Published on October 31st, 2021 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
The Cellular Stages of Aging
Inside our cells are chemical cycles, enzymatic processes, electron transport mechanisms, nutrient exchange, utilization of sugars, conversion into ATP molecules and then the slow breakdown of waste and decay. And that’s only the beginning.
There are 11 different systems that collectively make up the human body; within those systems are numerous different organs, each made up of cells. All 37 trillion cells in our body need to make energy to perform all those above tasks. This is why when a person suffers from systemic health concerns—whether digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, etc.—the problem needs to be diagnosed as an “energy” problem, at the cellular level.
It’s our mitochondria that are the energy-producing organelles inside our bodies, and this is where medical research and science is now turning its investigation. When our mitochondria become weakened and die off early, that’s what is called “premature” aging—it is the loss of mitochondria. Think of it like the advancing stages, or aging, of a banana, from being under ripe through to becoming overripe. From the time the banana is underripe and green to the point where it turns yellow, it has the lowest amount of sugar and the highest amount of fiber, antioxidants and prebiotics—these are the stages when the banana’s mitochondria are strong and healthy.
But once a banana starts reaching the stage where it develops brown spots and then becomes dark and overripe, the vitamin and fiber content becomes depleted and the sugar content goes up—in these stages, the banana’s mitochondria have degenerated and are dying. These last two stages reflect the standard American diet, which is high in sugar and low in fiber; this demonstrates how such a diet ages people prematurely as we accumulate more damaged mitochondria and oxidative stress is advanced far beyond our years.
Even though we can’t prevent aging and we naturally lose mitochondria for an average decade of life, we can prevent premature loss of mitochondria and actually build it with the right activations and stimulation through lifestyle changes. This is where the concept of chronological age (actual age in years) versus biological age (the speed at which cells are aging) comes in. It’s rare that these two ages are equal—a person whose chronological age is in their 30s can have cells that are at a biological age of over 60. This is determined through the testing of cardiac output, which reveals arterial health and elasticity.
Proactive lifestyle changes and nutritional interventions can reverse this problem. There is testing that can be run that will give us insight into how healthy the cells are. These advanced markers indicate where to take action and how to better support the mitochondria. Lowering the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates in the diet to prevent further premature aging, called oxidative stress, while increasing the amount of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants can support whole body health, thereby lowering the biological age of cells.
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