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Friday, March 10, 2017

Living in the Age of Senescence

One of the things I have become fascinated with as I have grown older is the process of growing older - aging.

And of course, anything I am fascinated with encourages me to learn about it.

Maybe this is part of the draw of Santa Fe, in that it is a known mecca for the art and industry of life extension through natural means.

One of the things I have been looking for is like a go-to source / site for information on anti-ageing and life extension.

Which brought me to the World Health Network:

The World Health Network is the Internet's leading portal for anti-aging medicine and advanced preventative health. As the official educational website of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), The World Health Network features an extensive library of articles covering nutritional therapies, lifestyle interventions, and biotech breakthroughs for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other aging-related diseases.

As a public service, the A4M publishes the Longevity Magazine, an award-winning e-Newsletter to keep you updated on the latest scientific advancements to help improve the quality of your life and extend your years of productivity and vitality.

One of the ways I do research follows my personal Rule of 3.  When I have a question or want to learn about something I know little about, I seek a minimum of 3 independent resources and ask the same question or seek the same information and look for common responses from the people I ask.

Such is true when I do research on the Internet also.  I look for common keywords, processes, topics or explanations to repeat themselves and convey the same message or direction.

So when I started asking the question - What causes aging?  Why do people grow old and die? - I started seeing the same word and process pop up over and over again.


  1. the condition or process of deterioration with age.
    • loss of a cell's power of division and growth.

Here's a Wikipedia on senescence - the focus being on cell senescence -

In a nutshell, aging results when cells cease to divide.

Senescence or cell death occurs when the endcaps of each cell, known as telomeres, become damaged and trigger a DNA damage response to the cell.  The cell says I'm done and dies.  Those dead cells laying around cause problems themselves - "Senescent cells affect tumour suppression, wound healing and possibly embryonic/placental development and a pathological role in age-related diseases."

The analogy that best illustrates the process of cell death is that the telomere is like the plastic cap on the end of a shoestring.  As long as that plastic cap stays in place, the shoestring stays together.  After a lot of wear and tear or abuse, that plastic cap may become damaged and fall off and the shoe string eventually unravels.  Note: Cell life can be shortened through systemic inflammation.

Here's a link that provides some info on this phenomenon -

Here's an excerpt from this article -

A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, lead by Patricia Opresko, Ph.D have discovered crucial new information about telomeres, the end caps of DNA. Telomeres (repeated sequences of DNA) are shortened each time a cell divides, thus becoming smaller with age. When telomeres become too short, they send a signal to the cell to cease dividing permanently - this impairs the ability of tissues to regenerate, contributing to various age-related diseases.
In cancer cells, on the other hand, levels of the enzyme telomerase (which lengthens telomeres) are elevated. This enables them to divide indefinitely. "The new information will be useful in designing new therapies to preserve telomeres in healthy cells and ultimately help combat the effects of inflammation and aging. On the flip side, we hope to develop mechanisms to selectively deplete telomeres in cancer cells to stop them from dividing," said Dr. Opresko.

Previous studies have shown that oxidative stress accelerates telomere shortening. Oxidative stress is a condition where free radicals build up inside the cell, causing damage. Free radicals can damage the DNA that makes up the telomeres, as well as the DNA building blocks used to extend them. Oxidative stress also plays a role in various other health conditions, including cancer and inflammation. Free radical damage, which is often caused by inflammation in the body, as well as environmental factors, is believed to build up throughout the aging process.
Free radical damage at the cellular level is a big topic in the life extension community these days and scientists are working on compounds and studying processes to minimize the effect on the human body.

Inflammation is another key word that is prominent in any discussion of aging especially at the cellular level.

And guess where most of the inflammation in the human body comes from?

What you eat!

Lots of articles support a restricted calorie diet simply for the reason that the less calories you take in the less material can provide a source of inflammation on the body.

There is also a lot of focus on food that provides low or no inflammation to the body and those that are even anti-inflammatory.

And in this same vein (pardon the bloody pun), insulin stability, i.e. constant blood sugar, is a huge measure of an anti-inflammatory environment for cells to thrive in or at least live longer.

Here's a few links and excerpts that provide information on foods that are beneficial to anti-aging, improving cognitive function and physical performance.

Top 10 foods for longevity:

Apples, Avocados, Watermelon, Red Wine, Kale, Berries, Pomegranate, Tomatoes, Spinach, Cinnamon

Top Anti-inflammatory foods:

Although inflammation is often necessary as a protective defense against infection and injury, unchecked, chronic inflammation is implicated in a number of diseases. The lifelong accumulation of molecular damage that results from chronic inflammation has been suggested to serve as a major contributor to the aging process. When the immune system begins overacting and starts attacking healthy body tissue, inflammation can lead to a whole litany of issues - most notably, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and certain cancers.

Leafy Greens:

Nitrate supplements have ignited a new conversation about nitrate-rich foods like spinach, arugula, and other vegetables, as being important for muscle endurance during exercising. A previous study has suggested that beetroot juice, an abundant dietary source of nitrate, increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise by 38%. In a recent sports performance study, it was found that athletes who took nitrate supplementation before undergoing endurance training experienced improved muscle performance.


Other studies have continually supported nuts and their protective role against such disorders as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is a key in the development of such diseases, and nuts exert beneficial effects by reducing systemic inflammation. These facts are according to Ying Bao, MD, ScD, a noted epidemiologist in the BWH Channing Division of Network Medicine. Bao stated that much remains unknown about how diet influences inflammation and the risk of disease, but their study supports the overall healthful role of nuts. She suggests that nuts are beneficial to reducing inflammation and protecting against cardiometabolic disorders.

