Aging – introduction
Is the process of becoming older. That’s the simplest explanation found on Wikipedia. We all start to age as soon as we are born. The first symptoms of aging are the loss of ability to hear high-frequency sounds (>20kHz). This happens when we hit our teenage years.
Why are we aging? At the cellular level, two key hallmarks of the aging process include Telomere Length (TL) shortening and cellular senescence (also called “zombie” cells). This video below explains it quite well.
Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging.
Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation or at least slow down the rate at which telomeres are shortening.
There has been multiple studies published that have shown an ability to slow down the process. Several lifestyle interventions including endurance training, diets, and supplements targeting cell metabolism and oxidative stress have reported relatively small effects (2-5%) on TL, [Toukalas et al 2019, Goglin et al 2016, Richards et al, 2007].
Contrary, drug abuse can increase the rate of TL shortening.
One recent study by scientists in Israel at the Tel Aviv University indicated that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can stop the aging of blood cells and reverse the aging process. In the biological sense, the adults’ blood cells actually grow younger as the treatment progresses.
This study was published on the 28th of November at Aging and I will write a separate blog on it in coming weeks.
What can be done?
Ideas used here are not something new. From the earliest civilisations people were trying to find a proverbial fountain of youth.
However, the purpose of these series of blogs is not to promote alternative medicine or promise a longer life. The main purpose is to talk about the lifestyle changes, latest research, and ideas that may help to increase the healthspan – essentially, years with good health.