Aging gracefully: The ultimate guide to natural aging solutions

Apr 12, 2024

Anti-Aging. We’ve all heard this term before, but what does this really mean? To be opposed, against aging? Well, let me tell you resistance is futile, as they say! Aging is part of the human experience, and whether you are against it or not, it's inevitably going to happen. For now, this is out of our control. 

Don't fret though, I have good news! What is within your control is how you age. There are many things you can do to slow down the aging process, and to help prevent many common disorders and diseases that often come along with aging. This can be achieved through a healthier diet, lifestyle, and through supplementation. 

So, let's focus more on Healthy Aging, rather than Anti-Aging. I have many tips and recommendations to share that can help set you on a path to better health and getting the most out of your years as you age. Let’s get started! 

Ok, first off, how and why do we even age in the first place?  

This one is a mystery that has stumped scientists for centuries, and to this very day it still remains a mystery. Many theories have been created, but none have been definitively proven. One thing that has been mostly agreed on is that aging is caused by many, if not a myriad of factors. Some of those factors may be, 

Oxidative Stress – accumulative damage to the DNA builds over time, due to RONS (reactive oxygen and nitrogen species)1. This hastens the aging process. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction - Mitochondria can become dysfunctional as we age, losing the ability to provide cellular energy and releasing more ROS (reactive oxygen species) which harms cells and damages DNA over time (2). 

Glycation- Glycation occurs when glucose binds with proteins and lipids, creating something called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) that does exactly that, it ages you. AGEs accumulate in tissues and organs, causing a lot of damage, as they are highly inflammatory (3). 

Telomere Shortening – Telomeres help to ensure stability of the chromosomes and protect our chromosomes from degrading. As we age, telomeres continuously shorten, and can trigger our body’s DNA damage response, signaling cells to stop dividing or die. This contributes to the aging process (4). 

Many of these factors can be drivers of cellular senescence. Cellular senescence is when cells stop functioning normally, but don't die (apoptosis) as they should, and instead the cells become senescent. Senescent cells, also known as Zombie cells, can no longer replicate, but they can be very problematic as they remain metabolically active and can provoke an immune response through the secretion of pro-inflammatory factors that is called SASP. SASP consists of cytokines and chemokines and many other factors. Senescent cells can build up in many places in the body, tissues, organs, and within the blood vessels. They have been found in higher concentrations in many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s disease (5). Before we villainize Senescent cells, just know that not all Senescent cells are bad. Some Senescent cells secrete certain growth factors that are responsible for healing and repairing damaged tissue (6).  

So, what can we do to slow down the aging process and reduce our chances of developing age related diseases? 

The good news is aging gracefully is within your grasp. You have the power through your choices and habits to not only extend your Lifespan, but most importantly your Healthspan too. Although there is no guarantee that we will live to reach old age, we can make the most of our health and quality of life right now. Through diet, lifestyle, stress management and supplements, you can set yourself on the path towards healthy aging and a better quality of life. You are never too young or too old to start.  

Let’s get started with antioxidants! Antioxidants are like superheroes when it comes to the fight against oxidative stress and damage. They play an important role in disarming those oxidants, and cleaning up the damage they do. Some antioxidants even help clear up some of the Zombie cells (Senescent cells). Here is an introduction to some of the many antioxidants out there that can be utilized for healthy aging. 

Grape Seed Extract (GSE)

Grape seed extract is getting a lot of attention recently, and rightly so! It is anti-inflammatory, may help prevent cognitive decline, and is beneficial for cardiovascular health, as it may help reduce systolic blood pressure (7).  What makes GSE beneficial for slowing down aging is a flavonoid compound found in it called Proanthocyanidins. Most research has been done on a member of the Proanthocyanidin family called Procyanidin C1 (PCC1). PCC1 has been shown in rodent studies to have the ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory factors from senescent cells, but it is also able to selectively kill off the damaging senescent cells in the body and spare the good ones (8). The outcome of the studies seems promising, but human studies are needed to see if this compound exerts the same effect in the body. 

NMN

NMN has really become popular over the last couple of years! NMN can be beneficial for health aging and slowing down age related health decline. NMN is an NAD+ precursor and can increase NAD+ levels in the body. NAD+ is important for cellular health and energy production, and NAD+ levels decrease in the body as we age. This can lead to inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, cognitive decline and many other issues. NMN also activates Sirtuin expression, especially Sirt1, which when overexpressed, can lead to increased Telomere length (9). Activation of Sirtuins can help reduce inflammation in the body, protect DNA from damage and potentially increase lifespan. NMN is often taken in conjunction with Resveratrol to enhance this effect, and for anyone taking high doses of NMN (more than 1 g/day), it may be beneficial to take TMG (Trimethylglycine) to support methylation, as NMN can deplete methyl groups in our body. 

