Since the dawn of time man has always pondered on the essence of aging. However science over the last 100 years has, through pedantic and laboriously slow research, began to tentatively unravel this highly complex question. Today, with the quickening of scientific developments, researchers can now identify a series of interrelated biological trends that simultaneously accompany the aging process. Such aging trends include: cell senescence, hormone decline, free radical generation, oxidative stress, cell mutation, chronic inflammation, immune system compromise, neurological degeneration, tissue glycation and lipofuscin accumulation.
However these observable aging elements currently cannot be amalgamated into a single accepted general theory of aging. The situation is further complicated by the fact that each deteriorating element of the aging process renders the body more vulnerable to debilitating diseases, which in turn may adversely affect the other elements in the process.
In addition, we are all genetically unique, hence some may be genetically more susceptible to accelerated aging trends, which in turn renders them more vulnerable to the ravages of fatal diseases.
The individual, but interrelated, aspects of aging may be summarized briefly, in very simplistic terms, as follows:
Cells are ‘ born – manufactured ‘ within the marrow of our bones, as undifferentiated stem cells which migrate around the body and then differentiate into the various specific-defined cells, called somatic cells, that make up the different body components. These cells continue to multiply by duplication. However the cell’s ability to continue to subdivide, duplicate and thus multiply does not continue indefinitely, since in time the cells lose their vibrancy. In human cells this limitation of vibrancy is reached after the cells have duplicated themselves by approximately 40-50 divisions, a barrier termed the Hayflick limit. The cells lifespan is imposed by the durability of their telomeres, which hold the cell tips together. With each cell division the telomeres shorten until they fail to function and the cell can no longer divide and multiply and the cell becomes a senescence cell and dies. Thus telomeres act like biological clocks.
The body’s hormone levels including human growth hormone (HGH). DHEA, Melatonin, pregnenealone and testosterone etc which are the body’s regulators, generally peak and subsequently plateau within the age range of 20-25 years and there in after slowly decline as we age, with a precipitous fall-off after the age of 65-75 years. This lowering of hormonal intensity results in a less rigorous response from the body, with overall negative repercussions for its well-being, including a less robust metabolic and immune function, plus a disrupted sleep pattern, accompanied by a noticeable acceleration of the aging process. This hormonal deterioration also adversely influences a person’s drive, personality, sexuality and behavioral habits.
Free Radical Generation
The aging theory of free radical generation and the resultant damage was first proposed by Professor Denham Harman (1950’s). The theory states that in the very act of living our bodies are continuously absorbing and breaking down and reconfiguring complex chemicals, which are used via the metabolic system to produce energy etc. However such biological reactions produce unstable highly active “free radicals”, which seek chemical stability by bonding themselves to the nearest stabilizing agent, including our DNA structures, etc. Such bonding’s distort the DNA.’s function, which may lower its vitality or even worse cause the DNA. Structure to permanently mutate. Thus the continuous generation of destructive free radicals leads to the natural biological process we call “aging”. In order to minimize the destructive nature of free radicals they must be quenched (chemically stabilized) by antioxidants. During our youth our body’s innate capacity to generate anti-oxidants keeps the free-radical damage potential in check. However as we age our bodies lose their anti-oxidant vitality and then aging, followed by accelerated aging takes hold.
Oxidative damage is the accumulative damage to cells and tissues due to our body’s incapacity to...