As it is now, death is a certainty for all. Can this certainty be ever altered? Of course, yes if we make tremendous progress in the field of Life extension. Life extension is possible. Life extension is not a hoax.
The science of life extension is real, and it has been around for quite some time now. About 25% of children born today are expected to live beyond 100 years, and research shows the number of Centenarians in the US has been doubling every 10 years since the 1950’s.
A lot of research is going on in this field and here we are going to simplify the life extension for you and why you should be interested in it.
Fascination with life extension
To look young and beautiful, and remain immortal, is the innate wish of all of us. Who wants to grow old and die? Given a chance, all of us would give anything for a chance to age at a minimal pace and remain young and agile forever.
The fascination with longevity has been there for ages and people across time frames of history have been in pursuit of ways and means to achieve longevity and everlasting youth. Life extension is not about being immortal and never going to die rather it is about extending our life with a better health. It is related to reversing or slowing down the process of aging. The main aim of life extension is to enhance the lifespan but keeping in mind the quality of life also. Many experts define “Life-extension” as biological longevity, which means the ability to last for a longer time and what is going to make us last longer is preventing serious aging-related problems and disabilities, like hearing loss, joint pain, wrinkles, memory loss and many more.
In the nutshell, this field of science deals with products and therapies which reverse the process of aging and help us not only look younger but in fact remain younger.
The Research Partners and Why they do it?
Different organizations like Life Extension Foundation  and SENS Research Foundation  work solely in the field of life extension and have considerable achievements in their kitty. It was this organization which in 1980 recommended that healthy people consume high doses of antioxidant vitamins to maintain their youth.
In1983, it was again Life Extension foundation which recommended coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as an anti-aging nutrient.
Life Extension Foundation is a nonprofit organization and was established in 1980. Its main goal is to radically extend the healthy human lifespan by discovering scientific methods to control aging and eradicate diseases.
It is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world and has been at the forefront of discovering new scientific breakthroughs for use in developing novel disease prevention and treatment protocols to improve the quality and length of human life. Through its private funding of research programs aimed at identifying and developing new therapies, to slow and even reverse the aging process, the Life Extension Foundation seeks to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, such age-related killers as heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
SENS Research Foundation also works in the field of life extension and it is transforming the way the world researches and treats age-related disease. They fund research at universities around the world and have their own Research Center. Their main area of interest is in developing regenerative medicine to repair the damage underlying the diseases of aging.
So, most of the research in the field of life extension is about putting a halt to aging.
Aging – Well, the years don’t matter!
With age, our body starts to lose control of many metabolic processes due to wear and tear, and ultimately leads to death.
We experience age in two ways, simple aging is time-dependent, hence it is also called chronological aging. If I have been on this planet for 50 years, then my chronological age is 50 years.
However, if I’m fit and healthy and my body functions are excellent, then I can have the -biological age of a 30 years old person too! On the other hand, if I’ve led an unhealthy lifestyle and my body functions aren’t proper, my biological age might be way above 50 years old.
So, chronological age is just a number, what actually matters more is your biological age or your body functions. We don’t have the power to stop chronological aging, but we do hold the power to change our biological age.
While making healthy choices are important, current markets are also flowing with goods and services that can help us keep our biological age in check and look young.
Signs of aging we all know
1. Skin loses sheen and elasticity
2. Wrinkles appear
3. Thinning of hair
4. Greying of hair
5. Bones become weak
6. Reduced muscle tone
7. Abdominal fat deposition
9. Vision gets affected
10. Hearing gets diminished
11. Brain functions get affected
12. Physical and mental capabilities start getting compromised
13. Age-related diseases like diabetes, arthritis, dementia, kidney issues etc. seem to crop up from everywhere
Molecular mechanism of aging – Let us discover what happens within us, that causes the changes!
All of us are familiar with damage to the cellular and molecular structures that make up the functional units of our tissues. As cells fail, tissue function becomes progressively compromised leading to diseases and disabilities of aging. Medically speaking, aging is attributed to processes like telomere attrition, genomic instability, epigenetic alterations mitochondrial dysfunction, deregulated nutrient sensing these signs of aging but do we all know why these undesirable signs appear with time or what is the actual mechanism that brings about these changes.
