Most folks believe that aging is a matter of wear and tear, as if our bodies were like an old, worn tire. But aging is an active process of self-destruction. After the body has done its job of reproducing, Mother Nature says, “Okay, you’re done! Now it’s time to get out of the way.” Some systems actually turn against the body, destroying perfectly good tissue, as if “on purpose.” It is the body shutting itself down. If only we kept producing the same hormones, we did when we were young — which offers a compelling argument for bio-identical hormones.
Every chromosome in every cell contains a timekeeper, a tail at the end called a telomere. Each time the cell divides, that tail shortens. Cells with really short telomeres stop growing and dividing altogether, and your hourglass has run out. Short telomeres send out signals that cause inflammation. While inflammation is a natural and important part of our immune defense, when we age the inflammatory process is dialed up much too high, killing healthy cells. Too much inflammation can inflame our arteries and lead to diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
Another process of aging is something called apoptosis, which is literally cell suicide. Apoptosis is also a natural and important process. Cells deliberately kill off diseased, defective, and cancerous cells — and that’s a good thing. But when we age the body can commit apoptosis on healthy muscle and nerve cells, leading to weakness of the muscles and brain.
In my opinion, there are four major links to aging, disease, and death: epigenetics, toxins, lack of proper nutrients, and stress. Genes discovered to regulate aging were related to insulin metabolism. So for a start, it is important to keep your blood sugar and insulin under control by eliminating refined carbohydrates. Speaking of diet, studies have shown that aging is slowed by calorie restriction.
To make new cells, an existing cell divide in two. It copies its DNA so the new cells will each have a complete set of genetic instructions. Cells sometimes make mistakes during the copying process — kind of like typos. These typos — called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs — lead to variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations. SNPs are our genetic…