Aging is a fact of life and we all want to look and feel great for as long as possible. But if you have ever been to a school reunion, you might have noticed something interesting: some of your classmates look older than others. Why is there such a difference in the rate that people age? What scientists have discovered is that it all starts inside our cells.
For most of us, aging means loss of muscle strength, bone density, lung function, and memory and our risk for conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer all increase. When you graph the incidence of disease versus age you notice something rather striking. Many chronic disease conditions are rare when we are young but their incidence begins to increase around age 50. To scientists who study aging, this upsurge around age 50 suggests that there might be a common reason underlying the onset of these age-related diseases and that may be cellular aging.
Driver JA, Djoussé L, Logroscino G, Gaziano JM, Kurth T. Incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer in advanced age: prospective cohort study. BMJ.2008 Dec 9;337:a2467. PMID: 19066258
When we are born, we start out with a large population of healthy cells; then, ultraviolet radiation, environmental toxins, stress, and poor diet do damage to our cells. The more our cells are bombarded, the more damage accumulates and thus it is critical that our cells are able to defend against, and repair daily damage. It is this accumulated damage that eventually crosses a threshold that may lead to recognizable disease.1
What you really want to do is help your cells protect and repair themselves throughout life to help delay the onset of disease and better control the risks. One key to understanding your cellular defense is knowing that cells require certain nutrients in the right amounts in order to be able to perform their normal functions to protect and repair themselves.2
The good news is that you are able to take control over your health and longevity if you take the time to protect and nourish your cells throughout your lifetime.
1 Polidori MC. Antioxidant micronutrients in the prevention of age-related diseases. J Postgrad Med. 2003 Jul-Sep;49(3):229-35. PMID:14597786.
2 Møller P, Loft S. Interventions with antioxidants and nutrients in relation to oxidative DNA damage and repair. Mutat Res. 2004 Jul 13;551(1-2):79-89. PMID: 15225583.