SCIENCE & RESEARCH

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation: AMPK is a key enzyme that plays a role in metabolism and cellular energy regulation. AMPK is also a potent promoter of autophagy, or the body's process of cleaning out damaged cells, and there is a positive correlation between AMPK activity and longevity, which has been demonstrated in various studies. AMPK activators include exercise, calorie restriction, decreasing inflammation, cold exposure and supplementation (such as taurine, curcumin, alpha lipoic acid, EGCG, CoQ10, PQQ, and Astaxanthin).


mTOR inhibition: mTOR activation allows the body to put on more muscle and increase various hormones such as IGF-1. While this may be a good thing, too much mTOR activation is associated with many diseases, including cancer, obesity, acne, type 2 diabetes, depression and neurodegeneration. mTOR is activated through the consumption of proteins, excess calories, excess carbs, insulin, thyroid hormone and IGF-1. One of the ways to slow down the aging process is to inhibit the mTOR process, including AMPK activation (see above), protein restriction, calorie restriction, exercise, and certain supplementation (e.g., EGCG, Curcumin, metformin, ALCAR). 


Sirtuin activation: Humans have seven different sirtuin enzymes in the body, which are a class of proteins that play a role in metabolic regulation. Sirtuins are believed to turn off certain genes that promote aging, such as those involved in inflammation, fat synthesis and storage, and insulin resistance. One of the primary anti-aging pathways is Sirt1, which is an NAD+ dependent deacetylase that removes acetyl groups from various proteins. Sirt1 is believed to protect against neurodegeneration in the brain, vascular inflammation, increased fat production and deposition (e.g., in liver), insulin resistance and fatigue. Sirtuin function has been observed to decline with age, which is believed to be caused by a decline in NAD+ production.


Antioxidants: The free radical theory of aging hypothesizes that oxygen-derived free radicals are responsible for the age related damage at the cellular and DNA level. When our bodies produce excess reactive oxygen species (ROS), these ROS can wreak havoc in our bodies unless they are countered by antioxidants. Therefore, it may be helpful to supplement with antioxidants.

        The field of aging has seen significant advances in the last decade. Long believed to be caused by damage to DNA as people get older, more recent research has shown that aging is caused by several factors, with one of the primary causes being a loss of epigenetic (the way our DNA is expressed) information. 


        All the cells in our bodies have exactly the same DNA, yet our cells take many forms. When we are born, we rely on the epigenetic process to direct our cells to become specialized, causing our stem cells to transform into cells such as brain cells, liver cells, and all other types of cells. When we are young, this process runs very efficiently, and if there are any breakages in our DNA or damage to our epigenetic information, we have special proteins in our bodies called sirtuins that help repair this damage. These sirtuins require fuel in the form of NAD+, which are used up as repairs are made. 


        When we are young, our bodies produce adequate amounts of NAD+, so our cells remain healthy and our bodies' mitochondria can produce energy efficiently. However, as we get older, our bodies' ability to produce NAD+ declines and the sirtuins in our body are unable to repair all of the damage to our DNA and epigenetic information. Our mitochondria also see a decline in quality and function as part of this aging process, which can result in the creation of oxidants and age-related decline in organ function. 


        As the damage to our DNA and epigenetic information accumulates and our NAD+ levels decline, we lose our ability to make the necessary repairs to our cells, causing our bodies' epigenetic information to become muddled and our cells to be unable to express correctly.


        There are many pathways in our body that regulate aging, including the following primary pathways:

The Science of Aging

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