Most people want to live a long and happy life – or at least avoid a short and unhappy life. If you are in that majority, you are in luck. In the last decade, A Quiet Research Revolution Our understanding of the biology of aging has occurred.
The challenge is to turn this knowledge into advice and treatment that we can benefit from. Here we break the myth that prolonging healthy life expectancy is science fiction, and show that it is scientific fact.
1. Nutrition and Lifestyle
There’s a lot of evidence for the benefits of doing boring things, like eating right. a study of large groups of people show that keeping weight off, not smoking, limiting alcohol to moderate amounts, and eating fruits and vegetables at least five times a day can increase your life expectancy by seven to 14 years, which is significantly more than a smoker, much more. Drinking alcohol can extend your life expectancy by seven to 14 years compared to an overweight person.
Reducing calories even further—about a third, so-called dietary restriction—improves health and extends life in rats and monkeys, as long as they eat the right things, although it is also common for people exposed to food temptations. I have a tough question. less extreme version of time-restricted or intermittent fasting – Eating only during an eight-hour window each day, or fasting two days each week – is believed to reduce the risk of age-related diseases in middle-aged people.
2. Physical Activity
You can’t outrun a bad diet, but that doesn’t mean exercise doesn’t do good things. Globally, inactivity directly causes about 10% of all premature death from incurable diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various cancers. If everyone on Earth gets enough exercise tomorrow, the effect will probably be to increase healthy human life expectancy by about a year.
But how much exercise is optimal? Too high levels are actually bad for you, and not just in terms of torn muscles or sprained ligaments. It can suppress the immune system and increase risk from upper respiratory disease. just over 30 minutes A day of moderate to vigorous physical activity is sufficient for most people. Not only does it make you stronger and fitter, but it has been shown to reduce harmful inflammation And even improve the mood.
3. Boosting the Immune System
No matter how fit you are and eating well, unfortunately, as you get older, your immune system will become less effective. Poor response to vaccination and the inability to fight off infection are the results of this “immunosensence”. It all starts to go downhill in early adulthood when the thymus—a bow-shaped organ around your neck—begins to wither.
It sounds bad, but it’s even more dangerous when you realize that the thymus is where immune agents called T cells learn to fight infection. The closure of such a large education center for T cells means that they can’t learn to recognize Effectively fight new infections or cancer in older people.
You can help — a little — by making sure you have enough important vitamins, especially A and D. One promising area of research is looking at the signals the body sends to help make more immune cells, specifically a molecule called IL 7, we may be able to produce soon drugs that contain this molecule, potentially boosting the immune system in older people.
Another approach is to use the food supplement spermidine to trigger immune cells to clear their internal wastes such as damaged proteins, which greatly improves the immune system of the elderly. that it is being tested now As a way of achieving a better response to COVID vaccines in older people.
4. Rejuvenating Cells
Aging is a toxic state in which cells enter as they age, wreaking havoc throughout the body and causing chronic low-grade inflammation and disease – essentially leading to biological aging. In 2009, scientists showed that middle-aged mice live long and be healthy If they are given small amounts of a drug called rapamycin, which inhibits a key protein called mTOR that helps control cells’ response to nutrients, stress, hormones and damage.
In the lab, drugs such as rapamycin (called mTOR inhibitors) make senescent (aged) human cells look and behave like your little ones, Although it is too early to prescribe these drugs for general use, a new clinical trial has just been established to test whether low-dose rapamycin can actually slow down aging in people,
Discovered in the soil of Easter Island, Chile, rapamycin carries with it important secrets and [has been hailed] In the popular press as a potential “elixir of youth”. it can also improve the memory of mice With a disease such as dementia.
But all drugs come with pros and cons—and since too much rapamycin suppresses the immune system, many doctors shy away from even considering it to stave off age-related diseases. However, dosage is important and newer drugs such as RTB101 which work similarly to rapamycin, support the immune system in older people, and may even reduce COVID infection rate and seriousness.
5. Removal of Old Cells
Getting rid of senescent cells entirely is another promising way forward. An increasing number of laboratory studies in mice using drugs to kill senescent cells – so-called “senolytics” – show an overall improvement in health, and since the mice are not dying from the disease, they also live longer,
Removing senescent cells also helps people. In a small clinical trial, people with severe lung fibrosis reported better overall function, including how far and fast they could walk, post treatment With senolytic drugs.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Diabetes and obesity, as well as infection with certain bacteria and viruses, can lead to older cells. Senescent cells can also protect the lungs from COVID infection, and COVID . make you more sensitive to Makes more cells grow old, Importantly, getting rid of senescent cells in older mice Helps them avoid COVID infection,
Aging and infection are a two-way street. Older people tend to get more infectious diseases as their immune systems start to run out of steam, while infections cause rapid aging through senescence. Since aging and aging are inextricably linked to both chronic and infectious diseases in older people, treating aging has the potential to improve health across the board.
It’s exciting that some of these new treatments are already looking good in clinical trials and may soon be available to all of us.
Richard Faragher is Professor of Biogerontology at the University of Brighton in England. Lynn Cox is also an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Oxford in England. This was first published by Conversation ,Life Extension: The Five Most Promising Ways – So Far,