Taurine

Taurine is a mighty amino acid that can have a powerful effect on your healthspan, and potentially your lifespan. It really does it all! Taurine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can protect heart cells and retinal cells from oxidative damage, it improves mitochondrial function and can also increase insulin sensitivity! Amazing!! In animal studies, it has been shown to reduce the number of senescent cells in the body, increase life span, protect against telomere attrition and decrease DNA damage (10). It is uncertain whether Taurine can increase life span in humans, as no clinical trials have been done yet. However, in the EPIC-Norfolk study that was conducted on humans, they linked taurine deficiency with many diseases and age-related health decline (11). 

CoQ10

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that improves mitochondrial function, reduces oxidative stress in the body and can improve cardiovascular health (12).  CoQ10 may also be helpful for brain health, as it can enhance cognitive function and may help prevent cognitive decline. Which form of CoQ10 to take has been a hot debate for years. CoQ10 comes in two different forms, Ubiquinol (reduced form) and Ubiquinone (oxidized form). Our body must convert Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol, and our body does a fairly good job of doing so. However, we become less effective at converting Ubiquinone into the Ubiquinol form as we age. There are no studies showing if there is a big difference in how well we convert CoQ10 at certain stages of life, but regardless of what form you choose, choose a formulation that has been made for enhanced absorption.  

Glutathione enhancing supplements

Glutathione is considered the “Master Antioxidant”, as it plays an important and powerful role in the body.  Glutathione is important for combating oxidative stress in the body, it is essential for optimal liver function and detoxification processes. It may also increase lifespan and healthspan. Oral Glutathione is notoriously hard to absorb, unless it is formulated in a liposomal form. Even in liposomal form, absorption may be quite limited, and it can be incredibly expensive.  There are many other supplements available that increase Glutathione levels more effectively, without breaking the bank. Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of them. Not only can Alpha Lipoic Acid increase Glutathione levels in the body, it can also reduce the formation of AGEs, and improve insulin sensitivity (13). N-A-C is another gem for increasing Glutathione levels, as well as Glycine supplementation. Whey is another way to increase Glutathione levels in the body, and it can also help ward off age related muscle loss. There are many antioxidants that can also be used to spare Glutathione levels, such as Selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. 

A healthy diet and active lifestyle are very important for slowing down the aging process, as well as preventing chronic disease. An ideal diet to follow for healthy aging is the Mediterranean Diet or the Green Mediterranean Diet, as it is rich in polyphenols and numerous antioxidants and nutrients that can help combat oxidative damage in the body (14). Exercise is equally as important as diet. A combo of endurance training and resistance exercises can help stave off age related muscle loss, reduce bone loss and it can help prevent many chronic diseases that come along with advanced age and inactivity. Don't forget about exercises for balance as well, as they can help prevent falls and other injuries as you age. 

Last but not least, it is important to highlight the benefits of reducing stress levels and staying cognitively active. The hormones released during long periods of stress can be especially detrimental to brain health. Over time they can impact memory retention, and even shrink an area of the brain that is important for processing emotions. This can lead to depression and anxiety. Maintaining social connections, finding ways to manage stress (meditation, therapy, exercise), and getting enough good quality sleep is critical for preventing cognitive decline as we age. Exercise is also incredibly important for brain health and can help improve blood flow to the brain. It can also increase memory retention, enhance mood and reduce anxiety. Keep your brain active by learning new things, taking on new challenges, and changing up your day-to-day routine often. This can help to keep you mentally sharp, prevent age related cognitive decline, and even reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. 

Take small steps each day to create positive change in your life. This will have a lasting impact on your overall health and help you to age gracefully in the years to come.  

Please always check with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, making major changes to your diet, or starting any new supplements. Everyone has their own unique needs and health issues, and some of the suggestions in this article may be detrimental to some people with certain health issues. 

Article by Jennifer Fraser, C.H.N.C. and customer engagement expert

References: 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5927356/ 

(2) https://www.jci.org/articles/view/64125 

(3) https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/65A/9/963/757335 

(4) https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00026.2007 

(5) https://www.nature.com/articles/s43587-021-00142-3 

(6) https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2022/10/424041/senescent-cells-also-help-heal-damaged-tissues 

(7) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21802563/ 

(8) https://www.nature.com/articles/s42255-021-00491-8 

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514220/ 

(10) https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn9257 

(11) https://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/blog/2023/07/05/epic-norfolk-open-science-aging/ 

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151454/ 

(13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18803954/ 

(14) https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-023-03067-3 

 

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