Many things go wrong with aging bodies, but at the root of them all is the burden of decades of unrepaired, stem cell exhaustion, cellular senescence, and impaired intercellular communication. Oxidative damage incurred to the cells, caused by the free radicals also leads to aging. The following are some of the molecular mechanism that brings about aging
Genome damage and Telomere shortening
The human body is not programmed to live forever. The chromosomes that carry genes and make up our genetic material shrink as we age. Aging in humans is a consequence of deficiencies in the repair of DNA which suggests the interconnection between aging and DNA damage. There is evidence that alterations in DNA may induce premature aging and decrease in lifespan. Aging is also related to telomere shortening. Telomeres are small extensions of DNA at the end of these chromosomes, which become small each time the cell multiplies. As we age, these telomeres become small and when they get too short, the cells lose their ability to divide. When a cell cannot multiply, it heads towards its death. This shortening of telomeres is what causes aging. The body is unable to repair itself and therefore the organs ultimately lose their function and the person dies.
Aging and exhaustion of stem cells
When we age, our capacity of generating stem cells declines and even the generation of new cells is reduced. DNA damage and slowing down of cell cycle is responsible for this behavior of cells. Depletion of stem cells may be one of the major causes of aging as it hampers with cell renewal which is important for keeping our body in perfect condition
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction
Another major cause of aging is oxidative stress, which damages the genetic material, fat and protein of a person, caused by highly reactive substances containing oxygen. These reactive substances also called reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced inside the body on a general basis. Our body has foolproof mechanism to scavenge these molecules and protect our cells. However, when the number of these molecules increases tremendously, the body is unable to cope up and these reactive species of oxygen accumulate and damage the genetic material resulting in many diseases and aging. These ROS cause damage especially to mitochondria which are the powerhouses of our body. This cumulative damage to mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) is one of the causes of aging. Oxidative damage affects replication and transcription of mtDNA and results in a decline in mitochondrial function which in turn leads to enhanced ROS production and further damage to mtDNA.
Epigenetics: Key factor of lifespan control
Epigenetics defines the modulation in cellular activity with time through alteration of transcriptional pathways. Epigenetic changes are promoted by an enzymatic complex system which ensures the evolution and maintenance of the patterns of epigenetics. They are related to the activation of developmental disease and inflammatory responses.
Glycation, a process in which glucose, the main source of energy in our bodies, binds to the DNA, fats and proteins, making them ineffective. This problem increases as we age and causes our tissues and organs to malfunction. This malfunctioning can result in a number of diseases and eventually death.
Degradation of unfolded proteins
Aging and many age-related degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and age related muscular degeneration are caused as a result of cellular aggregation and accumulation of unfolded proteins called amyloids. Theses amyloids protein aggregates
Some interesting and spooky-biotechnological tools and therapies for life extension
Aging is a process that has touched every existing life form. Even though the molecular mechanism of aging is not completely understood still we are at that juncture where many rejuvenation biotechnologies like stem cell research, tissue rejuvenation, gene therapy, molecular repair, regenerative medicine, organ replacement (especially xenotransplantation) have been developed that can remove and repair many cellular defects.
These technologies also have the potential to render harmless the cellular and molecular damage that has accumulated in our tissues with time and restore the machinery of life to proper working order. Some of the therapies which are being developed to delay aging and attain longevity are:
Stem cell research
The current research on embryonic stem cells aims on differentiating stem cells into a variety of the cell types for replacement of cell in various cell replacement therapies. Life extensionists believe that stem cell research will one day provide a way to generate cells, organs and even body parts. Researches have reached to a certain level of success, but more research is going on reproductive cloning. Complex biological structures such as limbs and joints have not been replicated so far. However, the foundation of formation of these cells from stem cells is not easy. The current research is mainly focused on overcoming these obstacles.
There are many different research pathways of developing anti-aging drugs. There are certain anti-aging drugs that slow down the process of aging and the research is being done on animal models. One notable basis of research is to use the enzyme telomerase to encounter the process of telomeres shortening during successive chromosome replication.
Nanotechnology is a unique field with promising applications in the fields of medicines for safe and targeted drug delivery. Advances in nanotechnology in developing nanomedicines could result in life extension through the repair of many processes responsible for antiaging.
Many nanocarriers such as inorganic, polymeric, and Nano emulsions have been developed for use in skin. Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes need further improvement for future use in dermatological treatments.
According to researchers, after death, storing the body at low temperature may provide a way for future advanced medical technologies which enhance rejuvenation and repair. It is hypothesized that keeping the dead body at lower temperature will minimize the changes in biological tissue for many years. This, in turn, will provide medical community with enough time to cure the disease, rejuvenate the aged and to repair any harm that is caused by cryo-preservation.
