Aging is optional

While I was at my kid’s swimming lessons this morning, I noticed an older gentleman, probably in his seventies, swimming laps. He was fit. Probably more fit than I am, and certainly a better swimmer than I am. It made me think, what is age anyway?

David Asprey claims that he will live to be 180+. He believes that, with the right nutrition and other lifestyle factors, he can hack his mind and body and increase his longevity (1). He calls this Biohacking. In his book Head Strong, David addresses many factors that affect aging, most notably mitochondrial function. While I could go into this subject in depth, I’m not going to today, because it’s Saturday and we have tickets to the Nutcracker ballet in about an hour. You can pick up a copy of Head Strong and read about it yourself if you are so inclined. Today I will give you a quick little synopsis of anti-aging.

Mitochondria are little inclusions in our cells that are the cell’s powerhouses. Some cells have many mitochondria, some have just one or two. The only cells that don’t seem to have mitochondria at all are the red blood cells. Mitochondria are said to have been ancient bacteria that evolved to function inside the cells of living things (2). As we age, the function of our mitochondria decreases. The average seventy-year-old has about half the mitochondrial function that a thirty-year-old does (1). Many symptoms of “normal aging” can be attributed to this decline.

So is this decline inevitable? David Asprey thinks not. He says that by supercharging your mitochondria while you are young and continuing to take care of them into old age, you can avoid or even reverse the signs of aging. I’m on board. How can we do this?

Dave says that the trick is to avoid EOMD or early on-set mitochondrial dysfunction. Say what? Do you have mood swings? Cravings? Fatigue? Then you may already have it. Not to say that you are sunk, but you might want to start paying attention to your diet and lifestyle now. Hydration, anti-oxidants, quality sleep, avoiding environmental toxins and being aware of how much junk light you are exposed to all matter to your mitochondria.

How do we improve our mitochondrial function? Since mitochondria turn food into energy, giving them quality raw ingredients is important. Without going into too great of detail here (although this is one of my favorite subjects), this means eating a quality diet. In a nutshell, choose mostly green vegetables, make sure you are sourcing quality protein, get quality fats, and avoid sugar like the plague (3).

Stress is a major factor in mitochondrial function, too. Mitochondria aren’t fond of cortisol. Again, I could go on and on about the importance of avoiding stress. In fact, I wrote a blog just on this subject (Four Simple Solutions to Overcome Stress and Anxiety). Negative stress is that which is continual, like job stress or relationship stress. However, small, short duration stressors are good for you. There is a reason why that seventy-year-old guy that swims every day is in great shape. Exercise, ice baths, infrared saunas and the like are all positive stressors that can lengthen telomeres. Oh by-the-way, if you’re serious about this anti-aging thing you should know what telomeres are. Ben Greenfield is a pretty good source. You can read about telomeres on his site here:

So, this is a very short synopsis that barely scratches the surface of what you can do for anti-aging. The point is, aging is optional if you’re willing to educate yourself and do the work to stop or even reverse factors that influence it. In Head Strong, David Asprey also goes in depth into keeping your brain in good working order as you age as well. Because who wants a healthy body if your mind is kaput? Look at some of the resources listed below to open your eyes to what aging means and how you can age gracefully.

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(1) Asprey, David. Head Strong. Harper Collins, 2017, New York.

(2) Biology Dictionary.

See also

Bulletproof Blog, Bulletproof Radio

via Daily Prompt: Age

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