What is Healthy Aging?
Healthy aging is dying at the slowest rate possible. We don’t extend our lifespan by living healthier.
In reality, we die prematurely because we live unhealthy. Thus, healthy living enables us to die more slowly. Here’s why. Our human cells are programmed to live 120 years. During that 120 years our cells will divide 40-60 times. This is known as the Hayflick Limit.
Our cells are programmed to divide in response to injury. Any number of things can injure cells – oxidation, inflammation, and glycation are the biggest culprits of cellular injury. The faster cells are injured the quicker those 40-60 cellular divisions occur and the faster we die. The good news is there are plenty of action steps you can take to limit these three processes harmful to our bodies.
Hayflick Limit and Telomeres
To delay dying we need to understand telomere science. Telomeres are repetitive strands of DNA found at the ends of our chromosomes. Each cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 chromosomes each with two ends. This means there are 92 telomeres per cell. Telomeres protect the chromosomes from damage. You can think of them as those plastic aglets found at the end of shoelaces. If those aglets are damaged the shoelaces will fray and unwind. A similar process happens to our chromosomes when our telomeres get short.
Every time a cell divides the telomeres get shorter, but not necessarily as the same rate. Some get shorter sooner. Once telomeres get too short the cell can no longer divide and it either dies or becomes senescent or non-functional. It may only take one critically short telomere to knock out a cell.
The key then to longevity is to keep your telomeres as healthy as possible as long as possible. Below are steps to enhance telomere health and delay dying.
Steps to Delay Dying
The following steps will reduce oxidation, inflammation, and glycation.
Take nutritional supplements,
Maintain a healthy body weight.
Avoid sugar and limit packaged foods.
We highly recommend the book The Immortality Edge. In the book can be found a road map of nutritional supplements that protect telomeres. The book provides recommend doses. Below is the list of the more important nutritional supplements you should consider to delay dying. These supplements protect against oxidation and inflammation.
Alpha lipoic acid
Regular exercise has anti-inflammatory effects. One study showed that people who exercise vigorously three hours a week were 9 years biologically younger than those who exercised less than 15 minutes a week. Ninety minutes a week of moderate exercise provided fours years of benefits.
In women chronic stress shortens telomeres the equivalent of 10 years of life. Obesity shortens telomeres by 8.8 years and smoking shortens them 7.4 years. Thus, stress potentially shortens life more than obesity and smoking. Developing skills to cope with and limit stress is essential to delay dying.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Fat tissues are hotbeds of inflammation. Though 20 percent of overweight people appear healthy when looking a biologic markers, it’s best to stay as lean as possible given your genetics.
Avoid Sugar and Limit Packaged Foods
Sugar causes inflammation and glycation accelerating the aging process. Sugar and its sidekicks are virtually found in all packaged foods. Consuming sugar contributes more to obesity than eating fat will. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible.
The Immortality Edge by Michael Fossel, MD, Phd, Greta Blackburn, and David Woynarowski, MD