Many cryonicist believe that the heart beat and breathing stops before the cell and tissue death of the body. So, they do not consider it the actual death.
Richard Darwin mentioned a way to life extension that includes “fooling genes”, with thinking that the body is young. The basis of this research is that the body in our genes stimulates throughout the life. Some genes activate when we are young and some genes work when we are aged. Apparently, these genes are stimulated by the environmental factors. The mutations caused by these genes stimulation can be harmful. It is certain that we possess more harmful genes that will stimulate in later life than in early life stages. So, the basic idea is to prevent these harmful genes from “switching on” by identifying the chemical environment in the aged body and thereby mimicking the internal chemical environment of a young body.
Reversal of informational energy
According to some experts, aging is the basis of reduction in the biological complexity of the body which leads to loss of information in the body causing certain disorders.
Experts suggest that it is necessary to increase the information in order to reverse this process and to increase meaningful information into the brain and to the societal system. This will result in the improvement of overall biological process, which in turn, will increase the regulation of immune system, hormones, anti-oxidants and other factors. This will also enhance anti-aging repair mechanism and facilitate survival to improve fitness. Experts believe that it may also reduce death rate as a result of improved fitness.
Young blood injection
It is believed that injecting young blood to certain people may result in the improvement of quality of life. This may include treating heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep and many more. This may also reduce grey hairs and wrinkle on the skin that are major signs of aging.
Genome editing is a process in which nucleic acid polymers are given as a drug to correct the genetic mutations so they don’t interfere with the expressions of protein. This strategy has been chosen as a future strategy to avoid aging.
Calorie restriction in life extension
Nutrient-sensing pathways acclimate cell growth, cell development, its metabolism, and extension to nutrient levels. Most of the life extension research is based on nutrition and diets. In some studies, calorie restriction has exhibited life extension in yeast and mice. However, in humans, the long-term health effects of calorie restriction is not known.
Supplements for Life extension – The External help!
A big chunk of life extension research is focused on nutrition: diet and supplements. Although, there is a little evidence that these influence the lifespan.
Few studies have figured out that caloric restriction is effective in extending the life span of rhesus monkey, mice and yeast. The effects of long-term caloric restriction in humans are still unknown and hence cannot be advocated. The free radical theory of aging suggests that antioxidant vitamin supplements can indeed increase the life span. Vitamin E in higher doses and beta-carotene supplements increase the mortality rates and this fact is even backed by sufficient evidence. Resveratrol is shown to increase the life span of animal models but similar effects in humans are still unknown. There are a lot of Life Extension Supplements out there in the market. These supplements cover a wide range of health issues that crop up with age. Today’s market is flooded with these supplements belonging to different categories like;
- Weight management supplements
- Glucose management supplements
- Mental health supplements
- Antioxidant supplements
- Bone health supplements
- Hormonal supplements
- Longevity and wellness supplements
You name it and you can have it. Antioxidant supplements and longevity & wellness supplements are quite popular among masses. Antioxidant supplements are available as supplements as well as body care products like Oral health products, skin care products, cleansers, hair care products and eye care products. All these body care products have a huge market and people usually go for these to reverse signs of aging. But what actually is important is to use the longevity and wellness products as these are the ones which will keep us healthy and ultimately reverse the signs of aging. The most important products used for longevity are:
Don’t be surprised! Aspirin is a blood thinner which helps with circulation and organ function and it dramatically reduces chances of getting colon cancer. Recent studies have given Aspirin the status of wonder drug.
Biotin is commonly known as vitamin B7, coenzyme R and W Factor. It is also known as vitamin H. Because biotin is present in so many different kinds of foods, deficiency of biotin is rare.
Biotin plays a key role in the body. It supports the health of skin, nerves, digestive tract, and metabolism of cells
It has been studied for its effect on protecting the kidneys from oxidative stress. This nutrient is stored throughout the body and helps convert fat into energy.
Carnosine is a protein building block that is naturally produced in the body. It is concentrated in muscles and is found in heart, brain and many other parts of the body. Carnosine is used to prevent aging because it seems to interfere with certain chemicals that might play a role in the aging process.
Coenzyme Q 10
In form of Ubiquinol is an antioxidant found naturally in the body. Co Q10 is essential in the manufacture of ATP, our cellular fuel. Ubiquinol is the activated form of coenzyme Q10 and is much easier for your body to process.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by your body’s adrenal glands. These are glands just above our kidneys. It functions as a precursor to male and female sex hormones. its production peaks in our youth and declines with age. So DHEA supplements are used to regain youthful hormone level.
