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27.12.2019 Feature Article

How To Stay Young Even When You Are 100 Years Old

Stay Young At All Ages
How To Stay Young Even When You Are 100 Years Old
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Humans are living longer than their ancestors did.
The average human being could become a centenarian if they follow recent guidelines targeted at longevity. Genes contribute only 20% to longevity; 80% of longevity lies in the hands of individuals.

Life experiences are very exciting, and many people want to stay active, disease-free and live longer.

Autophagy and Stress resistance
In order to remain healthy, the cells and tissues (of our bodies) need to stay clean and healthy cells should be able to get rid of damaged cellular structures like mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and abnormal proteins and also be able to withstand stressors like free-radicals and oxidizing agents.

The process of removing debris from cells is known as Autophagy (cellular housecleaning)

The ability for cells to withstand injury from glucose deprivation, free radicals, chemotherapeutic agents, radiation is known as stress-resistance.

It is Autophagy and Stress resistance that keep cells healthy and therefore improve healthspan and lifespan.

Decreased cellular autophagy (as seen in oxidative stress) leads to the accumulation of abnormal cellular structures and proteins that potentially could harm cells for example, the accumulation of abnormal proteins in brain cells (neurons) leads to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease decreased autophagy promotes systemic inflammation and tumor development.

Improvement in cellular autophagy makes cells healthy, extends health-span and lifespan.

Unfortunately, Autophagy and Stress resistance decrease with age.

There are three known enzyme groups that modify Autophagy and Stress resistance these enzymes affect our health status and longevity.

  1. The mTOR system that inhibit Autophagy and Reduce stress resistance.
  2. The Sirtuins that promote Autophagy and Stress Resistance
  3. The AMPK system that promote Autophagy and Stress Resistance.

These three enzyme proteins are nutrient-sensors, and affect our metabolic health and Longevity.

  • mTOR, is stimulated by eating meals
  • Sirtuins are stimulated by fasting and stress on cells.
  • AMPK is stimulated by fasting and stress on cells.

1The mTOR Pathway: mTOR (Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin) is a group of enzymes that support cellular growth and the storage of energy as Fat and Glycogen, instead of ATP.

  • The Anti-longevity effect of mTOR:
  • mTOR inhibits cellular housecleaning (Autophagy)
  • mTOR promote cellular senescence.

Senescence cells are cells that have stopped producing nucleotides (DNA) and have lost their ability to divide and function correctlySenescent cells secret various proteins that promote Inflammation, and Tumor growthSenescent cells recruit neighboring cells to become senescent.

  • mTOR promotes systemic inflammation.
  • mTOR support tumor cell development
  • MTOR converts brown fat (the energy producing form of fat) to white fat (the storage form of fat) Brown fat helps the body to clear excess branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) by using BCAAs for energy.
  • mTOR activities lead to cellular malfunctions and rapid aging.

It has been shown that any activities that block mTOR actions, do make us healthier, thinner and prolong both our lifespan and our health-spans.

What promotes MTOR activity?
Food is the primary activator of mTOR activity.

There is the release of Hormones such as Insulin (after glucose ingestion) and Insulin-like growth factor-1 (after a high protein meal) which, promote mTOR activities ingestion of Animal protein, (especially those containing high-proportion of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like Methionine, Leucine Isoleucine and Valine) is associated with high blood levels of IGF-1 and Insulin.

IGF-1 and Insulin promote rapid aging.
It has been established that high blood glucose is the strongest factor associated with rapid agingLow blood glucose level is strongly associated with longevity.

Calorie restriction
Without eating there shall be no secretion of IGF-1 and Insulin.

Calorie restriction and Intermittent fasting block mTOR activities while feeding promotes mTOR activityCalorie restriction, in addition activates Sirtuins, promote Autophagy and keep cells healthy.

2.The SIRTUINS
The Sirtuins are a family of seven enzyme that require NAD+ (as a cofactor) for their enzymatic activitiesIn the absence of NAD+, Sirtuins cease to function.

The longevity promotion activity of the sirtuins include:

  • Improving stress resistance in cells and this protects cells from serious injuries
  • Repair of damaged DNA
  • Prevention of inflammation
  • Promoting Autophagy (by deacetylating the autophagic machinery)

Low levels of the Sirtuins have been associated with the following: Cellular SenescencePoor stress resistance, InflammationsHeart diseasesNeurodegenerationIncreased body fat and Diabetes

Question: What is NAD+?
Answer: Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) is a vitamin B3 derivative that serves as an important cofactor for many enzymes of the bodyNAD+ activate Sirtuin proteins.

  • NAD+ helps to protect DNA and helps with DNA synthesis and repair.
  • NAD+ helps cells to generates more Mitochondria and generate energy
  • NAD+ acts as co-factors for the Sirtuins.
  • NAD+ helps the body to burn fat as fuel
  • NAD+ protects neurons.

.
Question: What activities increase the levels of NAD+?

Answer

  1. High intensity training of any duration, up to 30 minutes 5 days a week is adequate.
  1. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting
  1. Consumption of plant-based diet or NAD+ precursors.

