Looking 4 Longevity? 4 Healthy Aging Tips
~Michelle Tonkin ND
Fatigue, aches and pains, wrinkles, hair loss, weight gain, sagging skin… Are these just the elements of time that everyone must face at one point or another? Or….could there be solutions to help your body live a healthier, more youthful and longer life?
What causes aging?
The classic definition of
“aging can be defined as the time-related deterioration of the physiological functions necessary for survival and fertility” ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10041/)
Humans are designed to live a life span of about 121 years. However how long one lives can be predicted by the overall health of a population. An example, in the late 1700’s, life expectancy for those in Massachusetts was around 28 years old! Thankfully times have changed with the invention of modern medicine, antibiotics, and lifesaving surgeries, life expectancy has now increased to 70’s for those living in the US.
There are different theories on what causes aging, with some believing that oxidative damage to the cells is a direct cause. Another deals with just the ravages of time, as the body gets older, more damage is done to joints etc. and these traumas start to accumulate in the body. Yet another theory deals with damage to mitochondria in the cells.
This damage could “(1) lead to defects in energy production, (2) lead to the production of ROS by faulty electron transport, and/or (3) induce apoptosis”. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10041/) Lastly, the shortening of telomeres. “Telomeres are repeated DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes. They are not replicated by DNA polymerase, and they will shorten at each cell division unless maintained by telomerase. Telomerase adds the telomere onto the chromosome at each cell division.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10041/)
In essence the theory is that at a certain point in time, that if the telomeres on the DNA are shortened enough, in time they would prevent cell replication and cause cell death.
Telomerase is only found in very low concentrations in our somatic cells. Because these cells do not regularly use telomerase, they age leading to a reduction in normal function.
The result of ageing cells is an ageing body.
The action of telomerase allows cells to keep multiplying and avoid ageing.
(list from: https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-a-telomere/)
Causes of Premature Aging
There are also ways that you can prematurely age as well. Premature aging can be caused by a variety of factors, most of these preventable.
Some of these are:
Excessive Alcohol Use
How to Increase Longevity Naturally
We may not have the fountain of youth available, but there are certain things you can start doing that can help your body to age more gracefully.
As one of the ways that can increase premature aging, smoking can be a factor that can not only cause premature aging but make one more susceptible to cardiac and lung issues.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also a great way to help maintain longevity and also feel better too! In a two year study with 600 adults in their 70 to late 80’s who exercised moderately, they were able to function better and if they had disabilities were able to recover more quickly. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/06/can-you-lengthen-your-life
Diet is essential. And a diet high in fruits, vegetables, good sources of fat, and that is low in sugar is one way to help aid in health. One of the best diets I have found that work for most people is the Whole Foods Based Diet. This diet focuses on balance and eating foods that are not man-made. It consists of vegetables, fruits, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, gluten free grains, beans, lean meats, organic dairy products, good sources of fats, water, herbal teas, and 100% fruit/vegetable juices.
Here’s 5 Great Supplements to Support Healthy Aging
Curcumin is what gives Turmeric its health punch! It helps to protect the body’s cells by its antioxidant power. Curcumin has been shown to help delay cellular degeneration by activating certain beneficial proteins in the body as well as helping to protect against cell damage.
“Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a well-known polyphenol compound concentrated in green tea. It offers impressive health benefits, including a reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-aging-supplements)
It has been proposed to help the body in its fight against diseases that cause aging and can help with the mitochondria health of the cells. Green tea may also help protect your skin with UV exposure.
Collagen is actually the most abundant protein found in our bodies. In fact, it’s found in everything from our “tendons, ligaments, skin, muscles, bones, and blood vessels—and it plays a vital role in maintaining our overall structural integrity.” ~https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.mindbodygreen.com/articles/marine-collagen-101
Our bodies however need collagen from our diet as we only naturally produce about 1% of collagen. Because of this natural deficiency and that we are a whole do not consume collagen like we did in the past (think your grandparents with chicken broth made from gelatin, fish soups etc.) It’s important that we supplement to help support our body.
How do you know if you are deficient?
A surprising fact is that next to water, collagen is actually the 2nd most abundant substance that is found in our body. However, as we age, we lose our ability to produce collagen (hence aging) This decline starts in our early twenties as our collagen production starts to decline by about 1.5% per year. This means by the time you hit the good ol’ forties you are actually producing 25% less collagen. This decline can cause unwanted symptoms such as:
“achy joints, fine lines, thinning hair, digestion issues etc.” ~ Marine (Fish) Collagen vs. Grass-Fed (Beef) Collagen: A Breakdown – Sproos (sprooslife.com)
The health benefits of consuming collagen:
1. Supports skin health.*
Collagen helps keep our skin looking full and plump.
