Why do humans age? This question has perplexed scientists for decades. What can we do to reverse some of the effects of aging? Though we are not currently aware of a complete reversal for aging and its effects, certain proactive measures can drastically improve your quality of life and decrease your risk for early mortality.
1. Low Blood Sugar: The currently accepted theory of aging says that on a cellular level, aging is an accumulation of damage such as oxidative stress. Longer-lived organisms maintain and repair their cells more, accumulating damage slower and thus aging slower.1 So how does low blood sugar slow down aging? Metabolizing energy of consumed
foods produces reactive oxygen species,
which damages cells.2
Therefore, increasing your blood sugar by eating large amounts of food can contribute to aging. At Phoenix Men’s Health Center, we do not recommend extreme calorie restriction but rather a consistent portion control method to regulate your blood sugar levels.
2. Exercise: Not surprisingly, regular exercise is associated with living longer.3 Something as easy as incorporating more walking during your day can prolong your lifespan! Other benefits include antidepressant effects, cardiovascular health improvement, muscle gain, improvement of diabetic symptoms, etc.4 It may be easy to say “exercise takes too much effort and I’d rather be on a fad-diet or take a pill.” However, exercise is consistently proven to be extremely effective, has no side effects, can be free to very cheap. Unfortunately, no marketing engine advocates exercise as they do “miracle diet pills.”
3. Sleep: A study in Okinawa, Japan (prefecture with the longest average lifespan in Japan) reveals that
quality sleep is essential to longevity.5
Sleep slows down the aging process and restores hormone levels. In addition, melatonin (hormone that regulates sleep and peaks during sleep) is a powerful antioxidant that can lower your cancer risk!6 If you are waking up unrested, waking up multiple times during the night, having a hard time falling asleep, sleepy during the day, sleeping less than 6-7 hours a night, these can all be indicators that your sleep quality needs improvement. You may also have a condition affecting your sleep, such as sleep apnea or bruxism (grinding your teeth), which can be easily diagnosed with a sleep study. Quality sleep is the easiest way to start your anti-aging journey!
4. Relationship Status: Do married people live longer than single people? The simple answer says yes. Marriage also lowers blood pressure, reduces risk for depression, and increases general well-being and life satisfaction.7 However, the quality of the marriage matters. Married individuals who self-report low satisfaction in their relationship don’t exhibit the same benefits as couples happily married.8 Of course, committed happy long-term relationships could be expected to have similar benefits by offering social support, mental insurance, and shared resources.9
5. Reduced Stress: Effects of prolonged stress on the body can be detrimental. Stress releases cortisol and suppresses the immune system, lowering your body’s natural defense systems. It can increase your risk for diabetes, hypertension, arterial disease, encourage weight gain, and negatively impact your memory.10 Stress especially affects gastrointestinal (GI) tract as high, prolonged stress can be related to gastroesophageal reflux disease, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel disease, inflammation and breakdown of the GI tract.11 To pack the last punch,
stress can damage your skin cells and hair follicles.12
All these methods may sound cliché, but it’s always easier said than done. At Phoenix Men’s Health Center, we review the whole, integrative picture of your health to come up with a customized plan for your anti-aging journey. We also offer constant support, supplements to naturally boost your energy, and nutritional counseling. Make an appointment today by calling 602-908-5422 or clicking here. Keep an eye out for our next article, where we’ll explore 5 medically assisted methods for anti-aging, all of which we offer at Phoenix Men’s Health Center.
- Kirkwood, T. “Understanding the odd science of aging.” Cell120.4 (2005): 437-447.
- Heilbronn, L., de Jonge, L., Frisard, M… & Greenway, F. L. (2006). Effect of 6-month calorie restriction on biomarkers of longevity, metabolic adaptation, and oxidative stress in overweight individuals: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 295(13), 1539-1548.
- Lee, I., & Paffenbarger, R. (2000). Associations of light, moderate, and vigorous intensity physical activity with longevity The Harvard Alumni Health Study. American journal of epidemiology, 151(3), 293-299.
- Fletcher, G., Blair, S., Blumenthal, J… & Piña, I. (1992). Statement on exercise: benefits and recommendations for physical activity programs for all Americans-a statement for health professionals by the Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association. Circulation, 86(1), 340.
- Taira, K., Tanaka, H., Arakawa, M., Nagahama, N., Uza, M., & Shirakawa, S. (2002). Sleep health and lifestyle of elderly people in Ogimi, a village of longevity. Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 56(3), 243-244.
- Jung, B., & Ahmad, N. (2006). Melatonin in cancer management: progress and promise. Cancer Research, 66(20), 9789-9793.
- Johnson, N., Backlund, E., Sorlie, P., & Loveless, C. (2000). Marital status and mortality: the national longitudinal mortality study. Annals of epidemiology, 10(4), 224-238.
- Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., & Jones, B. Q. (2008). Is there something unique about marriage? The relative impact of marital status, relationship quality, and network social support on ambulatory blood pressure and mental health. Annals of behavioral medicine, 35(2), 239-244.
- Waite, L. (1995). Does marriage matter? Demography, 32(4), 483-507.
- Lupien, S., de Leon, M., De Santi, S… & Meaney, M. J. (1998). Cortisol levels during human aging predict hippocampal atrophy and memory deficits. Nature neuroscience, 1(1), 69-73.
- Bhatia, V., & Tandon, R. K. (2005). Stress and the gastrointestinal tract. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 20(3), 332-339.
- Arck, P., Slominski, A., Theoharides, T., Peters, E., & Paus, R. (2006). Neuroimmunology of stress: skin takes center stage. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 126(8), 1697-1704.