Ingestion of NAD+ precursors from plants help to replenish NAD+ in the body. Edible plants llke Edamame, Broccoli, Fermented and cooked corn, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Cocoa nibs have the NAD precursors that can be processed into NAD+ by the body.

3AMPK (The AMP-Kinase)
AMPK promotes longevity by
Promoting autophagy (cellular housekeeping)
preventing cellular senescence and thus blocks cancer development and inflammation

Converting fats and glycogen into energy (ATP) and blocking energy storage as fat and glycogen

Promoting mitochondria (cellular energy houses) production more mitochondria a cell has the younger they become.

And AMPK activity declines sharply with age.35 That is why we become less energetic and gain weight with age also become increasingly vulnerable to cancer and diseases associated with impaired DNA and protein function

AMPK acts as anti-inflammatory agentAtherosclerosis, Diabetes and other metabolic diseases result from inflammation and the AMPK helps to avoid these conditions.

By reducing inflammation throughout the body, AMPK promotes lifespan and healthspanAMPK prevents premature death from complications of aging such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

AMPK pathway is activated by the following:
High intensity training (generates more AMP)
Fasting and conditions that reduce cellular energy stores.

Polyphenols including Resveratrol, Catechins (as in cocoa products)

Biguanide medications for diabetes, including Metformin

ANTIAGING PATHWAYS
Conditions that induce cellular stress promote 1Autophagy, 2 Sirtuins, 3.NAD+ and 4AMPK activities to protect cells and cellular structures and thus enhance health-span and longevity.

Such conditions, recommended for adoption to promote longevity, include:

  • Intermittent starvation (fasting) and glucose deprivation
  • Consumption of Plant-based diets (low protein, low calorie).
  • Physical stress like High Intensity training/exercise (HIT).
  • Exposure to Cold temperatures to generate Brown fat, Brown fat is associated with high Sirtuins, NAD+ levels

Question: what are the advantages of calorie restriction?

Answer: CR inhibit mTOR enzymes, activate Sirtuins, and Promotes Autophagy.

Calorie restriction (CR) is the only effective way to extend lifespan and health-span without medications and genetic modifications.

Question: Why are plant proteins preferred to animal proteins?

Answer: branched chain amino acids (BCAA) abound in animal proteins: Meat, Fish, Eggs and PoultryBCAAs promote mTOR activities.

Plant have less proteins which is just about optimal for normal physiologyLess than adequate protein consumption engages the survival circuit inhibits mTOR and turns the cells resources towards repair mode, instead of storage mode.

Question: How does exposure to cold promote Longevity?

Answer: Exposure to cold generates Brown fat; it also promotes NAD+ activity

Brown fat helps the body to utilize the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to generate heat during cold exposureBCAAs promote Diabetes and obesity by removing BCAAs from the circulation, brown fat help to prevent Diabetes and Obesity and other metabolic diseases.

PRACTICAL POINTS
Question: What are the examples of high intensity Training/Exercises?

Answer: High intensity training (HIT) include Jump ropes or Skipping rape jogging Jumping jacks and Running up the stairsA 30-minutes each day of high intensity exercise is fine.

To achieve longevity, High Intensity Training is requiredIt is not how long you exercise that determines longevityIt is the exercise intensity that stimulate the longevity genes (Sirtuins, NAD+, AMPK) into action.

Exercise training above the public health recommendations provides additional benefits regarding disease protection and longevityEndurance exercise, including high-intensity training to improve cardiorespiratory fitness promotes longevity and slows down agingStrength training should be added to slow down loss of muscle mass, associated with aging and diseasehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30640736

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is the single best predictor of current and future health.

Higher level of total physical activity exceeding 10-12 METS is strongly associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke.https://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i3857

SKIPPING ROPE/JUMP ROPE- AS A high Intensity Exercise

Rope jumps/skipping Rope burns calories at about 12 METS.

A single jump burns 0.1 calorieJump roping burns as many calories in 30 minutes as running at a pace of 6 m.p.hSkipping ropes are accessible, and portable you only need a soft place to jump repeatedly.

Duration of skipping rope
For beginners, start with 10-minutes workout session per dayThe target is 3000 jumps or more, each day, 5 days/week, for the next 5-6 decades.

Studies indicate that Endurance exercise, including high-intensity training to improve cardiorespiratory fitness promotes longevity and slows down ageing those who jog regularly have longer telomeres than their cohort who do not.

STRENGTH TRAINING:
Strength training should be added to slow down the loss of muscle mass, associated with aging and diseases we can do the high Intensity Training only when we have adequate muscle power.

For strength training, a single set comprising 10-15 reps for each muscle groups, twice a week (at least 2 days apart) adequate.

SUMMARY. The youth promoting lifestyles are:
1. HIT >30 minutes 5 or more days each week 2. Calorie restriction or intermittent fasting 3. Replace animal protein with plant proteins 4. Create a habit of getting exposed intermittently to cold weather conditions just do it; you will be happy by the way, “Happy People generate healthy lifestyles.”

Alex Sarkodie MD
Alex Sarkodie MD, © 2019

Alex Sarkodie,MBChB has over 30 years experience in the field of Medicine Column Page: AlexSarkodie

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