As we age, our body undergoes many changes, we become weak, our hair turns white, and our skin appears wrinkled. We are also more susceptible to diseases and may lose our cognitive abilities.
It is generally believed that aging is an inevitable part of life, but can it delay aging and prolong our youthful years? We asked eight experts a question, “Can aging be delayed?” Interestingly, there is a 75% “possible” consensus. This is what we found.
What is aging?
All living things are made up of cells. Scientists often cultivate cells in the laboratory for research purposes. In 1961, researcher Leonard Hayflick noticed that human cells can only divide 50 times on average to enter a dormant state similar to “sleep”
There are many causes of senescence and senescence at the cellular level. These include oxidative damage, accumulation of small DNA errors, and shortening of telomeres. Essentially, the different components of the battery will experience general wear and tear throughout the battery’s life. To some extent, this damage means that the cells cannot function as they did before.
Can we delay cell senescence?
Hayflick noticed that normal human cells have a limited lifespan, but some cells can reproduce indefinitely. These cells usually come from cancer or have been genetically modified. By changing certain pathways in cells, such as their mode of reproduction or the maintenance of telomeres, we can overcome the normal aging process.
Therefore, senescence in cells can be delayed, which can usually be done to help research. However, it is important that these cells are different from the healthy cells you find in the body.
Can we delay the aging of animals?
Genetic manipulation can not only delay the aging of cells, but also delay the aging of entire animals (also known as “model organisms”).Anti-aging experiments started with nematode worms Caenorhabditis elegans. Because these animals are so easy to work in the laboratory, scientists have discovered various ways to repair and delay aging.
Interestingly, one of these pathways is related to metabolism and diet. It has been found that dietary restrictions can delay the aging of entire animals from flies to monkeys to dogs. Restricted calorie intake may prompt human cells to enter a “protective” mode, thereby slowing down aging.
Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre, an anti-aging expert at the University of Montreal, pointed out: “[a]Although not everything that works in a model organism may work in the human body, some ideas from aging research may eventually lead to anti-aging therapies. “
Will human senescence be delayed?
Professor Janet Thornton, an anti-aging expert from the European Institute of Bioinformatics, emphasized:[i]In humans, it is unethical to make mutations, and there are too many conflicting forces at work, so it is difficult to assess the impact of dietary restrictions. In the laboratory, the lifespan of the worm can be increased by 10 times. In fruit flies and mice, the maximum increase is only 1.5 times, but humans have no equivalent measurement method. Human systems are likely to have many interconnections and buffers, and are therefore complex, so such extensions may not be accessible. “
Despite these complications, some drugs are still undergoing clinical trials to see if they can delay human aging. So far, it is not clear whether these compounds will work.
Dr. Marco Demaria of Groningen University said: “We have several lifestyle interventions that will significantly affect the onset and progression of aging (diet and exercise are the top ones).” Many other experts recommend improving diet and exercise to slow it down. senescence. People who exercise regularly and lead a healthy lifestyle are generally more active, and as they age, they enjoy a higher quality of life.
Although aging is still inevitable for all organisms, it is possible to delay the aging of cells and animals through experiments. For us humans, the best way to delay aging is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
This article is based on 8 experts’ answers to this question: “Can aging be delayed?”
The expert response was released in cooperation with Metafact.io, an independent fact-checking platform. Subscribe to their weekly news here.