Aging & Longevity

The Programmed Theory of Aging 

The question arises, why do we age?

There are various widespread theories on why aging takes place, sighted in the scientific literature. Scientists originally had a single all inclusive theory to describe aging. There were beliefs that a single gene or the immune system failing were the key reasons. Although, it is now known that there are multiple developments that occur during the aging process (Pinto da Costa J et al, 2016). 

It is essential that those in the health care field understand the significance of the aging process since it involves special care and management for the older population. It is estimated that there will be up to 88.5 million individuals over the age of 65 by the year, 2050 (Flint B, Tadi P, 2021). 

Aging is a complicated process characterized by reduced function of body systems along with a downhill path for tissues, organs and cells. Although there is a physiological slowdown that can occur when certain therapies are used. These treatments have been studied extensively. Although genetics is a component, dietary changes, exercise and supplementation have their place in helping to increase lifespan and living a health life. 

Updated biological theories of aging have been presented in 2 categories, programmed and damage or error theories (Jin K, 2018). 

Programmed aging theories (active or adaptive aging theories) state that there is a methodical decline of body systems with aging. Each body system has a function to maintain, repair and defend their tissues, organs and cells. Systems include immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and other. 

The programmed theory suggests that there is a biological timetable that leads to aging. It is controlled by gene expression changes that modify body systems. This theory is thought to be the consequences of progressive genes that switch on and off and end up in cell death. 

It has been suggested that aging over a planned period of time results from “genetically pre-programmed hormonal mediation” (Flint B, Tadi P, 2021). This would mean that growth hormone and the insulin pathway are a part of this pre-programmed development. These pathways are regulated by the neuroendocrine system and are involved in the facilitation of an individual’s aging process. It would be accomplished by gene expression and followed by the fluxuation of hormones.

Is there something that can be done to deprogram the aging process? 

It has been shown that what we eat has a major effect on lifespan. Eating a plant based and/or a calorie restricted diet, intermittent fasting and exercise all have been studied to demonstrate positive results on aging. 

In Summary, there is a question that exists as to why do we age? There are many theories that are available. Originally it was proposed that there was a single cause, but currently it is believed that there are a variety of reasons. There is much interest in studying the causes to help in health care of the aging population. One particular theory is the Programmed theory, which suggests that a biological timetable exists that leads to aging. Eating a plant based, and or calorie restricted diet, intermittent fasting and exercise can be beneficial.

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