“In one study, women who took a supplement containing hydrolyzed Type I collagen derived from tilapia had better supported skin with diminished appearance of lines, photo-aging, and better maintained moisture levels.*” ~ Marine Collagen: 6 Health Benefits, Side Effects & More (mindbodygreen.com)
2. Promotes quality sleep. *
Glycine which is found in abundance in collagen can help support our sleep.
“One review of research revealed that ingestion of glycine before bed helped maintain satisfactory levels of self-perceived sleep quality.” ~Marine Collagen: 6 Health Benefits, Side Effects & More (mindbodygreen.com) Glycine can help us maintain body temperature and because collagen also helps to keep blood sugar level stable it can help maintain healthy blood sugar level as we sleep.
3. Promotes gut health. *
Leaky gut is becoming a common issue in today’s society due to chronic stress, bad, diet, antibiotic over usage, candida overgrowth etc. The good news is that collagen is able to help heal and support your gut through glutamine and glycine. Glycine helps with inflammation which glutamine helps to seal and heal the gut.
4. Supports the effect of your workout. *
The glycine in collagen also helps your body produce creatine. Creatine is known to help with muscles mass and exercise performance. Collagen also has proline which can Collagen “ acts as an antioxidant and helps monitor cellular damage that might cause post-workout achiness.” ~ Marine Collagen: 6 Health Benefits, Side Effects & More (mindbodygreen.com)
5. Promotes bone strength. *
Marine collagen helps with the absorption of calcium, phosphorous and mineral which are vital nutrients in bone health. This absorption is “associated with the activity of osteoblasts, cells in the bone responsible for synthesizing and mineralizing bone. “Osteoblasts are also responsible for secreting collagen in order to create the unmineralized portion of the bone called the osteoid.” ~ Marine Collagen: 6 Health Benefits, Side Effects & More (mindbodygreen.com)
Coenzyme Q 10 unfortunately declines as we age and this antioxidant is essential in helping not only with the cell’s energy but also protects it’s against damage.
Supplementation with this important nutrient has the potential to aid the body by “reducing oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an accumulation of free radicals that accelerates the aging process and the onset of age-related disease” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-aging-supplements)
This supplement is also great for heart health as it can increase the viability of your arteries, decrease blood pressure and aid in “preventing the buildup of oxidized cholesterol in your arteries” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-aging-supplements)
So why NADH and what is it?
According to Wikipedia: “Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme central to metabolism. Found in all living cells, NAD is called a dinucleotide because it consists of two nucleotides joined through their phosphate groups. One nucleotide contains an adenine nucleobase and the other nicotinamide” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotinamide_adenine_dinucleotide)
There are also two types; NAD is the oxidized version and NADH is the active form that is broken down, it also contains hydrogen.
NADH is a part of your body’s metabolic process and helps the body in a process called redox, which is basically “carrying electrons from one reaction to another” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotinamide_adenine_dinucleotide)
The process is a little complicated to explain in this article here, so if you want all the deets go here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotinamide_adenine_dinucleotide
Why do we need it?
As part of our metabolism and energy process, NADH basically is a main component taking the food that we eat and turning it into useable energy.
The energy that is created is then kept in the body as ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
This ATP is where our cells get our energy from- not enough NAD- not enough ATP- not enough ATP and the cells start to deteriorate and “can eventually lead to cell death." (https://nootropicsexpert.com/nadh/)
Where do we get NADH?
Primarily NADH comes from our diet, with food sources such as different types of meat (fish, beef, poultry). Vegetables are unfortunately not a good source of NAD, which can be a struggle for those adopting a vegetarian diet. Also, much of NADH will be lost by the cooking process.
Benefits of NADH?
The benefits of NADH are many such as in the list below:
Protect brain cells. NADH repairs cell and DNA damage. And stimulates your immune system. NADH boosts the production of Nitric Oxide (NO) which relaxes blood vessels in your brain increasing cerebral blood flow. And NADH acts as an antioxidant helping to eliminate free radicals that can damage brain cells.[ii]
Brain energy. NADH provides electrons for ATP synthesis in your mitochondria. Low levels of NADH result in brain fog, slow mental processing, and cognitive decline.
Neurotransmitters. NADH affects cognitive function by stimulating the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.[iii] These neurotransmitters are involved in learning and memory, cognition, recall and mood.
List from: https://nootropicsexpert.com/nadh/
While there is no Magic pill that can promise to turn back the hands of time, implementing simple changes such as a healthy diet, exercise, proper sleep, and good supplementation can go a long ways in helping your body in the goal of youthful aging and longevity!
Marine Collagen: 6 Health Benefits, Side Effects & More (mindbodygreen.com)