Can We Put the Brakes on Aging?

- Lynda Bateman

Aging is often confused with mortality, and although death is certainly inevitable, aging is much more under our control than we realize.

There is no dispute that death is inevitable. There is, however, currently a vehement disagreement in the circles of science which study human longevity. The dispute? That there might be no natural limit to how long humans can live.   

Recently, researchers in Rome studying Supercentenarians discovered the probability that death levels-off once a person passes the age of 105, give or take a year. Essentially the findings infer persons of an advanced age mesa in their likelihood of imminent death, creating a sort of “mortality plateau.”  Their conclusion? If there is a plateau to human mortality, as described by Jean-Marie Robine, a demographer at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research in Montpellier, “there is no limit to human longevity.”

Other scientists have aggressively disagreed the mortality plateau does actually exist, but will admit the number of people globally joining advanced age, or the 100+ club is increasing. Currently, there are over 500,000 people in the world over one hundred years of age.

The research is self-perpetuating as global populations continue to grow. As more and more people break through ‘normal’ age barriers, scientists are compelled to better understand what could be causing mortality rates to level off in such a way as to decrease the likelihood of death, sometimes by half.

Why does the body suddenly decide to plateau at the age of 105?

Currently genetics experts speculate the body’s cells must “eventually reach a point where repair mechanisms can offset further damage to keep mortality rates level.” (Siegfried Hekimi, McGill University in Montreal, Canada)

The talk of a “repair mechanism” in our cells that can fix damage in our DNA and root out disease sounds like something from a Sci-Fi movie, but longevity scientists have long-identified the co-enzyme, NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), as just such a mechanism.

NAD+ is a critical coenzyme that helps our cells produce energy, in fact without NAD+, life would simply cease to exist. NAD+ is not just in human cells, but found in every living being.

We are born with a full supply of NAD+, but as we age stores become depleted, some by natural means and some through accelerated phenomenon.

The implication of low levels of NAD+ in our cells is dire. Typically, as we approach our fiftieth year, we are working on half our original stores, and continue to deplete to naught into the wee hours of our aging years. Cells become critically handicapped in the way they operate and ‘behave’ with one another. They are also more vulnerable to disease. Keeping NAD+ replenished is a new and important standard in supplementation and health awareness.

How do I keep my NAD+ stores high as I age?

One of the goals for longevity scientists is to uncover how NAD+ (or our cell’s crucial repair mechanisms) supplies can remain high in Supercentenarians or at least robust enough to ward off age degeneration and disease.

Adopting a lifestyle to encourage our cells to make our own NAD+ increases the likelihood of longevity, which is a good place to begin. Additionally, NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) supplementation enhances the body’s provisions quantifiably and is already becoming a stalwart in the diet after the age of forty-five.

The following 5 phenoms have been identified to greatly diminish our NAD+ life rations at an unnatural and accelerated rate. Removing or reducing them from our lives can ultimately impact our aging bodies in a positive way where NAD+ stores and ultimately cell repair is concerned.

TOP 5 life circumstances which can drain NAD+ from our cells

Exhaustion The systems of the body know the difference between normal tired, which usually happens around early evening as the inner clock winds down, and exhaustion. Not allowing our natural circadian rhythms to complete their cycle, while piling on interruption after interruption, wreaks havoc on our NAD+ supplies. Once the body’s circadian rhythm is broken, it can take years to repair and find your way back to regular sleeping patterns again.

Sleep deprivation puts stress on the body. Every system, immune, digestion, endocrine, neurological, etc., requires sleep to reboot and repair itself. Without the opportunity to rest and mend, exhaustion can take hold, stressing out our cells. A stressed cell loses NAD+ at an accelerated rate.

Food What we choose to eat has an enormous impact on our NAD+ supplies. Anything that triggers an allergic reaction, whether it’s a rash or anaphylactic shock, will cause tension on the body and as above, deplete NAD+.

Additionally, foods that are processed, contain unhealthy fats, sugar, chemicals, additives, colors, are not natural and difficult to digest. Overtime, the body tires of cleansing itself of these toxins and becomes overworked, again depleting NAD+.

Any unhealthy pattern that causes undo stress on the body will essentially draw on NAD+, bumping up the loss we would experience under normal conditions.

On the other hand, food that contains NAD+ in larger amounts like avocado, milk, green vegetables and yeast, should be eaten at every opportunity to help refill supplies. NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide), the precursor enzyme to NAD+ in tablet form, additionally will supplement the diet if used regularly.

Lifestyle The way we live our lives impacts a great deal on the amount of stress we invite on our bodies. Emotional and mental anxiety, which is rife in our modern lives, has the biggest impact on our health. Extended conditions of anger, rage, sadness, worry and fear are identified as the worst emotional states that accelerate our decline in health. It should come as no surprise then that NAD+ loss is fast-tracked during the low emotional periods of our lives.

Addiction also comes into play. For instance, overuse of drugs and alcohol drain the natural reserves and compromise our health on many levels. No wonder we often say a person who abuses alcohol or drugs looks much older than their years.

Exercise Most of us understand regular exercise benefits the body in many ways. It builds muscle, creates endorphins, supports digestion, lifts mental and emotional health, among others. But what happens to the body when we are stationary most of the time?

The implications of not including exercise are vast, not the least of which is low NAD+ production rates. Not only are NAD+ stores not being regenerated, NAD+ is lost from cells at a much greater rate than in someone that engages in keeping fit.

Interestingly, too much exercise can cause a great deal of stress on the body. Studies found long distance runners, mountain climbers, and people who participate in extreme sport can have lower NAD+ stores because these humans take their capability to the far limits of their natural ability and the body interprets ultra-sports the same as any mammoth stress on the body.

The key to naturally improved NAD+ levels through exercise is moderation and balance.

Disease

Disease is perhaps a category where we have less control. However, it is noteworthy NAD+ stores are majorly compromised in the midst of disease and during periods of recovery.

Some conditions are particularly hard on our NAD+ stores and these include Neurodegenerative conditions, Parkinson’s disease, Post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. Any disorder that is degenerating too, has dire implications. Most cancers are particularly harsh in as much as the disease drains NAD+, among other vital stores that keep us well. After a cancer diagnosis the body still must endure the chemo and radio therapy process, which is particularly harsh on the body’s systems.

Once we’ve conquered disease though, replenishing NAD+, and essential vitamins and minerals becomes important during recovery.

As a race, humans will continue to seek eternal life, or at the very least be fascinated by it. If geneticists do eventually pinpoint the gene that allows us to live long past our typical life-span the question should ultimately be; How well will I, my children or my grandchildren live during those added years? Or, maybe more importantly; How well do I want to live right now?

*Article sponsored by Herbalmax Inc. a Southern California biotechnology company manufacturers of NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) Supplement, Reinvigorator. An advanced daily NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) coenzyme enhancement designed to boost cellular repair, optimize metabolism and increase energy production.