNA. Other error theories point to free radicals and telomeres as causes of aging.
Programmed theory of aging
The programmed theory of aging looks into the biological limitations of people and how long they can last.
Within the past century, advances in medicine have drastically increased the average lifespan by eliminating common acute causes of death like infection and treatable diseases. Today, the life expectancy in the USA hovers in the upper 70s and it has been that way for many years. The exponential curve of life expectancy saw unprecedented growth followed by a flattening of the curve.
The flattening of the curve is mainly caused by a new limitation of human longevity, which is chronic conditions.
Unlike acute issues such as infections, chronic conditions typically have no cure and are caused by the stressors of the environment over time and the biological limitations of cells. Limiting these stressors can reduce the likelihood of health complications later in life, but many believe the next jump in life expectancy will require humans to overcome the biological limitations of human cells.
One of these biological limitations is telomeres. Telomeres are bits of spare DNA that live on the end of chromosomes. They allow chromosomes to divide and duplicate without losing any of their genetic material similar to the protective plastic cap on the end of a shoe lace. Telomeres progressively get shorter with every subsequent cell division and shorter telomere lengths have been associated with declining function and numerous serious cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic health conditions. Telomerase is an enzyme that has a protective effect on telomeres and can add bases to their ends, increasing their length and their lifespan. Certain things, such as regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet containing limited or no processed foods, maintaining your optimal weight and reducing oxidative stress through use of antioxidants have all shown to increase telomerase levels.
Error theory of aging
The error theory of aging is a separate but similar theory. Rather than seeing age-related death as a cell programmed event of shutting down, the error theory states that age-related death and aging are a result of the accumulation of errors and damage throughout the lifespan.
The error theory of aging applies well to the ideology of mutation accumulation of DNA.
When you are conceived, DNA from your parents is passed down to you and that molecule provides the instructions for how to make you. The trillions of cells within your body all contain this DNA that tells them how to make proteins, proliferate, and function.
DNA is only useful with the help of ribosomes and other molecules that are able to decode and copy DNA. With trillions of copies of DNA, it would only make sense that an error occurs every once in a while. The cells are prepared for these errors with DNA repair mechanisms, but sometimes a mistake will slip through the cracks and will become a permanent addition to that lineage of DNA and every subsequent cell created from it.
As time passes, the number of errors slipping through the cracks increases and accumulates. Eventually, if an error in just the right portion of DNA occurs, it can result in chronic and age-associated disease and malfunction.
Free radicals and aging
The tips for longevity like exercise, eating well, and maintaining a healthy mind are well known. A lesser-known trick to aging is that by supporting your cellular health, you can effectively help your body and body systems to work as efficiently as possible for as long as possible. Reducing free radical imbalance represents a major opportunity to help improve your cellular health and longevity.
Free radicals are produced as a by-product of many cellular reactions. These are normally kept in check by our bodies own supply of antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). However, if free radical production is excessive, or if our supply of antioxidants is reduced, free radicals can damage cellular components such as proteins, fats and DNA, destroying tissue and ultimately causing our organs to stop functioning.
Below is a closer look at ways you can help support your cells to reduce the chance of oxidative stress and the associated premature aging.
The mitochondria are one of the most important cellular components within the cell. The mitochondria are responsible for converting glucose into a usable form of energy for the cell. In this process, unfortunately, free radicals are produced.
To help fight back against these free radicals, an antioxidant known as CoQ10 is present within the mitochondrial membrane. CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that is produced naturally by our bodies and is available as a supplement. It can neutralize free radicals and decrease the chance of oxidative stress within the mitochondria. One pitfall of CoQ10 is that its levels within the membrane can decline with age, which opens up mitochondrial health to free radicals.
When the mitochondria encounter oxidative stress, the amount of usable energy they can output is affected. Decreased mitochondrial efficiency can lead to symptoms like declined energy levels, mental fog, and more. Many of these symptoms go undetected and are simply brushed aside as signs of aging that can’t be avoided. Reestablishing mitochondrial antioxidant levels through supplementation can help to rejuvenate the mitochondria and ensure you have supported cellular energy.
While CoQ10 supplements are available, the forms of CoQ10 in these supplements are typically not absorbed and implemented into the mitochondria. This is partly due to low absorption, but also due to the highly selective membranes of the mitochondria. MitoQ is a revolutionary form of CoQ10 that has been formulated to get right inside mitochondria, one of the main sites of free radical production.
By decreasing oxidative stress, MitoQ has the potential to help delay the aging process by decreasing oxidative stress and increasing telomere length when taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
In summary, there are many proposed reasons as to why we age. Whether it is due to a biological predetermined clock, or simply the accumulation of errors, aging is an inherent part of the human experience.
While there is no “cure” to aging, there are actions and steps you can take to ensure you age well and preserve your health for as long as possible.
Through a little MitoQ, some daily exercise, and a healthy diet, you can effectively set your body up for success and give it the support it needs to thrive for as long as possible.