We are in a time when people are worrying from an early age about how they are going to age and adopting lifestyles with sound practices to slow down, or in other cases, reverse ageing. Learn what Silicon Valley billionaires like Jack Dorsey (former CEO Twitter), Larry Page (co-founder of Google), Larry Ellison (co-founder Oracle), or Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies) are making hip these days.
Today we will look at some of the techniques to reverse the effects of biological ageing that are currently being used.
Cryotherapy or Cold Therapy
Cold exposure could be one of the best anti-ageing and longevity methods along with exercise and fasting, as it increases mitochondria and improves their function. We need mitochondria to produce energy in cells, and this function decreases with ageing or poor lifestyle habits. The degradation of mitochondria also inactivates brown fat and converts beige fat to white fat.
When it comes to activating your longevity genes and ageing well, an important term to keep in mind is called hormesis. Hormesis is your body's response to small healthy stresses - for example, fasting for a short period of time, or doing short but very fast sprints, if you are a runner.
These brief periods of distress stimulate the body's defences against ageing without doing harm. Creating small, manageable challenges with respect to food, exercise and, yes, short exposures to temperature extremes (either heat or cold), can help slow your body's natural deterioration due to ageing.
One high-tech way to boost hormesis is cryotherapy. Typically, for two to five minutes, you stand in a specialised cabin where liquid nitrogen lowers the temperature to sub-arctic levels. Originally used as a clinical therapy to treat rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, cryotherapy has become increasingly popular among professional athletes and is now a routine treatment for the rest of us to help us recover from exercise and relieve pain.
Whether you are physically active, a recreational athlete or more sedentary, this brief exposure to extremely low temperatures stimulates genetic longevity pathways, increases mitochondrial production, and helps reduce inflammation.
The best thing is that you don't have to resort to a cryotherapy cabin as cold showers, ice baths and ice packs work perfectly well.
Not only are genes and mitochondria activated by this practice, according to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, cold exposure is an emerging therapeutic approach to treat metabolic dysregulation in diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Repeated exposure to cold may help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce fasting blood glucose, and improve dietary fatty acid handling.
Further research is needed to understand the effects of prolonged cold exposure on glucose regulation, skeletal muscle recruitment, cardiovascular responses, and myocardial function in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
Calorie restriction and fasting are probably the two most studied methods of promoting health and preventing premature ageing.
It doesn't matter which method of fasting or intermittent fasting you choose. Almost any periodic fasting diet that does not result in malnutrition can increase the expression of longevity genes, which could translate into a healthier life span.
Hunger is good. It is the sensation of hunger that triggers the activation of the process called autophagy where cell regeneration takes place, releasing human growth hormone and activating the anti-ageing clock.
Not eating for 12 hours every night is not fasting, it is just prolonging the time that your body rests and is available to absorb the nutrients that you will ingest through the food you break your fast with.
Sun, red light therapy and/or vitamin D3
We've already talked in my article and video about the importance of exposing your skin to the sun, but remember do it gradually, in small increments and don't overdo it.
If you don't expose yourself to the sun which is a crucial nutrient for your health, or at least red-light therapy, it is very possible to become vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D3 is a hormone and is central to important bodily functions, affecting bones, mental health, and energy levels. Low vitamin D also causes muscle, bone and back pain, and extreme fatigue, to name just a few unpleasant symptoms. It causes calcium to be drawn out of the bones and deposited in the arteries.
The only nutritional forms of vitamin D found in humans are vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol. The source of vitamin D2 is plant sterols, while D3 is produced by the skin.
Optimal absorption of calcium and phosphorus is crucial for the prevention of osteoporosis and the protection of bones. The total amount of calcium the body absorbs from the diet depends on two main factors: one is the actual amount consumed and the other is the efficiency of the absorption process, which is regulated by vitamin D3.
Because of its essential role in many of the body's processes such as bone, neurological and immune health, vitamin D3 is an important anti-aging molecule to include in your longevity health regimen.
As you age, calcitriol production is reduced by 50% due to age-related decline in kidney function. Impaired kidney function leads to reduced activity of the enzyme responsible for converting calcidiol to calcitriol.
Moreover, one of the first signs of ageing is the loss of muscle mass and decreased muscle function known as sarcopenia. Vitamin D3 has been found to be vital in building and strengthening human skeletal muscle, as one study shows.
Exercise increases blood flow, strengthens muscles, improves the cardiovascular system, and forces the body to make all organs function to perform at their best during demanding activity such as endurance or strength training.
Therefore, it is the intensity rather than the duration of exercise that has proven to provide the most anti-ageing benefits.
Among the known alternatives are high-intensity interval training. As mentioned above, athletic training combined with sprints or very fast runs, as well as weight training or what is known as Blood Flow Restraint, which is carried out with bands that reduce normal blood flow for a few minutes.
An exercise session that causes you to sweat copiously will activate the genes that restore youthfulness at the cellular level. These longevity genes lengthen telomeres, boost mitochondrial activity, and induce the growth of new micro vessels that supply oxygen to cells. Outwardly, it manifests itself in a lithe body, youthful skin, and a youthful appearance.
It is not uncommon for those who are serious about longevity to have a medicine cabinet full of supplements. Some of the following supplements, such as Nicotinamide Mononucleotide and Ashwagandha, have become popular and the others are additions of my own.
According to www.nmn.com, clinical trials on the effects of NMN on human ageing have only just begun in recent years. So far, NMN has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, improve sleep and physical performance, increase exercise endurance, improve skin health, increase walking speed, and increase strength in middle-aged and older adults. These clinical trials suggest that much of the research demonstrating the anti-ageing effects of NMN in animals is translatable to humans.