Fish oil provides us with Omega-3 fatty acids which keep our heart healthy and it also helps reduce the effects of macular degeneration and glaucoma.
It is required for the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides, which create the body’s tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and synovial fluid. Glucosamine stimulates the creation of chondrocytes in the cartilage on the joint surface. It stimulates the creation of synovial joints. It is very effective in maintaining bone health.
It works within the cells as a potent antioxidant and regulates metabolic processes in the human body. Glutathione is found to get depleted during aging process in the human body so its supplements are used for antiaging.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a naturally occurring compound that is vital to our health, but sometimes our body doesn’t make enough of it. It is a strong antioxidant and helps in protecting and repairing our body.
Widely regarded as the hormone of sleep, it is a light-sensitive hormone secreted rhythmically by the pineal gland located deep within the brain. The level of melatonin in the bloodstream is low through the daylight hours and begins to rise in the early evening, priming the brain for sleep.
Mitochondrial Bio PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline quinone)
It is an organic molecule naturally occurring in the food supply, PQQ is the first new vitamin discovered since 1948. It supports the health and proliferation of mitochondria, which generate the energy cells need to function efficiently. As we know degradation of mitochondria leads to aging in humans so PQQ effects mitochondrial health and helps in antiaging.
NAD+ (nicotinamide Riboside)
Nicotinamide riboside is naturally produced in our bodies. It is a chemical compound which acts as a precursor to vitamin B3. New research shown that Nicotinamide Riboside can improve brain performance and reduces aging.
It is an antioxidant which is present in Blueberries. Plants produce pterostilbene in response to injury and infection. Pterostilbene has a high level of bioavailability and offers similar protective effects as resveratrol. Research suggests pterostilbene may be more powerful than resveratrol. In fact, combining pterostilbene with resveratrol may pack a potent nutritional punch, helpful for supporting healthy cellular function.
It is made by grapes as a response to attack by molds. It has been shown to extend life in animals, and it may be the science behind drinking a glass of wine and extending your lifespan.
TMG (Trimethyl glycine)
It is a methyl donor, meaning that it carries and donates methyl molecules to assist this essential chemical process in the body. It is also called betaine as it is present in high amount in beets. Methyl donation is also vital to maintaining proper liver function. TMG is also involved in detoxification and cellular reproduction
It is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Vitamin C not only helps in common cold by provides other benefits like strengthening of immune system, cardiovascular system, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. Lypo-Spheric Vitamin-C is available in market which is very effective as it allows for as much as 800% better absorption of the Vitamin-C into the bloodstream.
Also called cobalamin is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. It plays an important role in DNA and RNA synthesis and is needed to synthesize S-adenosylmethionine which helps the immune system function properly and affects mood. B12 is necessary for normal nerve cell activity and the creation of red blood cells
How Yoga Helps in Life Extension- The Indian Vedic way!
Whenever you practice yoga, you might have noticed some benefits. It relaxes our mind, helps us in having good night’s sleep and makes us more energetic. Making Yoga a part of our daily routine definitely helps in life extension as well as improving the quality of our life. Here are some reasons for benefits of yoga which provide longevity and good health.
Cartilage and health of joints
We all know how joint pains and cartilage degradation are associated with old age. Yoga helps to protect cartilages and the wear and tear of the joints. It also prevents degenerative arthritis. Long term effects of yoga are that it can reverse Bone loss too
Increased bone density
Many postures in yoga help to increase bone density. Yoga specifically strengthens arm bones. Yoga poses, by their English names, like tree, triangle, warrior II, side-angle, twisted triangle, locust, bridge, supine hand-to-foot I, supine hand-to-foot II, straight-legged twist, bent-knee twist and corpse pose are all very effective in maintaining our bone heath as we age.
Increased blood flow
Yoga helps in proper regulation of blood. Relaxation in yoga helps to increase blood flow. Additionally, it also helps maintain hemoglobin levels in the body.
Yoga helps in increasing the immunity of the body by increasing body’s capacity to fight against infection. Moreover, yoga and meditation have a beneficial effect by making our immune system strong and active.
Increased heart rate
There are many yoga poses that can increase our heart rate. Yoga can decrease resting heart rate and improves oxygen uptake. Practicing yoga on a regular basis lowers risk of heart diseases and depression.
Lowered blood sugar
Yoga helps in maintaining appropriate sugar levels in our body and also keeps the “bad cholesterol” under check. It also improves the level of “good cholesterol”. Maintaining the blood sugar levels cuts down risk of diseases heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness among diabetics.
