Study Nutrition-and-Aging for a Healthy Life

An effort to study the relationship between nutrition-and-aging should be our priority. Poor nutrition will result in acceleration of the aging process and poor health. Acting on knowledge from our studies with the help of our physician, make lifestyle changes to slow the aging process.

What do free radicals have to do with aging? For that matter what are free radicals? According to Dr. Pamela Smith in her book, “What you must know about Women’s Hormones,” free radicals are molecules that lack an electron. These molecules search for an electron and when they find a healthy cell, they steal the healthy cell’s electron. This process, called oxidation, kills the cell.

The free-radical theory of aging suggests that we age because our cells accumulate free radical damage over time. A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell. Most free radicals are highly reactive and destructive to healthy cells.

A natural metabolic process creates energy from the food that we eat. This is a complicated series of biochemical reactions. During this process some of the electrons escape and become reactive particles that are called free radicals.

Any change in metabolism will have a direct effect on the generation of free-radicals. Normally hormones produced by our thyroid gland regulates metabolism. Over production of thyroid gland hormones (hyperthyroidism) increases metabolism and the production of free radicals, under production (hypothyroidism) slows the metabolic rate with the opposite effect. But this is not the only way that free radicals originate.

Free radicals also originate from:

  • Increases in metabolism. In addition to what has already been discussed, exercise increases metabolism with resultant increases in production of free radicals. Now exercise is essential to good health but extreme exercise should be avoided. During periods of extreme exercise, increase your antioxidant defenses.
  • Stress. Unrelieved stress can result in significant increases in free radical generation. The brain is especially susceptible to free radicals produced by stress. During periods of intense stress we need to increase our antioxidant defenses.
  • Environmental toxins. Man-made toxins and some poisons found in nature are known to do their damage by generating free radicals within tissues. Environmental toxins include fluoride, pesticides and herbicides and metals such as Mercury and aluminum. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (msg) and aspartame have also been shown to increase free radical production.
  • Sun and tanning beds. Ultraviolet radiation causes so many free radicals to generate that the skin’s supply of antioxidants is quickly depleted, which can and does dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer especially a highly fatal form called malignant melanoma.
  • Low magnesium. Magnesium plays a vital role in over three hundred biochemical reactions, protects the nervous system from strokes, other injuries and acts as an antioxidant. Magnesium is a mineral found mainly within the tissues and not the blood stream. You can have normal blood values and very low tissue levels, which would put you at risk.
  • Activation of the immune system. Our immune system protects us from infections by releasing free radicals from white blood cells at the infection site. It is free radicals that kill bacteria. The white blood cells are protected from the free radicals because they contain six times more antioxidants than normal cells.

When the body is severely deficient in antioxidants, white blood cells can no longer protect themselves from their own free radicals and die in large numbers. This results in an impaired immune system and a worsening infection, which is a downward spiral. The lesson is that our body’s supply of antioxidants needs regular replenishment.

Antioxidants protect our bodies against destructive free radicals. They neutralize free radicals by giving up one electron to the free radical. In the process the antioxidant itself becomes a free radical and needs to be regenerated. It does this by borrowing an electron from another antioxidant. Healthy eating and nutritional supplementation is essential to replenish antioxidants so that this renewal process can continue.

Discuss nutrition-and-aging and any nutritional supplementation program with your physician before starting. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease.  They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself!  A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition.

One special antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, is able to regenerate other antioxidants, become oxidized and uniquely still act as an antioxidant. Alpha-lipoic acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body and is able to neutralize a wide variety of free radicals. Severe stress, chronic inflammation and poor nutrition can all deplete alpha-lipoic acid levels as well as that of other antioxidants.

Research has demonstrated that Trans-Resveratrol can enhance longevity and quality of life. One source of resveratrol is red wine but we would have to consume far more red wine than what is safe to get any benefit. The answer is to use resveratrol supplements. But not all supplements are made equal. Some are far more absorbable and effective than others. Follow this link for more information on Trans-Resveratrol supplementation.

My suggestion to you is that you read the reference material on this site, asses your own nutrition-and-aging needs, and discuss those with your physician. The responsibility is yours to choose a lifestyle that meets your individual health needs. That responsibility includes focusing the power of your mind on the process and making an effort to learn as much possible about nutrition-and-aging. And hopefully your effort will be rewarded with a functional age lower than your chronological age and that you will enjoy a long and healthy retirement.

I don’t know where you are on life’s continuum. I started late in life to get serious about nutrition-and-aging issues and sometimes regret not starting earlier. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in your past, it’s time to disregard what lies behind and make the choice to look forward. Trust that you with God’s help have a healthier future in store for you.

Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated. Deut. 34:7

References and suggested reading on nutrition-and-aging issues:

  • Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., “Health and Nutrition Secrets that can save your life”, Health Press.
  • Pamela Wartian Smith, M.D., MPH, “What you must know about Women’s Health,” Square One Publishers.
  • William Sears, M.D., “Prime Time Health” Little, Brown & Company.
  • Richard L. Becker, D.O., “Foundations for Healing” Brio Print
  • Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., “From Fatigued to Fantastic” Avery
  • Robert D. Willix, M.D., “Age Proofing – 7 simple steps to super vitality at any age” Real Health Books

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In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham  Lincoln

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