Thursday, April 26, 2018

Super-Aging Theories


The passage of time is inevitable and eternal. Aging occurs throughout most of lifespan. Such a process is an accumulation of changes, which may be subtle or even drastic, that progressively lead to disease, degeneration, and, ultimately, death. Truly, you cannot die merely of old age; your ultimate demise is caused by advancing age itself, as well as by the diseases and degenerative conditions that accompany it.

Aging is difficult to define, but you will know it when you see it or experience it yourself. In brief, aging is a steady decline in health, which is instrumental in shortening lifespan; and the aging process is the duration during which such changes occur.

Scientists have come up with different theories explaining why and how you age.

The free radical theory of aging

This theory is based on the damage of cells due to cumulative free radicals, leading to disease and, ultimately, death.

Free radicals are molecules within the human cells. Due to regular oxidation (e.g. breathing), and other environmental factors (e.g. tobacco smoke), these molecules become damaged and unstable, and begin to affect other healthy cells close by, creating many more similar unstable free radicals, and thus initiating a chain reaction of cell damage by free radicals.

Damaged cells lead to disease and ultimate death.

This theory implies that antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, which reduce the formation of free radicals, not only slow down the aging process, but also prevent disease.

The genetic theory of aging

This theory is based on the pre-programming of human genes to induce aging and death—your Creator ensures that you will not be immortal. Therefore, aging is not the consequence of wear and tear over the years. The fact of the matter is that you are not meant to live forever.

Other than disease and other environmental factors, there is no great variation in the lifespan of humans, and this may partially explain the role of genes in aging.

The hormone theory of aging

This theory is based on the gradual changes in the human body due to the decline and degeneration of the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones to regulate many body functions and processes. Changes in the human hormone production, such as menopause, account for the changes responsible for aging.

There is no scientific evidence that hormone replacement will in fact increase human lifespan. So, think twice before you decide on a hormone replacement therapy.

The immunity theory of aging

This theory is based on the failure of the immune system to give adequate protection against contaminants, viruses, and stress, among other agents contributing to a weakened or compromised immune system.

This theory attests to the important role of the immune system in longevity health and overall wellness.

The rate of living theory of aging

This theory is based on the rate of breathing: faster oxygen metabolism leads to a shorter lifespan. In the animal kingdom, rodents, with the fastest heartbeats have the shortest lifespan, while tortoises with the slowest breaths live the longest.

This theory vindicates that breathing right is one of the key factors in longevity in humans. Learning to breathe right is critical to remaining younger and healthier for longer.

To sum up, the human aging process is best explained not by one single theory but by a combination of these  theories.

No matter how long you may live, learn the art of life and living and live as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


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