It’s not so much a matter of extending lifespan itself, but reducing the incidence and effect of age-related conditions so as to enable us to live “younger” for longer.
The article quotes Pro. Nektarios Tavernarakis, a biochemist at the University of Crete, who studies cell death and neurogeneration.
“Our aim needs to shift from staying alive for longer to achieving a better quality of life in old age,” he says.
While most medical research understandably targets specific disorders associated with aging, there’s growing evidence that faulty autophagy could be an important common denominator: “As we age, this essential housekeeping task is performed less efficiently leading to the buildup of errors and glitches that trigger disease-causing inflammation and ultimately necrotic cell death (known as necrosis).”
But does autophagy have to become less effective? Can it be boosted? And if so, can it slow down age-related cell degeneration and keep us healthier for longer?
The article cites the work of Prof. Linda Partridge, founding director of the Max Planck Institute of for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany, which specializes in studying molecular and cellular changes that contribute causally to aging.
“If we could target those underlying processes of ageing, we might be able to slow down age-related degeneration and keep people healthier for longer,” she says.
“This would take us to a different place from where we are in now, where diseases are tackled one by one as they arise.”
The money quote is staggering:
“We see the prospect of developing a single pill that will target the biological pathways that also involve autophagy.
The idea would be to have a polypill that prevents the underlying mechanisms involved in more than one ageing-related condition…
Eventually we may end up with a drug that is taken very much like people today take statins (for cholesterol) or pills to lower blood pressure,’ she said.
‘Medicines that are taken over a very long period of time to prevent ill-health long before disease has even occurred.”
How is the research going? From the article: “A number of promising drug candidates have already been identified.
Most notable are Urolithin A (produced by certain gut bacteria after they’ve been fed with ellagitannins, which are found in pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries and walnuts) and rapamycin (a natural antifungal produced by soil bacteria).
These two compounds are known to be involved in the upregulation of autophagy. In mice, worms and fruitflies, they have also been found to extend lifespan.
Shortly, the geroprotective properties of these compounds will be put to the test in human clinical trials.”
The implications are enormous, of course. You can be sure I will be keeping a close eye on the progress.
David Cravit is a Vice-President at ZoomerMedia, and Chief Membership Officer of CARP. He is also the author of two books on the “reinvention” of aging. You can check out some of his other writing here.
How to Age Gracefully in the 21st Century
If you want to age gracefully, you need to stop stressing about wrinkles or gray hair and start caring about your overall health and wellbeing.
In fact, women over 50 who practice healthy habits grow into happier people — the true secret to living a long and fulfilling life.
This fact is supported by longevity research, which informs us that happiness is directly linked to our health.
Fortunately, maintaining healthy practices is made easier in the modern age. So, here is how aging gracefully is made possible today:
Tracking Fitness – A 21st Century Way to Age Gracefully
Fitness tracking is made easy through electronics like watches and mobile apps.
Wearables, for example, come with programs that are able to track your heart rate, step counts, burned calories, walking speed, and even sleep hours and patterns in real-time.
This guide to the future of healthcare notes how the data can then be shared with your doctor via remote monitoring.
This will let them recommend more accurate health plans that suit your age.
Tracking your daily activities will also let you adjust your habits accordingly, like how much more sleep you need. This in turn, will ensure that you age healthily.
Read how serendipity brought Honey to purchase (and LOVE) her Apple Watch.
Scheduling Online Checkups
Another way to ensure you’re aging gracefully in the 21st century is to see your doctor.
Even if you feel healthy or you’re not experiencing any pain, it’s important to have regular appointments with your doctor.
This allows them to detect any early signs of illnesses so they can be treated immediately. Today, you can do this online means to ensure your safety and convenience.
There are various telehealth services and e-consultations platforms that allow you to do this, such as MeMD and iCliniq.
You can also check your local hospital if they offer teleconsultations.
Maintaining Distance Relationships
Maintaining our relationships with loved ones is just as important as eating a healthy diet or exercising.
Even if you’re far away from each other, you can still maintain your connections with the people who matter, giving you happiness and a sense of purpose.
Luckily, socializing has become more accessible through technology.
For example, video platforms like Zoom and messaging apps let you see and talk to family members across the state.
Meanwhile, following each other on social media lets you know how everyone is doing daily.
It’s not enough that you believe you are eating healthy food — you need to measure it, too.
Consuming the appropriate amounts of nutrients lets you maintain a healthy diet, allowing you to age gracefully (and beautifully!).
For example, there is a recommended serving size when it comes to macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and protein that you should be consuming at your age.
After all, your digestive system is not as fast as it used to be.
Thanks to technology, nutrients can be monitored as well.
Using apps like MyFitnessPal, you can input the food you eat and the serving size, as well as your target calories for the day.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things that will contribute to the way you age.
Practicing at Home Workouts
Home workouts are a great way to stay physically fit – and you don’t even need gym equipment to do them.
Thanks to the internet, the proper home workouts can be found for free on social media sites like Instagram or video platforms like YouTube, where you can follow guided instructions from the experts.
Exercise is also known to produce endorphins that leave your body feeling good. Thus, you not only take care of your physical well-being but your mental health, too.
Observe Skin Condition
As people age, the skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to damage. This is because of the blood vessel walls get thinner as we get older.
But if you want to feel good, you’ll also want to look good — which is why keeping your skin looking young and healthy is a must to age gracefully.
Aside from regular doctor appointments, observing your skin’s condition at home is pretty easy to do using devices called skin detector pens.
In particular, these pens measure skin moisture, which is crucial for seniors as dry skin can lead to itching, bleeding, and asteatotic eczema.
If you use this device, it will let you know if your skin is dehydrated, allowing you to adjust your skincare routine accordingly.
Affordable skin detectors on the market include models from Fatuxz.
Aging gracefully will lead you to feel a sense of fulfillment in your later years.
Not only are you able to take care of yourself, but you are also able to maintain your overall health as you age.
Fortunately, the development of innovative technologies and emerging procedures allow people — especially seniors — to better take care of themselves.