The Key to Healthy Aging: PS It's Not Botox
Is aging inevitable? Some say we have answers to slow down or even stop the process. In David Sinclair's book "Why We Age and Why We Don't Have To," he discusses research which indicates that the same processes which contribute to chronic disease also contribute to aging. Therefore, as we discover how to reverse chronic disease, we can also age slower. And vice versa--if we slow aging we also inhibit chronic disease development. Double bonus! So where does aging come from--like what is actually happening as we get slower and creakier and more wrinkly?
1. Low-grade, chronic inflammation. That's basically it. It comes from a low-nutrient diet (could be fast food, but could also be from not eating enough...ahem ladies!); vitamin deficiencies (again from diet, alcohol, medicines, and/or high stress); environmental exposure to toxins and pollutants (yes fossil fuels but also the gels and creams we slather all over our bodies every day). Sounds simple, but literally the things we do every day (or don't do) slowly promote aging at the cellular level.
2. How specifically does again occur? Well quick (I promise--keep reading) biology lesson--within every cell of our body, there are mitochondria which are like little miniature bodily organs whose job is to drive energy production and toxin removal. Science is learning and publishing new research almost every day on just how important mitochondrial function is when it comes to aging, athletic performance, and even cancer. Optimize mitochondria --> stop cancer, aging, and disease. Mind blowing, right?
3. So how do we support our mitochondria? Start with the basics--clean, whole food; water; air; exercise. Specifically, mitochondria love antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, and high-quality B-vitamins (see my previous post on how to identify cheap imposter B-vitamins). Limiting the amount of toxins entering the body also helps mitochondria to function more efficiently. Supplement versions of these nutrients may be appropriate, but work with a knowledgeable dietitian, nutritionist, or functional practitioner on appropriate dosing and usage. In the meantime, slowly work on reducing environmental toxin exposure (it can be overwhelming to do all at once). This includes: cookware (stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic are less likely to leach harmful chemicals into food), water (purified to remove heavy metals and fluoride), synthetic fragrances, and skincare products (EWG is a great website/guide to start with to become familiar with cleaner body care product recommendations.)
Bottom line: aging isn't just something that happens on the outside. It starts on the inside, and we don't have to rely on potions and lotions to slow the effects. Small, daily habits can add up and keep us feeling and looking younger longer!