The 9 causes of ageing and the nutrients you need to slow them down

-Jan 26, Jenny Paul , Health -

There are 9 things that happen in the body as we get older. These key processes are part of the biology of ageing, taking place at a deep cellular level in the body as each year goes by.  

Experts have long recognised free radicals as the primary ageing cause, and most products on the market offer antioxidants to target them. But the free radical theory isn’t the full story, and it is one of nine universal, interrelated ageing causes – all working in tandem to wage war on our cells: oxidative damage, cellular debris, glycation, telomere shortening, DNA damage, inflammation, cellular energy decline, insulin resistance and hormonal decline.

The result of these nine processes can be seen and felt outwardly in the shape of: mental exhaustion and brain fog, poor sleep, unwanted weight gain and a sluggish metabolism, unbalanced hormones, unhealthy skin, thinning hair, brittle nails, lack of physical energy, plus an overall lack of joie de vivre. 

Here’s a closer look at the science behind the nine causes of ageing and the nutrients you can use to help slow these processes.

1. Oxidative Damage

Antioxidant defences start to decline, and free radicals start a DNA-damaging chain reaction that may lead to degenerative diseases.

Nutrients which help slow down oxidative damage

The ideal combination to take is a super-effective, multi-tasking team of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E working together with coenzyme Q10, zinc, and selenium to fight free radical proliferation.

But the most powerful weapon to add to your arsenal against oxidative damage is the powerhouse amino acid l-cysteine, which helps naturally strengthen and replenish the body’s normal oxidation-fighting glutathione system.

While glutathione supplements do exist, they are broken down in digestion rather than absorbed. L-cysteine can be used to naturally stimulate the body’s own production of glutathione.

2. Cellular Energy Decline

Mitochondria (cell’s energy production) fall short in providing enough energy to fuel the body’s requirements. Youthful efficiency is lost making the body susceptible to degeneration.

Nutrients which help slow down cellular energy decline

The three most effective nutrients at optimising mitochondrial health and function are: l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium.

The amino acid l-carnitine plays a vital role in transporting fuel into the mitochondria, and coenzyme Q10 is a major component of the cellular respiration pathway in mitochondria, which is how most of the energy in the body is produced.

Finally, the energy produced by the mitochondria must be bound to a magnesium ion to be biologically active. Magnesium also plays a role in ensuring permeability of the mitochondrial membrane to allow transfer and utilization of energy. Thus, sufficient magnesium is essential for youthful energy levels.

3. Cellular Debris

The waste products that accumulate as a result of cellular functioning. Eliminating waste (detoxification) gets harder as we age due to cellular energy shortage.

Nutrients which help slow down cellular debris

To slow this process you need the nutrient acetyl-l-carnitine, found most abundantly in red meat, to kick cell energy centers into gear to recycle or eliminate cellular debris. The cleaned-out cells exhibit renewed functionality, and as a result we feel more alert and mentally invigorated.

4. Glycation

Proteins haphazardly bond with sugar to form Advanced Glycation End products which have been implicated in the depletion of collagen and the skin’s natural moisturiser Hyaluronic acid.

Nutrients which help slow down glycation

The body normally uses carnosine to block glycation, but levels of this dipeptide plummet with age. Carnosine supplements are ineffective as they are broken down in digestion rather than absorbed.

Instead of trying to repair glycation damage after it has already occurred, take a cue from the body and use an amino-acid combination of alanine, l-carnitine, and l-cysteine to stop glycation and AGE formation before they start. As a result, collagen and skin elasticity are more effectively protected and maintained.

5. Insulin resistance

Over-activation of insulin, due to our diets, makes cells progressively resistant to insulin, stifling the fuel supply to the cell and leading to an increase in glycation and cellular energy decline.

Nutrients which help slow dow insulin resistance

L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 help keep glucose and insulin levels in the blood lower, while the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil increase cellular insulin sensitivity.

6. Telomere Shortening

The protective caps at the end of chromosomes shorten, and cells become unable to replicate normally and eventually die.

Nutrients which help slow down telomere shortening

Our body uses the enzyme telomerase to help maintain the length of telomeres by repairing lost end portions. With the presence of telomeres, any single cell can continue to divide unbounded — but exploiting telomerase levels can be dangerous, as unbounded growth is also a factor of cancer.

Instead of interfering with the body’s telomerase levels, focus on preserving telomere length and integrity with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Related: Telomere shortening – are you secretly older than your real age?

7. DNA Damage

Glutathione (the body’s most important antioxidant) drops, oxidation worsens, and our cell’s roadmap is damaged. If left unaddressed, it can cause cell dysfunction and mutation.

Nutrients which help slow down DNA damage

Protecting and repairing DNA is essential to ensuring proper functioning of cells, which in turn leads to renewed youth and efficiency.

The powerful amino acid l-cysteine stimulates the body’s natural antioxidant defense system, which helps protect DNA against free radical damage.

Additionally, a turmeric and omega-3 fatty acid combination can activate a DNA-protecting protein called sirtuin, which guards against cell decline and death. As a result, cells become more resilient to disease and degeneration.

8. Hormone Decline

Human growth hormone (HGH) levels decline often resulting in extra body fat, reduced muscle tissue, slow healing, reduced immune function and a lack of skin elasticity.

Nutrients which help slow down hormone decline

A combination of the amino acids l-arginine, l-lysine, and l-glutamine taken at bedtime can encourage the pituitary gland to release HGH during the first phase of sleep to ensure that all repair, restoration, and regeneration is completed before awakening.

This leads to firmer skin, improved muscle tone, greater strength and endurance, and a healthier immune system. They also improve the body’s natural biorhythmic cycles, ensuring better sleep at night and more alertness during the day.

Related: Is your circadian rhythm the key to slowing down premature ageing?

9. Inflammation

This takes shape as a persistent low-grade attack on all body tissues that impairs the functioning and repair of tissues and cells and accelerates ageing.

Nutrients which help slow down inflammation

Diets rich in monounsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation. Flaxseed oil is a wonderful source of omega-3s and, unlike many fish oils, does not contain contaminants such as heavy metals or polychlorinated biphenyls. Additionally, Turmeric is a prized Persian root and a powerful anti-inflammatory

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