Aging & Longevity

The Damage Theory of Aging 

There are various theories on aging with much debate. Many theories are based on immune function problems, molecular cross-linking, free radical producing damage and shortening of chromosomal telomeres. One particular theory is called the Damage Theory or Error Theory. It emphasizes damage produced from the outside environment to living things. This damage is cumulative damage at different levels. Another theory that is similar is the Free Radical Theory. It suggests that superoxide and other free radicals present within cells cause destruction to the cellular compounds that lead to cell death. 

Aging is an intricate progression of body system changes, effecting tissues and cells. Researchers are investigating different treatments to turn back the clock. Genetics is a factor, but dietary measures, exercise and supplementation have been shown to have a positive influence at helping to increase lifespan and improving health. 

In the Damage Theory, it is known that free radical damage reduces longevity of cells. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are generated during metabolism are present as radical or non-radical molecules (Zelickson BR et al, 2013). These ROS compounds cause a snowball damaging effect on DNA, important proteins and lipids (Freitas AC et al, 2013) 

It has been shown that 2 to 3% of oxygen that is taken up by cells is chemically reduced by adding on electrons. When the oxygen reduction is dysfunctional and is not completed it produces many pertinent ROS compounds like the anion radical superoxide, hydrogen peroxide and the hydroxyl radical (Johnson TE et al, 1999). In the mitochondria’s electron transport chain there are 3 main ROS sources. 

The Damage Theory also includes the Wear and Tear Theory, which was first introduced in 1882, by a German biologist, Dr. August Weismann (Jin K, 2010). Just like a car that has parts that break down because of use over time, the same thing happens with ageing. As it suggests, wear and tear occurs over time to the important proteins and other compounds found within tissues and cells. 

After studying longevity in various species under similar conditions, it has been suggested that there is no “pre-determined” timeline for aging. The Wear and Tear Theory would allow the notion that it is possible through different methods to extend lifespan (Pinto da Costa J et al, 2016). 

Simple ways to hold back to aging process are the following suggestions: 

  • Eat a plant based diet 
  • Exercise regularly including aerobic, strength and flexibility routines • Protect your skin from the sun 
  • Learn ways to handle stress 
  • Everything in moderation 
  • Hydrate the body with drinking water daily 
  • Investigate different dietary supplements that help reduce free radical damage 

In Summary, there are different theories on aging with much debate. The Damage Theory emphasizes damage produced from the outside environment to living things and is cumulative. There have been ways to increase lifespan and improve health, which include dietary measures, exercise and supplementation.

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