However, more long-term studies are needed to assess the adverse effects that may occur with chronic NMN supplementation. If NMN is shown to be safe in the long term, larger studies could show even more significant anti-ageing effects.
To obtain the above results, it is recommended that 250 milligrams per day of NMN be taken for at least 12 weeks.
According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, Ashwagandha is an excellent adaptogen that has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditionally, it is used for various ailments and general well-being, including the treatment of geriatric patients. Quality of life (QoL) management remains a challenge for the elderly population, especially the management of joint pain, sleep, and general well-being. With the increasing elderly population worldwide, QoL management with effective medication and supplements is a major health need.
A recent study indicates that Ashwagandha may help maintain the length of key proteins at the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. Telomeres tend to shorten in the process of DNA replication with age, which has been identified as a major factor in "accelerating cellular ageing and promoting degeneration processes".
Experiments have been conducted with Ashwagandha root extract and the results suggest that this extract is effective in improving quality of life (QoL), sleep quality, and mental alertness, as self-assessed by elderly participants. The recommended dose used in this study may be effective for the elderly population.
The concentration used was 300 mg twice a day for 12 weeks to achieve the above results.
Carnosine is a naturally occurring substance which appears to prolong the period during which cells continue to divide in a youthful manner. As we age, carnosine levels in the body decrease, which may explain the reduction in muscle mass and function seen in ageing humans. Carnosine has been shown to be effective in treating senile cataracts in dogs and in preventing cataract development in rabbits.
Laboratory research suggests that carnosine can rejuvenate cells approaching the end of the life cycle of dividing cells, restoring normal appearance and prolonging cell lifespan.
Carnosine stands out as a promising multi-modal life-prolonging discovery. It prolongs life at the cellular and organismal level. Scientific evidence suggests that carnosine may help preserve the structural, functional, and genetic integrity of the body in a natural way.
Some of the age-related conditions that carnosine may help prevent (and treat) are:
Cellular senescence (cellular ageing)
Reticulation of the crystalline lens
Accumulation of damaged proteins
Cerebral circulatory deficit
Skin collagen cross-linking
Oxidation of LDL cholesterol
Chromosomal DNA damage
Formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs)
Molecular Hydrogen H2
According to a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, molecular hydrogen H2 has antioxidant properties as it directly neutralises hydroxyl radicals and reduces the level of peroxy-nitrite. It also activates Nrf2 and HO-1, which regulate many antioxidant enzymes and proteasomes.
Through its antioxidant effect, hydrogen maintains genomic stability, mitigates cellular senescence, and participates in histone modification, telomere maintenance and proteostasis. In addition, hydrogen can prevent inflammation and regulate the mTOR nutrient-sensing system, autophagy, apoptosis, and mitochondria, all of which are ageing-related factors.
Hydrogen can also be used for the prevention and treatment of various ageing-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Some people in their quest for eternal youth are going further and are turning to prescription drugs. The ones being used these days are, primarily,
Metformin is an orally effective, insulin-sensitising, synthetic biguanide antidiabetic drug, which for most patients is the first line antihyperglycemic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Hormone therapy (testosterone/oestrogen) and Rapamycin.
According to an article in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, genes and cell signalling pathways related to the cell cycle, DNA repair, cell death, mitochondria, immunity, nutrient signalling, and IGF-1 have been studied as targets for anti-ageing strategies.
Metformin, a biguanide, has been suggested as a potential anti-ageing drug because of its insulin-sensitising action, which reduces insulin levels and normalises IGF-1 levels, and its activation of AMPK, a key regulator of cellular pathways related to lifespan and health.
Dysregulation of mTOR signalling, a pathway linked to nutrient signalling and IGF-1-mediated growth, is associated with accelerated ageing and various diseases, supporting metformin's potential role as an anti-ageing drug.
The journal www.healthnews.com mentions that rapamycin acts by inhibiting the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). In humans, mTOR is a protein kinase encoded by the MTOR gene and plays a role in the insulin, growth factor and amino acid pathways; sensing of oxygen, energy, cellular levels and nutrients; regulation of metabolism; and brain, muscle, liver and tissue function.
Dysregulation of mTOR has been linked to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's disease, lupus, and lymphoproliferative diseases, as well as shortened lifespan (in fruit flies, some worms and yeast). The ability of rapamycin to inhibit mTOR is therefore relevant to the prevention and treatment of these same conditions.
The use of rapamycin to combat ageing is likely to be most effective if given to people before they develop age-related diseases, so that they can increase both their health and life expectancy. However, it is not a panacea, but a supplement that could be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and diet.
The anti-ageing effects of rapamycin are complex because scientists do not yet know exactly what causes ageing. Disruption of cell division, loss of stem cells, damaged DNA and telomere shortening appear to play a role in both degeneration of the body and age-related diseases that shorten life expectancy, such as Alzheimer's disease.
It would increase longevity. Rapamycin's role in longevity is linked to its ability to enhance autophagy, a process that resolves damage to cellular organs and protects cells from stress.
When rapamycin inhibits mTOR, it appears to simultaneously enhance autophagy. This, in turn, could delay the onset of the body's ageing process and age-related diseases and give people a longer, healthier life. This is why some researchers believe we could use rapamycin for longevity.
Testosterone and Oestrogen Hormone Therapy
Testosterone replacement has been gaining popularity among both men and women as it influences mood, libido and even metabolism.
Testosterone is produced in women by the ovaries and adrenal glands, increases libido and sexual response. It strengthens ligaments, strengthens muscles and bones, supports brain function, and is associated with purposeful behaviour and a sense of well-being. Testosterone level influences both stamina and restful sleep. It has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
For these last three prescription drug approaches, you should consult your doctor before use.