Heads I win, tails you lose — sometimes there is no good option. As science attempts to conquer the mystery of aging, it has to limit the number of variables in running studies and experiments. And sometimes it cuts out the most important variable.
Here is an example. Biologists at the University of California San Diego found two potential paths of cell aging. The first is a DNA deterioration where the protein manufacturing abilities of the cell become compromised. The second is a deterioration of the mitochondria, which produce the cell’s energy. The biologists were excited about the potential to steer the cell deterioration toward one path or the other. Both paths lead to cell death, however. Their investigation does not take into account inflammation — that variable is omitted.
“Aging is a complex and multi-factorial process characterized by increased risk of adverse health outcomes.” This statement was made in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. We think of aging as a constant deterioration of the cells of the body over time, and assume that we can do little about it. With each generation of new cells we produce, the quality of the cells tends to decrease. The newer cells may not be a perfect copy of the previous.
Since aging is complex, it is influenced by a number of factors. One way to slow the generational decline of cell quality is simply to slow the rate of cell turnover. If cells last longer, then replacements are needed less often. Another way would be to reduce the damage done to cell DNA so less is passed on to later generations. And a third would be improving cell function so the effects of aging show up less.
When longevity studies focus on inflammation, a different picture arises: reducing inflammation effectively reduces aging. It impacts all three of the factors just mentioned. The causes of inflammation damage cells and force a faster replacement rate, damage DNA, and force mitochondria degradation. We have real-world examples of how long the body could live: the oldest man recorded in modern times lived to 116 years, and the oldest woman to 122 years. The upper limit appears to be somewhere around 120 years. We would see many more approach that age if we could live with chronically low inflammation.
Inflammation and cell lifespan
Inflammation means war. It is a provoked war — toxins and invaders cause the body to react and try to overcome them. These causes themselves lead to cell death, and the collateral damage caused by the immune system at war also kills good cells. To replace the lost cells, existing cells divide, but in the process their telomeres shorten, and eventually are too short for further cell division.
Cells have repair mechanisms. Given a good environment, some cell damage can be healed without the cell dying. Toxins can be identified and pumped out, damaged protein segments can be disassembled and recycled, and damaged organelles can be repaired, if the cell is given a fair chance.
Damaged cells give off pro-inflammatory signals. If their environment damages them, what those cells give off will lead to a worse environment, making the situation worse.
Keeping cells healthy and happy for longer periods extends the length of time each cell generation lives before being replaced by inferior offspring. Providing needed nutrients and minimizing toxins gives them the longest span of useful life. If you have chronic inflammation, you are also experiencing greater cell turnover.
Inflammation and DNA deterioration
Inflammation creates reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). RONS are meant to combat infections and promote tissue rebuilding, but they can also damage DNA. Once damaged, the DNA replicates to new cells. According to ScienceDirect, RONS can interfere with cellular repair mechanisms. Even worse, cellular reactions to DNA damage — cytotoxicity and the cell’s signaling — lead to more inflammation.
In other words, the conditions that promote inflammation can damage DNA, and so can the inflammation itself.
Inflammation and mitochondria deterioration
We know our metabolism slows as we age. Mitochondria produce energy for the cells, and impaired mitochondrial activity will reduce our energy. This is a major factor we relate to aging, but it is quite possible to be older and full of energy. We hasten the damage as we increase inflammation.
The challenge with mitochondria is greater as we age, because weaker, poorer functioning mitochondria give off greater levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). These, in turn, provoke inflammation as the body attempts to counter the ROS. According to the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, “ROS strikes can delete sections of mitochondrial DNA (tDNA), damage other cellular machinery, increase inflammation, and spur inappropriate immune system responses.” In other words, mitochondrial dysfunction leads to mitochondrial damage, leading to more dysfunction as inflammation rises. Interfering with this downward cycle with antioxidants and nourishment of the mitochondria negates many of the effects of aging. A toxic environment adds fuel to the negative cycle, speeding aging.
In this world, we will age. We can do so slowly or quickly. Inflammation is the gauge that tells us which way we are going.
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
As we have stated for over 36 years at Total Health Institute, the major cause of all disease and aging is inflammation. All inflammation is for the most part is your cells responding to the environment around them. If it is one of toxins, chemicals in the air you breathe, the drinks you consume and the food you eat, then you are going to be inflaming with every breath, sip and bite. This is why you do have some choice of how clean your food and water are, along with some control over your external environment — at least in your own home. As the food, water and air get more toxic you have to choose the purest options to maintain health, prevent disease and slow down aging. We help those who are serious about their health with different options at Total Health Institute. It is important to do this when you feel good and not to wait until you have a significant diagnosis, but if you already have a condition or disease it is imperative — if you want to heal.
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.