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Aging: Theories and Solutions

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Rising Star
OG Pioneer
In the cultures of Far East Asia, getting older was considered to be a good thing and used to increase one's social status. In modern times, the Confucian principle of reverence toward the older generations still lingers. In modern Western society, the general view of aging is closer to that of ancient Greece, where beauty was worshipped and youth was adored. Whether good or bad, the processes of aging have been considered to be inevitable and a mystery to modern science. Recently, researchers have started to make breakthroughs in this field. Caloric Intake and Oxidative Stress There is a Chinese saying that the amount of food one eats in ones lifetime is predetermined, so one should eat sparsely in order to extend ones life. It sounds unbelievable but scientific experiments indicate that there is some truth behind it. Scientists have proposed a theory that low caloric intake could slow down aging after observing that caloric-restricted rats live almost 60 percent longer than expected. It should be noted that caloric restriction does not equal starvation. Closely related to the caloric theory is the theory of oxidative stress. Cells use food and oxygen to generate the energy that keeps the body running. This process is most essential for life but it is also a quite hazardous. It is estimated that three percent of oxygen consumption goes to producing free radicals, molecules that are highly reactive and will attack the structures inside the cells. It is estimated that the DNA in each cell will be attacked 100,000 times in a 24-hour period. This is despite the presence of a potent antioxidant system with the sole purpose of neutralising these by-products of metabolism. Fortunately, there are repair systems, but they are not foolproof. Many people believe that oxidative stress, which leads to a gradual destruction of intracellular structures by free radicals, is one of the major causes of aging. In one widely publicized experiment that seems to support this theory of oxidative stress, scientist found that genetically altered banana flies with an enhanced antioxidant system live significantly longer than normal banana flies. Number of Cell Divisions Limited Molecular biologists have long known that human cells can divide a limited number of times. This phenomenon, known as replicative cell senescence, has been extensively studied in fibroblasts, a type of cells commonly found in connective tissue. Viable fibroblast taken from humans and cultured in vitro start dividing vigorously, but as time passes, the proliferation rate gradually decreases. After approximately 60 rounds of cell division, they stop dividing and cannot be made to divide any further. The reason behind the replicative cell senescence is mainly thought to be due to the gradual shortening of the telomeres, repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of the chromosomes. Each time a fibroblast divides, the telomeres are shortened. When the telomeres are gone, further division is no longer possible. The telomeres can therefore be thought of as counting sticks that limit the number of times a cell can divide. Whereas a fibroblast may only go through 60 cell divisions, human stem cells (not fully differentiated cells) seem to be able to divide millions of times. These so called stem cells have the ability to produce telomerase, an enzyme that can compensate for the shortening of the telomeres. Stem cells can be found in almost all tissues, for example in the deeper layers of the skin where they constantly divide to produce new skin cells to replace the old ones that are gradually worn out. However, every time a stem cell divides, some mistakes are bound to be made in the DNA-copying process and these errors accumulate over time as the cell continuously divides. For instance, the skin of a 70-year old is no longer as smooth and beautiful as it was 50 years ago. A stem cell cannot divide indefinitely as it sooner but probably later (after millions of divisions) will have accumulated so many errors in its DNA that it transforms into a tumour cell. Cancers are indeed much more common among the elderly. The Way Out Many people pin their hopes on physical training. Whereas exercises indeed can strengthen the body and lessen morbidity, they cannot slow down aging per se. Theoretically, physical exercises make the body age more quickly, since they will make you eat more (increase caloric intake), boost the cellular metabolism (more oxidative stress) and speed up the turnover of cells. However while they might not be able to slow down aging, certain types of physical exercise can most definitely strengthen the body and keep the doctors at a safe distance. Much contemporary research suggests that mind-body practices can slow down aging. It was known among the ancient Chinese that those who practiced Tai Chi were healthier and lived to be much older than others. Research on yoga has found that the practice significantly decreases oxidative stress. Recently, a study on qigong practitioners found that the turnover of cells had been greatly reduced by the practice. Mind-body methods are probably the best and most affordable way to stay younger longer.
what are the five rites of rejuvenation delphine? Something's wrong here, I had posted a reply to blackclo's initial post, it's gone and the above query, which I did not write, is in its place. What's up, Admin? I had written that I do the Five Rites, a modified yoga program that harmonizes the chakras and glands for rejuvenation, and the last time I bought wine, they asked my birthday. I said maybe he wanted to send me a card. So that was what I posted and which disappeared from the board. I sure hope it does not occur again! :roll:
Interesting. Every time I fast (do it!) I get this feeling that when I do eat, it's actually killing me. Especially greasy or processed food. "Death warmed over." I'd love to go on a caveman diet...I'm sure that avoiding much of what we call 'food' nowadays would really be good for the body. People think that by putting things into their body they give it health. Like the mind, the body (especially it's digestion/metabolism) does well with some peace/rest every now and then. On a random note, fasting is almost psychedelic for me.
Thanks for sharing those thoughts cilosyb. I am sure I could use a fast myself. I'm not fat, but I have been indulging myself of late, and I could use the cleansing. So thanks for the inspiration. and hey, if I started tripping while fasting, I might decide to stay away from food indefinitely. :D
I will investigate this guys. I didn't touch your posts and I just hope we are not being hacked somehow. :?
I actually find it really hard to fast completely and often get head spins/light headedness after just a few hours of not eating! <hyperglyemia?> These days when i fast i eat something but just minimise the food that i actually eat. Like i'll have a plain pumpkin stew in the day leading up to and after aya.
Hi Tribal, I think you mean hypoglycemia, (not "hyper"). Low blood sugar. Yes, fasting can be problematic in that case. But you can't call it fasting per se if you are eating anything. You can call it a modified fast, perhaps, or just eating lightly. Pumpkin stew sounds good, I've never had that. Maybe we ought to start a "healthy recipes" thread in this forum.
I am very skinny. There's kind of no fat at all on my body so when I don't eat I just get headace and I feel dizzy and weak. It feels like I'm just very sick. I don't think it's good for me.
Yeah, I get the lightheadedness/headspins early on too. This will pass though...it can seem awful until you get to the end of the second or the third day...and then I feel fine, no hunger, no lightheadedness, etc. If you've never fasted you have to keep in mind that it is a big change for your body to go from metabolising food to metabolising itself. I'm actually on the fifth day of a fast right now (juice/water only). I might go to seven days...we'll see. The clarity of mind is unparallelled except by psychedelics, it's quite nice. I find that I have an extrordinary amount of mental energy as well...you can get a LOT done if you're fasting...it's crazy how much time and energy is freed up without food. Fasting can really change your views about your own relationship to food which IMO is, to say the very least, overlooked in modern culture. While hitchhiking a few months ago, I was having a discussion with a ride who made an interesting point: "You eat to live, you don't live to eat." Looking around America it would seem as though we have this backwards.
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