HEALTH & WELLNESS
Longevity supplements: everything you need to know
There are tons of longevity supplements on the market, but which can actually help target the biological causes of aging? Here’s what to know.
Many people fall into the false narrative that there is some hidden trick to living a long and healthy life, or that some magic pill is the solution to longevity. The reality is that almost all the longevity research out there points to living a healthy lifestyle as the best way for you to live longer and stay fit mentally and physically.
The road to living a longer life is not easy and requires a level of discipline and energy. The saying “if you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness” perfectly represents this.
Below is a closer look at everything you should know about longevity and longevity supplements. Nearly everyone wishes for more time with loved ones, and understanding the ways you can support healthy aging gives you the best chances of doing so.
Longevity vs. Functional Longevity
One of the things that many people don’t consider when they have a desire to live longer is that there are two distinct types of longevity. Standard longevity simply refers to how long you will live, and functional longevity refers to how long you will live while in good health and good quality of life.
Living as long as humanly possible is the goal of most people, but in many cases, this mentality leaves much to be inspired. What use is it to live until you are a century old, but during the last two decades of your life, you cannot enjoy life and are constrained by your mobility or general health? This is why functional longevity is a better goal for people to shoot for.
Functional longevity is something you directly have some level of control over. Maintaining regular physical activity, proper nutrition, and supporting your body in any way you can is the best way to increase your functional longevity and enjoy life for longer.
What Happens as You Age?
One of the largest barriers that individuals face when it comes to living a long life is the array of disorders and ailments that develop later in life. Some of these aren’t so easily avoided, but others can be kept at bay if preventative actions are taken earlier in life.
Aging is not the easiest on your body, and several different processes occur as a result of living a longer life.
Below is a closer look at some of the reasons behind the process of aging and what can be done about them.
One of the unavoidable aspects of aging has to do with a shortcoming of eukaryotic cells: linear DNA.
DNA is essentially the instruction manual of how to make each individual cell. When cells divide they need to copy the genetic code and ensure the new cell gets the same set of instructions. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which the cell replicates DNA results in an incremental shortening of the DNA with each round of cell division.
Throughout your life, cells within your body replicate trillions of times. Each replication results in what’s essentially a page being torn out of the DNA instruction manual, which can eventually lead to age-related ailments.
To fight back against DNA shortening, cells have a special enzyme known as telomerase, which essentially adds blank pages to the ends of the instruction manual that is DNA. These blank page regions of DNA known as telomeres can effectively prolong the number of cell divisions that are possible but over time telomeres shorten as telomerase becomes less effective.
DNA mutation is another unavoidable cellular process that occurs as a result of aging. DNA mutation occurs when a mistake is made within the genetic code. DNA mutations can be thought of as misprints and if that misprint happens to be in an important region of DNA, it can cause severe issues such as cancer.
While it is next to impossible to avoid all DNA mutations, there are things you can do to limit the amount of damage that is sustained to DNA. Living a healthy lifestyle can help reduce internal stressors that can increase the likely hood of DNA mutation. Additionally, limiting your exposure to radiation such as UV radiation coming from the sun can also help to reduce the likelihood of DNA mutation.
Another unfortunate consequence of age is that the efficiency of cells slowly begins to decline. This is quite noticeable in the event you sustain an injury. As a child, you were likely able to quickly bounce back and recover, but as an older adult, these injuries can take much longer to fully heal.
When you think about it, it makes sense that cells start to lose their efficiency as they are constantly working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This immensely long amount of runtime is bound to catch up at some point. There are a number of proposed reasons why cells experience reduced efficiency, and one of them has to do with a cellular component known as the mitochondria.
The mitochondria are the cellular components responsible for converting sugar into the usable form of energy for the cell, known as ATP. The mitochondria carry out a process known as cellular respiration, which takes glucose and oxygen to yield ATP. In the process, the mitochondria produce molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are unstable molecules that can damage surrounding membranes.
The mitochondria contain CoQ10, a natural antioxidant defense against ROS embedded in its membrane. Over time, the body’s natural CoQ10 levels can drop, and as a result, become less effective at preventing mitochondrial damage. This subsequently means less efficient energy production for the cell. With less access to energy, cell efficiency may suffer.
The human body is quite complex, and to keep it running at peak performance, it needs six different categories of essential nutrients. The body needs protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water on a consistent basis to run effectively. Unfortunately, unless you have a nutritionist planning your meals, you may be lacking in one or more of these departments.
Supplements are a great way of incorporating specific molecules into your diet that you may otherwise not get through the food you eat. Some supplements can help to supplement your diet, and others can support specific functions of your body or cell to help keep them running as smoothly as possible.
Living a long life with good health is all about keeping the machine that is your body well maintained and operating as smoothly as possible. Below is a closer look at some of the best supplements for longevity and how they support your health.
As described earlier, the mitochondria play a significant role in your cells’ ability to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. ATP is required for processes throughout your body, including muscle contraction, sending nerve impulses, and countless other vital chemical reactions.
The protective CoQ10 molecule found within the membrane of the mitochondria can decline with age, and getting these levels back to normal is not easy with standard CoQ10 supplements due to poor bioavailability.
This is where MitoQ comes in.
MitoQ is an enhanced form of CoQ10 that has been made smaller and given a positive charge, so it’s able to cross the tough mitochondrial membrane. Once inside, MitoQ helps to balance CoQ10 levels and reduce free radical damage. Cells can go back to their day jobs, and you experience benefits to energy, health, focus, performance and recovery.
The mitochondria-supporting qualities of MitoQ are astounding and have rightfully earned it a place in the 2021 Longevity Supplements Market Report.
Oxidative damage doesn’t only occur within the mitochondria, and experts believe that it is a large contributing factor to premature aging. Antioxidants come in many different forms and can offer unique ROS fighting capabilities.
Some common antioxidants that can help stifle oxidative damage include Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, resveratrol, glutathione, and selenium. Taking supplements that contain antioxidant superfoods like turmeric, berries, and fruit in general can help to foster better oxidative balance and avoid undue oxidative stress.
In summary, the “secret” to a long and healthy life is to take action with your health early on. Taking the time to foster your wellness now can pay dividends as you grow older. The odds are stacked against you living forever, so providing your body with all of the tools it needs to function is the best way to prolong your life.
Everyone wants a few more years, and by taking charge of your health and supporting your body through exercise, diet, and the right supplements, you give your body the best shot at doing so.
Supplements like MitoQ and other antioxidant-rich options are an effective option to consider to provide your cells with an added layer of protection from oxidative damage, which could accelerate the aging process.
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