Happy and Healthy Aging: Understanding Your Body as You Age

As years go by, you might start noticing more wrinkles, some hair loss and even medical issues that don’t want to go away. While aging is natural and unavoidable, the question is why our bodies succumb to Father Time? Here are just some of the things that happen as we age that might help you understand your body better and control any negative effects. 

Your DNA changes

With time, our DNA starts “messing up” and creating errors. As it replicates, DNA might not get copied correctly—some parts get mismatched and some parts get duplicated or deleted. Repair mechanisms, unfortunately, don’t always notice these mistakes, and errors can build up and cause serious issues in our bodies. Due to this phenomenon, certain cells can break down, but others might even turn cancerous. 

Protein turnover slows down

Our cells produce proteins all the time and these proteins control most of the cell functions. They have the job to carry signals and materials, start and finish certain processes and provide support for the cell. However, they also have a short life span and need to be recycled regularly since they stop being effective with time. The tricky part starts when we grow old and our bodies lose the ability to “kill” old and ineffective proteins. As these old proteins stay present, they build up, turn toxic and wreak havoc in our bodies. One of the main features of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s is exactly this protein build-up (proteins stay in the brain and cause nerve cell loss). 

Hormone production is affected

The most common hormonal change as people age is noticed in women. Around the age of 50, ovaries start producing less and less estrogen and progesterone which results in menopause. During this time (premenopause and menopause), women go through many physiological and metabolic changes that affect everything from muscle mass and aging rate to your ability to maintain weight. Luckily, there are certain steps one can take to minimize the negative effects of menopause. For instance, an increase in physical activity, especially weight training, better diet and more sleep can be your friends during this transitional period. Additionally, there are practical menopause supplements that can control the symptoms. They can be helpful with getting rid of hot flashes, night sweats, sleep challenges and other effects of menopause. 

Cells stop dying naturally

All cells take a lot of stress during their life, so they become damaged, stop dividing and become virtually immortal. This might sound like a good thing, but these “zombie cells” can infect other cells in their surrounding and spread inflammations and other issues. In the future, zombie cells or senescent cells might be treated with certain drugs which can minimize various age-related diseases. 

Cells become inefficient

With time, cells start slowing down and being less efficient in recognizing things like the amount of glucose in blood or fat in the body. This causes the sugars and fats to go unprocessed, so many people start gaining weight or developing diabetes. So, the reason behind your insulin resistance or weight gain might not be your diet, but your body’s inability to metabolize all the things you ingest during the day. 

Mitochondria stop functioning properly

Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, we all know that. However, what not many of us might now is that mitochondria ages and becomes less and less efficient and functional. And when these little power cells don’t function well, they start producing a type of oxygen that is harmful to the body because it damages DNA and proteins. Scientists are working hard on restoring the function of the mitochondria since research on mice yielded good results when it comes to reversing aging effect. 

Once scientists figure out the connection between these aging elements, they will be able to create an effective treatment that can help slow down the aging process and even eliminated the certain aging-related disease. Until then, we can only take good care of our bodies, schedule regular doctor’s appointments and try to live our senior years as happily as possible. 

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle writer living between Europe and Australia. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed