The quest for eternal youth and immortality is as old as humanity and has lasted throughout history and into modern times.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is perhaps the first written example of this. Gilgamesh is the King of Uruk City in ancient Mesopotamia in 3000 BC. The death of his close friend Enkidu during a dangerous journey pushes him to search for eternal life.
You probably remember the story of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who sailed through the Caribbean Islands and discovered Florida in the 16th century while searching for the “Fountain of Youth”.
The average mortality for an adult male has increased from 47 years to 76 in this century, not because of achievements in extending life expectancy, but because of prevention of premature deaths of the masses.
The goal is to reverse the ageing process of a person. However, it’s not possible to say that this goal has been reached…
SLOWING DOWN THE AGEING PROCESS
As oxygen causes iron to rust, free radicals are associated with oxidative damage (we will mention other causes later).
Free radicals are cells or molecules that have a single unpaired electron in the outer shell, and they cause damage to DNA and cells, which leads to disease and ageing.
In order to prevent this, it is recommended that antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lipoic acid, N-acetylcystein and resveratrol be taken. The list of antioxidants is quite long, and we’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Experiments performed on many species like rats, flies, yeast and worms show that with adequate nourishment but a 50 % restriction in calories, results in a doubling of life expectancy. Experiments on vertebrates are still in progress.
We will discuss all the details of calorie restriction later.
As a footnote, suffice it to say that, nature selects species that are underfed to live longer and shortens the lifespan of overfed ones. Why? Because nature has assigned only one task to all beings, human, animal or plant, and that is to pass on their genes to the next generation. If you are underfed, it is less likely that you will pass on your genes to the next generation, so nature gives you another chance.
LEPTIN is a very interesting, not widely known, hormone and plays an important role in this process. We’ll cover this later.
CHEMICAL AND GENETIC INTERVENTIONS
“Human Growth Hormone” injections are an expensive method that tries to restore the hormone to “youth” levels. This method has not proven to be very successful and long-term side effects have to be seriously considered.
Genetic engineering has also been researching the subject but so far only yeast and mice have been experimented on; not humans yet.
At the end of our chromosomes there are repeating DNA sequences called telomeres. Telomeres resemble the plastic end of a shoelace and, similarly, protect the end of the chromosome from deterioration.
The length of telomeres are measured in “bases”:
15,000 bases at conception,
10,000 bases when we are born, and
5,000 bases when we die.
Our telomeres, which shorten with each cell division, tell us that the average human life span is approximately 125 years.
Unfortunately, we can neither prevent telomere shortening, nor live 125 years. But isn’t it possible to use this potential of a 125-year life span?
Of course it’s possible; if only we could minimize the damage caused by free radicals that speed up the shortening of telomeres (further details later on) by OPTIMISING OUR LIFE STYLE.
We can summarize the main purpose of this blog as LIFE STYLE OPTIMIZATION.
AN AMAZING DEVELOPMENT
We all want to live a healthier life, even if this wish remains unfulfilled.
Living a long life, that’s another story… As mentioned before, the average maximum limit of human life is estimated to be around 125 years. After passing on our genes to the next generation, we no longer hold any importance in the eyes of Mother Nature.
So how can we “trick” Mother Nature into removing us from “the warranty expired” category? Taking it a step further, is it possible to turn the clock back and generate youth naturally?
You may not believe it, but my answer is YES! On March 23rd, 2007 Simon Melov et al, announced that they successfully discovered a “treatment” that reverses aging.
If you are interested please check out the original article at the following link:
This “regeneration“ was not observed in worms, fish or mice but actually in humans. On the genetic level, 179 genes were reversed to their original form, as observed at a very young age.
So what does this miraculous “treatment” entail? You might find this hard to believe, but the “miraculous” treatment is WEIGHT TRAINING. During a period of 26 weeks, the participants undertook different weight training exercises, twice a week. The participants increased their strengths by 50 % by the end of the study.
Even though the exercise programs itself and the equipment used, left much to be desired, this unbelievable result was achieved.
You probably won’t believe this, but concrete, scientific proof of the existence “Fountain of Youth” was presented to the academic world and the public but received almost no attention.
However, there was a stampede to buy resveratrol supplements, as taking pills is much easier than lifting weights.
PEOPLE INVARIABLY OPT FOR THE EASY WAY OUT.
There will be several weight training methods that I’m going to recommend. All will be High Intensity training methods with some variation. One is called Super Slow Training and should be quite popular with the “non-gym rat” crowd as it takes only 15 minutes per work out and is done once in 7-10 days. For the “gym rats”, I’ll suggest a high intensity program that takes about 20-30 minutes and is done 3-4 days a week.
When it comes to optimizing our life style, nutrition plays a major role. I will, however, defer discussion of “what and how much” to eat, as I don’t want to loose potential regular readers of this blog before even getting started. Yes, I’m referring to our friends with “healthy” appetites.