Relaxation and better sleep
Yoga and meditation encourage turning inward of the senses and removal of stimuli. In turn, it down regulates the nervous system and leads to better sleep and relaxed mind.
Improved breathing capacity
Yoga encourages us to breathe accurately by taking fewer breaths of greater volume which is very effective in improving our lung functioning. Yoga promotes breathing through the nose which filters and humidifies air.
Yoga induces a healthy digestion by facilitating more rapid and effective transition of food and waste products in the bowels. Healthy digestion through yoga helps in lowering the risk of colon cancer and digestive track related disease.
Research has proved the benefits of yoga are very effective and that a regular yoga practice may lead to longevity and life extension.
Natural Remedies for Life Extension- The Ayurveda of longevity!
Some natural remedies which all of us can follow to live a long and happy life are:
Use of many natural herbs gives amazing results when it comes to antiaging, but the key is to use these in long term.
Alfalfa contains a broad spectrum of nutrients, like proteins, vitamins, dietary fibers. Ashwagandha and Astragalus root tea must be used as these fights against viral infections and is very effective in treatment of colds, and respiratory infections including cough. Nettle is best nutraceutical which contains protein, phosphorus, calcium and iron along with loads of vitamins.
Regular use of all these nutrients improves longevity. People who are addicted to alcohol should use extract of milk thistle on a daily basis to improve their liver health.
Life Style To follow For Longer Life!
Along with these herbal treatments, one must adopt a lifestyle which includes the following:
Smile and laugh
Experts say that people who often laugh and smile have a longer lifespan as compared to those who are stressed. Make a habit of laughing and smiling regularly. It’s might sound crazy. But just go for it and you will definitely notice a change in your behavior.
Try to take less tension and stress. Whenever you get a chance to reduce stress go for it. Try to make new friends or meeting old friends. This can surely may reduce the stress and may lead to a longer life than usual.
Move your body and muscles
Move your body in any form, say it via, yoga, meditation, exercise, running or dancing. Whenever your body moves it will improve your blood circulation and relaxes your body. If you like dancing then move your body to your favorite song if you like yoga and exercises then go for it.
Spend more time outdoor
Try to spend more time outside. Just avoid sticking to your laptops, and televisions. Spending time outdoors will improve your fresh air intake and will relax your body and mind. When we are surrounded by nature, it’s natural that we feel more relaxed and stable.
We are surrounded by toxic chemicals as these are present in our cleaning products, food products and even in the air we breathe. Not only this, some people are very much addicted to tobacco and cigarettes which is very toxic to our health. So, if you avoid these toxins then it may lead to a longer lifespan.
Take a healthy diet
Try to take a healthy diet along with anti aging foods which include fruits, fibrous food and antioxidants. Antioxidants help in removing the toxins from our body and help in fighting chronic infection and reduce the risk of heart attack and other diseases.
Drink a lot of water
Drinking a lot of water helps in cleaning of our body from inside. More water you drink, more toxins will come out from your body. Drinking enough water reduces the risk of urinary tract infections and also helps in maintaining our weight.
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is very necessary as many people die because of obesity. Obesity usually leads to the increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes, which in turn may decrease our lifespan. Regular exercises and a healthy diet may lead to longevity and a healthy life.
Include minerals in your diet
There are more than 80 minerals which our body needs for proper functioning. Assure that you are taking a diet which must include these minerals. You can intake the vegetables, nuts and seeds which keep you healthy and make you happy.
Get regular health checkups
One of the most important ways to live longer is getting regular checkups. This is especially important when we are getting older as many of our organs start working slowly due to the natural process of aging. So, try to visit a doctor in every 6 months and get a regular checkup done.
My Take – The Conclusion!
Be Optimistic, Live Happier, Live Longer. When a group of centenarians was asked to explain why they’ve lived so long, keeping a positive attitude and family ties having strong were on top of their list apart from eating healthy and staying mentally and physically active.
Mind has power over the body. Positivity, strength, a will to live, and a curiosity about the world are key elements of longevity.
Reverting to the traditional way of eating is the best path for health and longevity Age is just a number, and optimism promotes a healthier life and enhances longevity. Researchers found that our brain and immune system are actually wired together. Stress alters our Immune Function and Genetic Expression. So, focus on increasing the positive experiences and live happily.
So, if you liked what you just read and want to help your near and dear ones to know the science of life extension, don’t forget to share this article. Also if you anything valuable to add here, would love to hear from you through mail or just add the comments below!