Anti aging secrets: beat the drivers of aging

Dr Michael Elstein on 14 December 2009. Posted by WellBeing Natural Health & Living News

Anti aging secrets! Are you ready to unlock them? We might just be about to unravel the keys of aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Central to this puzzle are three critical biological processes, which are inextricably linked. Uncovering how methylation, inflammation and glycation intersect and how they impact on the genes that determine how you age is critical. This knowledge might indicate how likely you are to succumb to degenerative and life-threatening illness and provide you with vital clues as to how you can intervene to prevent diseases and avoid the shortcomings of aging. Your anti aging quest will benefit greatly with this knowledge.


Anti aging & Methylation: the cell energiser

From your brain to your liver, from your hormone status to the lining of your cells, from your DNA to your RNA, methylation is the life force that determines how your cells are energized and is key to anti aging. To make brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, which affect your mood, your ability to concentrate and focus and your level of contentment, methylation is the core mechanism. If you are depressed, easily distracted and unmotivated, chances are you brain isn’t methylating in the best possible way. This will accelerate the aging process. Methylation is extremely important to anti aging.

Anti aging - methylation also determines whether your liver is able to adequately detoxify. It dictates your capacity to metabolise hormones such as oestrogen so that they become the kind of metabolites that look after you rather than cause harm. Your ability to take care of the lining of your blood vessels, called the endothelium, determines whether you will get heart disease or high blood pressure and is dependent on methylation. So how does this important process work and what is its relationship with anti aging?

Anti aging - methylation is the simple transfer of methyl groups (which contain one carbon and three hydrogen atoms) into an important amino acid called homocysteine. The production of homocysteine enables your body to make a complex called S-adenosylmethionine, also known as SAMe. SAMe is nicknamed “the universal donor”, which in some ways describes its overriding contribution to your wellbeing. Your body uses the methyl groups positioned on SAMe for a whole range of essential biochemical and cellular activities.

The manufacture of DNA and RNA is reliant on methylation and this is of critical importance. Methylation determines whether genes are switched on or off. Genes that are methylated are switched off while those that are unmethylated are switched on. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on which genes are turned on or off. Hypermethylation can rage like a rebel without a cause, making genes that influence normal cell growth produce proteins that cause malignant or unregulated cell growth.

Aging is thought to be a state of global hypomethylation, whereby a whole range of genes is activated. In the case of genes that have the function of preventing cancer, called “tumour suppressor genes”, this is unquestionably beneficial. Obviously, it is in your best interests to energise protective genes in order to combat the activity of a deadly process whose threatening presence looms larger with aging. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complex than this.

One of the major tumour suppressor genes, called P53, also has the added function of stimulating apoptosis, or cellular suicide. While this is advantageous if you can encourage cells with abnormal DNA to terminate themselves, healthy tissue can also be lost due to the activity of P53. This means that not only do you rid yourself of cells you don’t need but also you divest your body of healthy cells. In turn, this leads to tissue breakdown and the unwanted escalation of the degenerative process, which is synonymous with aging.

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Article Tags: cancer , inflammation , anti aging , glucose , glycation , high blood sugar , methylation ,
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This article was published in WellBeing magazine, Australasia's leading source of information about natural health, natural therapies, alternative therapies, natural remedies, complementary medicine, sustainable living and holistic lifestyles. WellBeing also focuses on natural approaches within the topics of ecology, spirituality, nutrition, pregnancy, parenting and travel.