Dark Chocolate:

Dark chocolate, which has been proven to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and improve post-exercise markers, is now shown to give an edge in fitness training, when consumed daily.
Patel's team decided to determine if dark chocolate could provide a boost similar to beetroot juice, since it contains epicatechin. Epicatechin is a a type of flavanol found in the cacao bean, which also increases the body's production of nitric oxide.
"Both dark chocolate and beetroot juice are known to increase nitric oxide, which is the major mechanism we believe is behind these results," Patel stated "We found that people could effectively exercise for longer after eating dark chocolate -something that's not been established before in this way."


Astaxanthin is a pink-orange carotenoid found in salmon and has been shown by some published studies to exert antioxidant effects.

The team observed that the men taking astaxanthin showed significant attenuation of muscle damage and subsequent related inflammation.  Further, the astaxanthin group showed beneficial immune system effects.


When enjoyed after a meal, coffee may increase levels of an appetite-regulating hormone, improve blood sugar levels, and boost endothelial function.
Coffee contains a number of compounds – most notably, polyphenols that numerous previous studies suggest exert beneficial effects for metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

Japanese researchers enrolled 19 healthy men in a study in which each subject was given a test meal with a polyphenol-rich coffee drink (365 mg of chlorogenic acids), or placebo drink; subjects later crossed over to the other intervention.  Testing 3hours after the meal revealed that the coffee polyphenol beverage lowered blood glucose significantly, and increased flow mediated dilation (FMD) – a marker of blood flow and vascular health.  As well, the coffee polyphenol beverage increased post-meal levels of an appetite-regulating hormone (GLP1).

The Magic of Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a spice that has been used to flavor foods for hundreds of years. The spice is used more in desserts or bakery, but it is also an ingredient in various main dish recipes. Some of the spices that have been used for many years also have significant health benefits, and cinnamon is no exception. Cinnamon is the most consumed spice worldwide, so health professionals are very encouraged by recent news about how healthy it can be.


The yellow pigment that gives turmeric its color, curcumin has been shown by numerous previous studies to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammation effects.

And just to add fuel to the fire, take a guess at the other major element researchers have found is essential to the anti-aging process.....


The following is excerpted from this article:

If you're worried about your body slowing down and losing your balance, reflexes, memory, and metabolism as you get older, rejoice.

There's something you can do to prevent or at least hold off this seemingly inevitable human decline, according to a new study.

It's all about exercise.

On many measures, active older adults can perform just as well as people decades younger.

Then they took a look at the physical profiles of their group — all were serious recreational cyclists, though not competitive athletes. They chose cyclists because bicycling is balance-intensive, and it requires and builds physical strength without putting too much stress on joints.

They looked at the group's cardiovascular systems, lung health, neuromuscular structure, metabolism, hormone levels, mental functions, bone strength, and general health. The question was if or how the group's age would show in these measures.

The results were surprising.

"If you gave this dataset to a clinician and asked him to predict the age" of any one of these individuals based on these test results, Dr. Stephen Harridge, senior author of the study, told the New York Times, "it would be impossible."

Age did have an impact on a couple of measures. The oldest members of the group had less muscle mass and less endurance than the younger ones. Even there, though, they were much closer to younger people than to people their own age.

But as for those other measures, including tests of balance, cognitive agility, reflex, and metabolism, Harridge told the Times that it seems "being physically active makes your body function on the inside more like a young person's."

And finally this article which really pulls everything together:
  • Senescent cells and the need to get rid of them through sirtin molecules (SIRT1 to 4).
  • Resveratrol (found in the skin of grapes and prevalent in red wine) promotes activity of SIRT1 molecules.
  • Not mentioned in this article is another compound that has the same effect, pterostilbene, which is found in blueberries.  Pterostilbene is a Stilbenoid, an antioxidant produced by plants to protect themselves against viral, baceterial, fungal attach and excessive sunlight much like another in the same family: Resveratrol.
  • Healthy Eating and Exercise is the Key to Longevity
So how can we make Sense of Senescence and the complex process of aging?

From the little research I've done there are 2 things that we have control of that have been shown through the most recent research to be significant elements in life quality and extension:
  • Diet and Nutrition that emphasizes restricted calorie intake with emphasis on foods that stabilize insulin levels and reduce systemic inflammation. Hmmmn... kinda sounds like a Paleo diet.
  • Regular Exercise - and let me add there is evidence that the more intense the exercise the more benefit to the process of keeping cells active and dividing as long as possible - as long as it does not threaten the muscular / skeletal structure. 

Sounds like these researchers have been reading my blog for the last few years.....

For those of you with your head in the sand about this subject matter, this info and the diet and exercise approach has been out there for years - really decades.

So for those folks out there who are really concerned about aging and have not already done so....

Get off the gluten and the simple carbs (pasta, bread, potatoes, rice, grains) and sugar - Eat a diet of lean, organic grass fed or deep water, wild caught fish, lots of green leafy and low carb veggies, and good fats like avocadoes and nuts - all complemented and seasoned with anti-oxidant or anti-inflammatory herbs and spices - lay off the dairy and processed foods and get plenty of varied exercise with at least two to three 30 - 60 min weight based exercise sessions per week.

You are responsible and in control of your own life and how you age and to some degree how long you live and the quality of life you enjoy.

It's about time you face the End of Your Innocence:

And start -

Living in the Age of Senescence!

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