There are two main types of age-related disease. One is cancer and the other encompasses metabolic disorders which can lead to heart disease diabetes and kidney damage. Age-related diseases are usually caused by the effects of cellular aging and have been linked to mutations and decay in mitochondria and DNA. These damaging genetic mutations begin to increase in occurrence between the ages of 30 and 40. Research has shown it may be possible to slow or even stop these mutations thereby keeping our bodies vital at the cellular level and preventing the onset of age-related disease. The only regimen ever proven to actually extend life in mammals, but one which most people find hard to follow, is to drastically reduce one’s intake of calories. However, should this prove too difficult, living a healthy lifestyle may be the next best thing.

A small study has recently shown that positive lifestyle changes, including the proper management of diet, exercise and stress promotes longer telomeres. Telomeres are protective caps at the end of chromosomes which prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division. Their length has been linked to diseases such as cancers, stroke, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes. Telomeres, made of DNA and protein, work as a shield for chromosomes, keeping them stable. As we age, chromosomes become shorter and weaker, leading cells to stop dividing and eventually die. Scientists have recently discovered a way to stimulate a potent anti-aging protein in living cells called sirtuins, which are a contributor to telomere maintenance and a universal regulator of aging in virtually all living organisms. Sirtuins help cells survive damage, delay cell death, and seem to halt the normal cellular cycle that ends with old cells self-terminating. Sirtuins help rejuvenate cells by increasing their DNA repair processes and stimulating production of protective antioxidants. According to scientists, consuming a single glass of red wine each day could help one jump-start this DNA repair process. Resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in grapes, nuts, chocolate and red wine is known to improve heart, muscle and bone functions. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing bad cholesterol and preventing blood clots, resveratrol has also been shown to be effective in boosting sirtuin levels, possibly increasing longevity.

Recent research also shows that following a Mediterranean diet and eating an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry and fish rather than lots of red meat, butter and animal fats may be a recipe for a long life because such a diet appears to keep people genetically younger. A new study hints that regular doses of ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, could extended one’s life span by an average of 12 years. Controlling inflammation in the body has long been associated with better health, and ibuprofen appears to slow the body’s metabolism, which has also long been linked with longevity. Our scientific community now claims to know enough to proceed with realistic and practical longevity research, but this is dependent upon the amount of public support and funding it receives.

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March 26, 2020
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