Healthy Aging & Longevity
Everyone should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Yet, the environment we live in can favour health or be harmful to it. Our friends at Divine Elements Naturopathic Family Wellness have recently opened their Longevity Lab. Make sure to check them out!
Longevity can be defined in many different ways. In our daily life we are faced with numerous factors that accelerate aging such as chronic disease, diabetes, anxiety and cancer.
Everyone is “so busy” in their daily lives and getting from one place to another that they don’t listen to their bodies when we experience aches, pains or signals that their body is telling them to slow down.
Longevity should not be based on how long we live, but instead by the quality with which we live on a daily basis
Factors that increase aging and create disease:
Promoting Longevity is primarily about decreasing inflammation, decreasing cortisol and increasing our energy supply
- Cells in all our tissues live longer (in the brain, muscles, kidney, liver, pancreas) if inflammation is minimal and cellular energy is plentiful
- Cellular energy is depleted by inflammation! Ongoing inflammation can increase the likelihood of developing nearly every chronic illness (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, chronic fatigue, arthritis, asthma etc…)
Activities that reduce cortisol and inflammation
Inflammation involves oxidation. When it comes to longevity, oxidation = bad, and anti-oxidation = good
All cells in the body are programmed to die eventually – they are not made to last forever. This is called apoptosis (controlled cell dying). This is natural, normal. It’s actually not good for cells to live indefinitely – that’s what makes a cell malignant (cancer), in fact.
When our cells last an extra long time, we call that longevity. The way our bodies manage the aging process and slow the process down is a marvel! On the other hand, too much inflammation and oxidation, and not enough cellular energy – leads to early apoptosis, or early cell death.
Back to the beginning – excluding acute trauma or poisoning, it’s fair to say that cells die early when they can no longer make enough energy to keep up with cleaning and repairing themselves. And again, for the most part it’s chronic inflammatory and oxidative challenges inside the cells that drain the energy supply.
Limiting inflammatory processes extends the life of cells. And helping cells make more energy extends their lives, too.
Genetics do play a role. Some peoples’ cells are extra good at coping with all this, so they last a decade or two longer. Their genes help them make antioxidants more easily, plentifully, or get rid of toxic waste more quickly, effectively
We are learning that all of our bodies have genetic messages in storage (in the DNA) that are optionally expressed – messages that will only come out of the DNA and tell the cells what to do if they are induced to do so – if the DNA gets a signal. Some messages are good, some are not. Many of these optional DNA messages have to do with cells being tougher or weaker, more energetic or less, and living longer or less long, depending upon the gene’s message.
And it turns out that it’s most of the factors in the inflammation table above that induce these genes to express, that trigger the gene into revealing it’s message to the body! This is amazing! We keep coming back to lifestyle, and that’s so appropriate! As you can imagine, it’s desirable to maintain a lifestyle that triggers the expression of a gene that codes for a strong immune system and lots of energy, and undesirable to maintain a lifestyle that triggers the expression of a gene that codes for, say, cancer. The study of how our environment and lifestyle causes our genes to share these messages or not is called epigenetics.
Click here to read about The Determinants of Health and Longevity
The Determinants of
Health and Longevity