human growth hormone

What Causes Aging: New Research Unlocks the Key

One of the mysteries that scientists are trying to unravel is the question of why our bodies age. If they can discover what causes aging, the hope is that then new ways of prolonging both life and health will be uncovered.
We have already increased our life expectancy greatly since the turn of the century, with the advent of antibiotics to fight disease, improved sanitation, and lowered infant mortality rates. Now that quality of life has been addressed, we are turning to the question of lengthening life, and looking at what causes our bodies to slow down and gray as the years pass.

It’s In the Genes

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have linked the aging process to the genes that control cellular function. Over time, as our cells continue to divide, the genetic material is imperfectly reproduced. The more divisions that occur over the years, the greater the “gene error” that can affect cell function. As genes become slightly damaged because of this reproduction error, then cellular function can diminish or the immune system will not react as well to outside illness.

Gene repression is the diminishing of the action of a tiny part of the genes in our cells. This part regulates cell function, and its repression may be one factor in the aging process. Nutritional deficiencies and toxins such as smoking or alcohol, can “turn off” this type of gene function. (It turns back on when the toxin is removed or the deficiency is corrected).

The accumulation of waste products within our cells and organs over the years may contribute to gene repression. The physical loss of cells in the body can also be a factor in cell aging. Both of these processes can occur in response to free radicals, which can have a damaging effect on the DNA within cells.

Gene loss: apparently our heart and certain brain cells lose DNA as we age. And the older we are, the faster this DNA loss occurs, contributing to their aging.

Cellular senescence, which appears to be a genetically programmed obsolescence for our cells, also plays a part in the aging process. Each time that a cell divides and has to reproduce the genetic material carried on the chromosome, a tiny portion of the telomere, a “cap” on the end of the chromosomes is lost.

With repeated divisions, the telomere length becomes less. After this telomere loss reaches a critical limit, the cells can no longer divide. Human cells can apparently divide around 40 to 60 times before this occurs, and cells taken from older individuals will divide less times in vitro (test tube) culture than those taken from younger individuals.

Our bodies can only renew themselves so many times in a lifespan, apparently. This loss of the capability to divide in known as cell senescence, and can play a role in some of the diseases and changes seen as we age. Cells that are approaching senescense will show changes in their function that mimic many of the changes that we see with aging, before the cells lose their ability to divide.

One possible area for research involves replacing this telemerase “cap” to increase the longevity of cells and to prevent the deterioration of their function.

Hormonal Changes

Other studies have looked at the role of the hypothalamus and the hormones that it regulates as a factor in aging. The hypothalamus, which is located within the brain, releases hormones that cause certain organs to respond by releasing hormones.

People tend to have higher levels of hormones when they are younger, and these levels decline as aging occurs. Studies into the role of such hormones as Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which helps with the formation of muscle mass, body fat, thyroid and testosterone, and of the effect of sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone for their role in the aging process have been done.

Some researchers feel that replacing these hormones as their production declines can help to preserve a healthier, more youthful body, while others caution that not enough is known about the long term effects at this point. In fact, some recent studies seem to point out negative consequences of overly zealous hormone replacement.

Calorie Restriction: Longer Life?

Some studies with animals have shown a relationship between calorie restriction and increased longevity as well as delaying the onset of age related diseases. The question remains whether this is true of humans as well, and Tufts University has funded a study to do exactly that. Sixty-six women aged 55 to 62 are participating in a study that involves caloric restriction and its effect on aging. One half of the participants have volunteered to be on a calorie restricted diet, while the other half will have no dietary restriction imposed.

Free radicals can cause destruction in our cells and tissues and contribute to the changes in DNA and cell walls that we associate with aging. The nervous system and reproductive organs and hormones, as well as the immune system are often affected. It appears that calorie restriction decreases the amount of free radicals and can help slow this damage down.

Calorie restriction can also help overcome insulin resistance that develops during aging in animals, and researchers are studying whether this same insulin resistance (which is a factor in the development of type II diabetes and heart disease) can be overcome in humans who restrict calories as well.

There have been exciting advances in recent years in our understanding of aging and how it occurs. While we are still in the process of learning more, hopefully the research that is occurring in this area will contribute to the development of methods of increasing both the length and quality of life.

Be sure to read part three: How To Live Healthier At Any Age

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

order human growth hormone

Recent E-mail:
I feel more energetic and confident in my relationships. I want to mention that after about 30 minutes I could feel my sex drive increase and had an abundance of energy. Excellent product, by the way - i love it

Fred, USA