Posted on Jan 5, 2024
- Why do we age?
- How to delay or prevent aging
- Cell-Based Assays for Aging
- How can Marin Biologic Laboratories help you with bioassays?
Why Don’t We Stay Young?
Aging is a trade-off between reproduction and survival. Once an organism has passed its reproductive years, there is less evolutionary pressure to maintain optimal repair and maintenance systems. Some key reasons behind aging include:
- Genetic Factors: Our genes play a significant role in determining our lifespan and how we age. Genetic instructions guide cellular functions, repair mechanisms, and the body’s ability to counteract damage over time. Genes code for proteins which ameloriate cellular damage and promote optimal function, however, when genes are damaged they don’t function correctly.
- Telomere Shortening: Telomeres are protective caps at the end of chromosomes (genes) that shorten each time a cell divides. This shortening is associated with cellular aging and eventual cell death. A Nobel prize was awarded for the discovery of telomeres.
- Accumulation of Damage: Over a lifetime, cells and tissues accumulate damage from various sources, including environmental factors like UV radiation, pollution, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and diet. This damage can lead to a decline in cellular function.
- Decline in Cellular Repair and Maintenance: As we age, the body’s ability to repair and maintain cells with optimal function diminishes. DNA repair mechanisms become less efficient, leading to a buildup of errors and mutations over time, resulting in damaged, perhaps inoperative proteins to ensure repair and maintenance.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal shifts that occur with age can affect various bodily functions, metabolism, and tissue maintenance. This occurs in both women and men.
- Oxidative Stress: This occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their harmful effects. Free radicals can damage cells and contribute to aging. These free radicals can come from food, UV light, chemicals like pollutants.
- Inflammation: Inflammatory responses are a major way that the body fights off infections, however, excess inflammation and especially chronic low-grade inflammation, often associated with aging, can contribute to tissue damage and the development of age-related diseases. Excessive inflammation comes from sunlight, comic rays at high altitudes, and toxic chemicals, and stress. A large part of inflammation comes from eating. The natural process of digestion and generating energy from food involves inflammatory processes that are closely controlled. The best practice is to eat moderately, avoid sugar and processed foods, and eat food with lots of anti-oxidants, dark colored fruit and vegetables.
- Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells, and as they age, they may become less efficient, leading to decreased energy production and increased cellular damage. As we age, older people have less energy than a person in their 20s -40s.
- Immune System Decline: The immune system weakens with age, making the body more susceptible to infections and diseases. Older people were more susceptible to COVID, inducing organ failure. However, taking care of your body, like reducing stress will decrease immune system decline. Stress induces cortisol and subsequently impairs the immune responses.
Understanding these factors helps scientists explore ways to potentially slow down the aging process, although complete prevention of aging remains elusive. Research in areas like genetics, cellular biology, and lifestyle interventions continues to shed light on potential strategies to promote healthier aging and extend lifespan.
How to Delay or Prevent Aging
Delaying the visible and functional effects of aging involves a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and practices. While aging is a natural process, the following can help to slow down the aging process:
Diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential nutrients and antioxidants that support overall health and slow cellular damage. Intermittent fasting may appear to be beneficial for so many unhealthy conditions. for example, obesity, diabetes, longevity, high blood pressure and heart issues. Some of this fasting can occur from the normal dinner time to late morning breakfast. However, blood glucose will decrease, so if you are shaky, please eat something to raise your glucose. Your body, especially your brain needs glucose to function correctly.
Protection. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding excessive sun exposure. UV rays cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. Avoid smoking and vaping, limit alcohol, avoid pollutants.
Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity. Exercise can help maintain muscle mass, balance, bone density, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. Aim for a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.
Stress: Chronic stress can accelerate the aging process. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness to manage stress effectively.
Mentally Active: Engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading, puzzles, learning new skills, to keep your brain sharp and delay cognitive decline.
Social Connections: Maintaining social relationships and a strong support system can contribute to mental and emotional well-being, which is crucial for healthy aging.
Stay Positive: Maintain a positive outlook on life and practice gratitude. Positive emotions and mental well-being contribute to healthy aging.
Health Check-ups: Schedule regular medical check-ups to identify and manage age-related health issues early, potentially slowing down their progression.
Stay Young, Delay or Prevent Aging through Pharmacology
Hormone Replacement Therapy for both men and women may be recommended.
Supplements: Some supplements, such as vitamins and antioxidants, may have a role in promoting healthy aging, but their efficacy is unproven or may be restricted to individuals with specific deficits. Supplements are not as regulated as pharmaceuticals, often contain contaminants, that could have deleterious effects.
Various fads have had supporting and refuting claims, for example
*Resveratrol in red wine, not proven but enjoy your wine anyway.
*The diabetes drug metformin and related nutraceutical berberine. Metformin manages high blood sugar and complications of type 2 diabetes, but not proven as a general anti-aging medication. It inhibits the synthesis of glucose by the liver, thereby decreasing the glucose exported to the bloodstream
*Rapamycin and analogs can be beneficial for treating various diseases including cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and aging. The mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) coordinates eukaryotic cell growth and metabolism with environmental inputs including nutrients and growth factors. Extensive research over the past two decades has established a central role for mTOR in regulating many fundamental cell processes, from protein synthesis to autophagy, and deregulated mTOR signaling is implicated in the progression of cancer and diabetes.
Cell-Based Assays for Anti-Aging Drug Discovery
Cell-based assays are indispensable in the drug discovery process, particularly for identifying compounds that have the potential to extend lifespan or alleviate age-related conditions. Here’s how these assays contribute to drug development in the realm of anti-aging:
Target Identification: Cell-based assays can help identify specific cellular targets that are implicated in aging processes. This knowledge guides the development of drugs that target these pathways. For example, using cell-based assays, researchers identified the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway as a key regulator of aging. This discovery led to the development of mTOR inhibitors as potential anti-aging drugs
Efficacy Testing: Once potential anti-aging compounds are identified, cell-based assays can rigorously assess their efficacy in slowing down aging or mitigating age-related diseases. For example, Cell-based assays played a critical role in testing the efficacy of metformin, a widely used diabetes drug, in extending lifespan. These assays demonstrated that metformin could impact aging-related pathways and improve health span in animals.
Toxicity Assessment: It’s crucial to ensure that potential anti-aging drugs are safe for human use. Cell-based assays are used to assess the toxicity of compounds before they advance to clinical trials.
In conclusion, cell-based assays are indispensable tools in anti-aging research and drug discovery. They provide valuable insights into the cellular mechanisms of aging and enable the identification of potential anti-aging interventions. As technology continues to advance, these assays will play an increasingly pivotal role in our quest to extend human health span and improve the quality of life in old age.
Marin Biologic Laboratories and Cell-Based Assays
We offer a variety of cell-based assays and other procedures to advance your drug development. See us at www.marinbio.com.
Marin Biologic Laboratories, Inc.
378 Bel Marin Keys Blvd.
Novato, CA 94949
Phone 415 883-8000