We are all growing older. Nobody likes it except young people wanting to be adults.
For those of us who are adults, growing older is often viewed as a negative.There are some distinguishing characteristics of aging that we all recognize. Perhaps most prominent is reduced mobility.
Characteristics of Aging
- Loss of skeletal muscle. As we age we usually exercise less and do less heavy lifting. Without being stressed, our muscles begin to atrophy, or lose muscle mass. Most people will lose about 30-50% of their muscle mass as they age.
- Reduced physical function. Due to loss of muscle mass and increasing aches and pains, most older people have increasing difficulties with normal everyday activities. Climbing stairs, walking and balancing become more difficult and painful.
- Weight increase. Because of lack of activity fewer calories are burned each day. If food consumption is not reduced significantly, the older person will gain weight. Bad food choices in both quality and quantity will produce metabolic effects such as obesity or type 2 diabetes.
- More vulnerable to stress. Mental, physical, and emotional stress increases as we grow older. Reduced resilience to handling these stressful challenges means reduced control over our lives, less capacity to fulfill goals, and less enjoyment of life.
- Reduced bodily functioning. Physical activity, or the lack of activity, has an affect throughout the body. Movement enhances your cardiovascular system, helps lymph system circulation, improves sleep, and elevates your mood. Movement changes the expression of your genetic blueprint by turning on or turning off genes. Lack of movement or exercise has negative effects throughout the body.
Can You Reverse Aging?
While there are many ideas about why we age, one idea is that the cells in your body no longer communicate with other cells the way they did when you were younger. Components of your cells become damaged so they can no longer communicate as they once did.
For proper function, the mitochondria in your cells must receive direction from the cell nucleus. When communication breaks down, your body cannot function properly.
A compound in your body, NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a communication enhancer that helps the cells in your body function. Unfortunately, the concentration of NAD decreases over time. Some evidence indicates that NAD levels decrease 50% every 20 years after birth.
Another natural compound in your body, NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide, stimulates production of NAD. In fact, increasing NMN in your body has amazing effects including.
- Lower body weight
- Increased energy
- Better mitochondrial function
- Better insulin sensitivity
- Activation of the Sir1 longevity gene
- Improved eyesight
- Increased bone density
- Reduced muscle loss
- Enhanced immune system
Researchers have worked so hard to find an enzyme that can slow down some of the chronic conditions that come with age.
Up to now the tests were done on mice, but they feel confident enough to try them on people as well. It is interesting that this enzyme is found in natural foods such as broccoli and cucumbers.
This ongoing quest for the “Fountain of Youth” has included an international team of researchers that may have discovered a compound that make cells act younger than they really are, but so far tested only on mice.
Researchers led by the Washington University School of Medicine published in Cell Metabolism paper stating that they found an agent that can balance out what happens in aging cells so that they can behave as they would in a younger mouse. That compound is also found in many organic foods like cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage and edamame.
The compound is called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), and it is incorporated in producing another compound that is crucial for energy metabolism. So, when a normal aging mouse gets infusions of NMN, where researches produced more of that energy-fueling compound, certain biological problems related to aging were gone. The subject NMN animals did not gain as much weight, but converted food into energy more efficiently, and their blood sugar and eyesight were improved. The mice receiving NMN could prevent certain genetic changes related to aging.
Because most of the lab mice live only for several years, the researchers started the NMN treatments at five months, and lasted for a year. The study could not conclude that mice live longer; only that there are lower rates of age-related diseases.
However, even if you eat as much as possible of broccoli or cabbage you cannot achieve the sufficient amount from natural foods to extend your life says Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and medicine at Washington University and senior author of the paper.
Keio University in Tokyo is launching an early study on people by using pill form of NMN. Here is what Imai says, quoting: “It’s clear that in humans and in rodents, we lose energy with age.” Furthermore, “We are losing the enzyme NMN. But if we can bypass that process by adding NMN, we can make energy again. These results provide a very important foundation for the human studies.”
These findings are correlated along with other anti-aging compounds tested on animals like the diabetes drug metformin, rapamycin and sirtuins; and all of them are as well as involved in energy-making process. Imai says, quoting: “All of these pathways cross-talk with each other.” Furthermore, “We don’t know the precise details of how, but they are communicating with each other.”
The general hope is that studies performed on humans will give more information about how to keep cells young, moreover to stop or hold off the diseases that typically occur as the cells get older and lose their function.
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NMN is a derivative of niacin, vitamin B3. So, foods with NMN or niacin will be helpful in combating aging. Some of these foods include:
- Green tea
Some studies indicate that foods do not contain enough NMN to cause a significant increase in NAD. So, supplements will probably be necessary.
A recent study of supplements has shown positive results for increasing NAD. The study showed “initial results of its second human clinical study of NIAGEN® nicotinamide riboside chloride (NR) have confirmed NR significantly and sustainably raises the co-enzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in 140 healthy human volunteers over 8-weeks.”
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