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General Health InformationEveryone is interested in living a longer and healthier life. As we age, we become more conscientious about age related illness as well as theories of why we age. Unfortunately, aging is inevitable. But, there is much we can learn and do about preventing age related illness and “slowing down” the aging process.
One of the most popular theories on aging is the “free radical theory.” This theory attributes aging and age-associated diseases to the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive, toxic forms of oxygen molecules that bind to and destroy cellular components. The paradox is that oxygen, which is necessary for life, can also be destructive to our bodies. Compounds that prevent this type of damage are known as “antioxidants.” Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by reacting with them rendering them inactive.
Free radicals may be caused by radiation, environmental pollutants, chemicals, sunlight, stress, and smoking. Actually, free radicals are routinely formed in the body by the body’s own chemical processes. Our bodies also have self-healing biochemical reactions that rid us of the free radicals that our body naturally produces. The problem lies in the free radical overload caused by environmental toxins, stressors, artificial chemicals, and such.
Not only do free radicals damage our cell’s protective membranes, but they also damage our genetic material…our DNA. DNA damage causes mutations that can lead to aging and disease. Free radicals have been linked to numerous problems which may not actually be part of the inevitable process of aging, but rather the result of the breakdown of cell structures caused by free radicals.
New cells are needed to replace the old cells. With age, the process of replacing cells is naturally slower. When there are no new cells to replace the old ones, “aging” occurs. When there is an overload of free radicals present causing extensive damage and destruction of our cells, even our young bodies cannot keep up with cell replacement. We then suffer from premature aging and early onset of age-related diseases.
Avoiding the factors which cause free radical formation, and taking antioxidants supplements are two of the many ways to slow the aging process and degenerative diseases. Elderly people may also face many degenerative conditions because of nutritional deficiencies. As we age, our bodies do not absorb and process nutrients as well as they once did. The elderly also have a tendency to under-eat or to make poor food choices. A diet that lacks essential nutrients over a long period of time can lead to greater risk of degenerative diseases. An overall healthy lifestyle including diet, stress management, and exercise are beneficial in minimizing the formation of free radicals, as well as combating age-related disease processes.
Dietary & Lifestyle
Dietary Supplements to Consider
Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements - all are important but magnesium, calcium, vitamins A, C, E, B-complex, and trace minerals are crucial since it is difficult to get all you need in your diet
Wellness Centers Related to Aging
Additional Information on Aging