Aging Gracefully – The Effects of Inflammation, Glycation, and Mitochondrial Decay on Aging
By Bindu Nambiar
The aging process is directly linked to inflammation. An increased level of inflammation in your body correlates directly to an increased state of aging and disease. Inflammation can be acute, like when you tear your Achilles tendon, or chronic, low-grade, and always existent. The latter is based on your diet and daily lifestyle. You can control chronic inflammation by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Acute Versus Chronic Inflammation:
Acute inflammation is what you get when you have an injury. It is usually localized and short-lived. The inflammation is reduced and the pain goes away in a few days.
Chronic inflammation is more harmful and is usually self-perpetuating. It disrupts cellular homeostasis, changes the physiology of the cell, and destroys tissue. It is unhealthy and can lead to a disease state.
A Closer Look At Chronic Inflammation: C-reactive proteins and cardiovascular disease
C-reactive proteins are proteins synthesized in the liver and found in the blood. They are markers of general inflammation in your body. CRP levels can be measured by taking a blood test.
Increased levels of C-reactive proteins measured in the blood are a good indicator for risk of cardiovascular disease. Your risk for cardiovascular disease is high if your CRP levels are above 3mg/L. Optimum levels which correlate with the lowest risk for CV disease is less than 1mg/L.
Good Fats vs Bad Fats: The role of prostaglandins in reducing inflammation
Prostaglandins (PGE) are hormones produced by the body as a result of the fats we ingest in our daily diets. Their main function is to regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Your body produces both anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE 1 and 3) and inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE 2). In order to reduce general inflammation, it is desirable to increase the production of PGE 1 and 3 and control the production of PGE2.
Maintaining PGE Homeostasis
How to Elevate PGE 1 Levels: Increase production of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid): Evening primrose oil, Black current seed oil, and borage oil.
How to Elevate PGE 3 Levels: Increase consumption of omega-3 (good fats) like Fish oil (immediate EPA/DHA) absorption and assimilation. Flax seed (longer conversion process to EPA/DHA
How to control PGE 2: Control dietary habits by reducing/eliminating trans fats (bad fats) from your diet. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats create a rigid, less permeable cell membrane. This disrupts cellular homeostasis, changes the physiology of the cell, increases inflammation and causes disease.
Therapeutic options to reduce general inflammation
Smart Fats – make sure you have the proper ratio of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fish oils in your diet. The American diet is very high in Omega-6 so it is necessary to increase your consumption of Omega-3 and Omega-9
Anti-oxidants - Make sure you take some basic anti-oxidants like Vitamin E, vitamin C, and reserveratrol.
Dietary Changes – It goes without saying that there is a huge correlation between your diet and how you look and feel. If there is only one thing you do to reduce inflammation, that is to eliminate processed foods & refined sugars completely from your diet.
You may remember from high school biology that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. These cellular power plants manage the production of ATP, the main source of energy for cellular reactions. The energy of your cells is equal to the collective energy of your organs.
Oxidative stress and damage to the mitochondria causes inhibition of energy production and reduces cell membrane permeability. This can lead to cellular aging and even cell death. Since aging diminishes organ reserves, mitochondrial decay must be kept to a minimum.
Nutritional support for mitochondrial decay
Coenzyme Q10- necessary for basic cellular functions
D-Ribose – supports the energetic process; enhances ventilatory capacity for cardiovascular patients
L-Carnitine- important in energy production; carrier molecule for fatty acids
EFA’S -smart fats
Alpha-lipoic acid – both fat and water-soluble: regenerates all other anti-oxidants.
Endogenous glycation is the binding of sugars to proteins, which results in cross-linking, and rigidity of cellular structures. Glycation is responsible for wrinkles on the skin, hardening of arteries, and tissue degeneration.
Exogenous glycation is the result of cooking sugars with proteins or fats. Temperatures over 248 degrees Fahrenheit and lower temperatures with longer cooking times result in glycation. Browning of foods on the outside is an example of exogenous glycation. The less cooked the food, the less glycation there is.
Nutritional support: Anti-glycating agents
L-carnosine (cell rejuvenation)
Benfotamine (synthetic form of B1)
Taurine (important in metabolism)
Lipoic Acid (anti-oxidant)