What Is The Secret Of The Fountain Of Youth?
Is there a fountain of youth?
The Fountain of Youth is in St. Augustine. In legend, this is the place where Ponce De Leon discovered the healing waters that magically maintain your youthful appearance. Drink from the magical spring’s waters, plus explore many exhibits and historical attractions at the 15-acre Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
While a lot of research has been done on the subject of reverse aging and establishing that fountain of youth, a recent study was actually successful in reversing the process of aging in mice.
The study indicated that not only did the mice appear younger but that their lifespan was extended by approximately 30 percent. And while the study has only been done on mice, researchers are hopeful that the same would be ready for human trials within the next few years.
The basis of this research was something called epigenetics. By definition, this means the study of inherent changes in gene function. As we move through life, our genetic makeup changes in many different ways.
For instance, outside factors such as environmental pollutants like smoking or lifestyle habits like alcohol and drug dependency can bring about changes that will affect our personal fountain of youth. And with a change in our genes, our bodies change as well. When the body changes, it starts to age, unfortunately.
Whether these changes promote a predisposition to an inherited condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis or create a new condition that the body remains unable to recover from, such epigenetic changes supply a lot of information for why these things happen. And when scientists find out why these changes happen they can work on a way of stopping them from happening or even reversing them such as in aging.
Scientists have also determined an age reversing agent known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+. This compound was present more in younger mice than older ones and is very important in repairing DNA damage. There is also another DNA repair agent called PARP1 which responds well to NAD+ levels in the human body. So the higher the NAD+, the more PARP1.
Younger individuals, much like younger mice, have higher levels and these levels start to fall as people age. This, in turn, makes it harder for DNA to restore itself. So with this in mind, scientists gave more NAD+ to older mice and sure enough, they started to appear younger, biologically. It was like they had a fountain of youth.
As a takeaway, research findings concluded that by changing adult cells into their earlier stage, reverse aging may be set in motion.
But that is for the scientists to do. As for your part, what you can do to reverse aging is to take better care of yourself to stop cellular damage at different levels. Once your cells are working well, they are in a stronger position to repair DNA themselves and stop aging prematurely.
What Else Does Science Say?
Science has a whole lot more to say about reverse aging, but we will only look at some basics here. Just enough to get an idea about established research into the topic.
Looking for a way to halt aging and find that elusive fountain of youth has undoubtedly stepped into science labs to unlock the mysteries of aging. In fact, research believes that not only may we be close to stopping aging but actually reversing it as well.
For starters, as mentioned earlier, your genes have a big role in how fast or slowly you age. But because genes are something beyond your control, here is what you need to know about genes affecting the aging process.
DNA research has shown that specific genes are responsible for aging. Collectively dubbed as ‘late-life cycles’, this set of genes activate only in later life or during bouts of intense stress.
Stressors related to aging such as molecular and cellular damage, oxidative stress, and even some disease states cause these genes to respond. Plus some of these genes have been studied to be more active in individuals with cancer, creating more responses in such people and signaling a higher level of distress. All of this activity will quickly age you taxing not only your looks but also your health.
The same set of genes are also activated if something called the circadian rhythm is out of sync.
One of the elements that need to be maintained well is a person’s circadian rhythm. This is roughly your 24-hour cycle or body clock which determines your physical, mental, and behavioral patterns. In other words, daily routines from waking up to going back to sleep all fall within your circadian rhythm. It is also known as your sleep/wake cycle.
So what you do during this sleep/wake cycle can actually determine the state of your overall health.
Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits such as going to bed at a good hour and waking up early in the morning (incidentally, the circadian rhythm also coincides with sunrise and sundown).
With your circadian rhythm disrupted, eating and sleeping patterns can run amok which will naturally have a say in how you age.
So as a heads up for what’s coming on later in the book, it is important to eat and sleep well to reverse the effects of aging and keep that fountain of youth flowing.
Hormones are natural chemicals produced in one part of the body, released into the bloodstream, and then used by other organs and systems.
These hormones also start to get out of whack as we age. Typically, the levels of hormone production in the body start to slow down as you near 30. In particular, regulatory hormone production like estrogen and testosterone declines, and many bodily functions/ features start to get affected.
There are different hormones involved in the aging process like adrenal, thyroid, sex, and metabolic hormones. Together, they are responsible for a wide variety of health concerns like body composition, bone health, energy levels, and brain function among many others.
These declining hormone levels make the body less capable of regulating these functions as we start to experience age-related symptoms like cognitive decline, weight gain, lower muscle strength and endurance as well as dry skin and hair loss.
Fortunately, there are many things that we can do to promote our own fountain of youth. Healthy eating habits and regular exercise are just two of them and the most important ones to get started on.
Circadian rhythms and epigenetics are new words that have been added to my vocabulary today!
Would you say that people who had erratic or irregular shifts at work over a long period of time would thus age faster because they sleep and wake up at different times? Or would you say that as long as they got sufficient sleep each night, they would experience a regular aging process?
Glad I could add to that vocab lol.
They say you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night, so I am sure it does have an effect on you if you work night shifts. I am sure you don’t get eight hours of quality sleep during the day if you do work strange shifts, no matter how hard you try.
Thank you for the interesting article. I have learned a lot and think that I will continue with my research from here. I think I will delve deep into the hormonal decline part first before the other two big words I just learned about. Lol. I am more interested in knowing if there is a way to counter the decline?. Thank you .
There are many ways and means to slow down the aging process, and most of it has got to do with how you live, what you eat, and how health-conscious you are.
Love your post! I agree with you about the importance of good sleep to keep that fountain of youth flowing. In fact, one can рrоjесt an imаgе оf oneself аѕ bеing lеѕѕ attractive (and less healthy) when one is sleep deprived. Thus, it is important to prioritize sleep and get adequate good sleep for a youthful appearance and glowing skin. Yоur bоdу will thаnk you for it!
I agree with you there Calla. Sleep is top of the list, and not only don’t you look good, but you also feel terrible if you are sleep deprived.
I wish I could turn back the years but keep the knowledge learned from foolish decisions made in my youth. Lifestyle choices, maintaining a good diet, wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water are all no-brainers. Maintaining a steady circadian rhythm is something that’s been growing in awareness it seems. I just finished a really interesting book written by Matthew Walker called Why We Sleep. It really underscores the enormous importance of getting enough sleep every night. Since reading it, I aim to get 9 hours of sleep a night, not always doable LOL.
Have you read this book?
No I haven’t, but I am certainly going to try and get a copy now that you have recommended it.
The best thing about growing older is definitely the wisdom you earn and the knowledge you gain from past mistakes.
Interesting article. I had not heard of epigenetics before reading your article. I can see how this type of research can be useful both today and in the future. By studying how genes react during a lifetime, you can learn how genetics will have a long-term effect on your life. If there is a history of cancer in your genetic history then epigenetics may have found an answer to this and found a way to eliminate cancer in your genetic code. This study should be investigated more fully in a way that will benefit all and not just BIG PHARMA.
Diet and exercise are important to each of us. I have found from personal experience that a bad diet with the lack of a good exercise regimen was DEADLY!! I had to have an aortic valve replacement. I now watch my diet carefully and exercise five days a week to help keep me healthy . I have lost 28 pounds in 21 days and expect to lose more. Getting the right nutrition, exercise and sleep will definitely help get you on the way to a healthier life but also helps your mental attitude. It also helps keep you younger in the way you look and feel.
Quite right Jerry, and congrats on your lifestyle change and all the weight you have lost. We all know that it is not easy to change old habits, but once you have formed new healthier habits there is no going back.