Although scientists have yet to discover the fountain of youth, they have made enormous strides in discovering the factors that promote aging within the body. These discoveries mean that you can take this knowledge and apply it to your nutritional intake to help prevent or reduce aging in your own body.
The four major causes of premature aging are:
- Glycation caused by AGEs or Advanced Glycation End Products
- Oxidation and other damage cause by free radicals within the body
You may not have heard about AGEs, or Advanced Glycation End products, but, in terms of modern health, AGEs are partially responsible for diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and most of the other modern lifestyle diseases we face.
AGEs, in the simplest possible terms, are the product of a diet too high in refined sugars. When you eat sugar, the sugar enters the blood stream. The body has to normalize the level of sugar in the blood stream because excessively high levels of glucose in the blood can be life threatening. First, the body makes insulin, which attaches to the glucose to allow the glucose to be converted to energy. If there is still too much sugar in your blood stream, the body stores that glucose in the cells as fat. If there is still too much sugar, after it has been converted to glucose for energy and fat for storage, then the body uses proteins within the blood steam to bind to the excess sugar to normalize blood sugar. The protein-sugar combination molecule is called the AGE, or Advanced Glycation End Product.
AGE molecules release free radicals into your body at an alarming rate, and these free radicals damage the circulatory system, the muscles, tissues, organs, and even the skin, causing premature aging and damage that can result in inflammation, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
You need a two-pronged approach to reduce the damage caused by AGEs. You need to reduce your refined sugar intake, and you need to invest in a high quality antioxidant supplement
that will help to eliminate the free radicals caused by the AGEs.
Stress is another major cause of premature aging. Stress has a number of biological effects on the body that account for the aging quality of this state of mind.
When you are stressed, the body releases additional cortisol into the blood stream. The increase in cortisol increases glucose metabolism, and decreases protein and fat metabolism. The increased glucose metabolism accounts for the production of AGEs, above. Cortisol damages the blood vessels directly, and may damage tissue and organs, and this results in low-grade inflammation that increases the number of free radicals in the body. The increase in free radicals damages cells, tissues, and organs, and this causes premature aging.
Once again, the approach to reducing stress and reducing the damage caused by stress requires a two-pronged approach. You need to reduce your stress levels by taking action like meditation, relaxation techniques, or therapy. You also need to increase your antioxidant
intake to help to eliminate the free radicals caused by stress.
Inflammation is a natural part of your ability to heal, and, while some inflammation is vital for wound healing, the chemical compounds involved in inflammation cause damage to the body and low-grade chronic inflammation may result.
Inflammation occurs as a result of damage to the body. Stress, high levels of sugar, and incorrect diet are all factors in the development of low-grade inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation damages cellular DNA, tissues, muscles, and organs.
To counteract the effects of inflammation, you need to change your diet to exclude refined sugars and the fats that cause inflammation, include the healthy essential fats and fatty acids that the body needs, and include antioxidants that are vital for neutralizing the free radicals caused by inflammation.
Oxidation Caused by Free Radicals
As you can see from the above, AGEs, stress, and inflammation all result in the production of free radicals that damage the body. But AGEs, stress, and inflammation are not the only sources of free radicals in the body.
The body produces free radicals naturally, as a result of the energy production process. For those who go to the gym regularly, or who exercise regularly, it means that the body is producing more free radicals each time you exercise. However, exercise is vital for health, so the solution to these free radicals is to increase your antioxidant intake to help protect your body.
Free radicals also come in the form of the products we use on our skin, and in products like normal household products. The key to removing these free radicals is to limit the number of products you use that contain chemicals, and to increase the antioxidants you use on your skin by investing in healthy skin care products
that are formulated to contain abundant amounts of antioxidants.
Antioxidant Protection Is for Everyone
Don’t be fooled into thinking antioxidants and aging is a subject best left for when you get older. The truth is that antioxidants are a vital way to protect your body and your children’s bodies. It is never too late or too early to supplement your diet with the essential antioxidants that protect you.