October 3, 2019
March 18, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Intermittent Fasting
Is there a way to slow aging without having to go under the knife –or buy face creams that cost as much as your kid’s tuition?
The answer is (thankfully) yes!
But first, we need to know why the aging process happens.
Currently, the most widely accepted theory of aging is the free radical theory. Free radicals are oxygen-rich, unstable molecules that are produced by oxidation.
It’s a process that happens naturally as your body works, and they’re usually neutralized by antioxidants. Antioxidants also fight off pathogens.
But sometimes, there are too many free radicals in the body. This happens when you’re exposed to cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants, radiation, ozone, stress, constipation, and inflammation.
Your natural levels of antioxidants can’t keep up with all those free radicals. As free radicals are highly reactive, they start bonding with loads of your bodies cells, causing damage.
They break apart healthy tissues causing wrinkles, blocked arteries, and impaired memory.
While the body produces enzymes to guard against free radical damage, antioxidant nutrients provide a mighty secondary defense system. Antioxidants have long been known as our best defenses against the aging process.
But it’s not the only reason why it happens…
Researchers at Harvard have recently found that it may actually have something to do with your mitochondria…
What are the mitochondria?
If you’ve read any sort of biology textbook at school, you’ll probably remember the phrase ‘the powerhouse of the cell.’ The mitochondria are the energy-producing structures in our cells that change their shape in response to energy demand.
However, the clever people at Harvard found out that their capacity to do so declines with age, and this affects the amount of energy our body consumes, which brings about the aging of the cells. That’s why you feel more lethargic as you get older!
However certain triggers allow the mitochondria to remain in a ‘youthful’ state, which can increase the lifespan of cells.
Here’s how intermittent fasting may be the fountain of youth
It turns out, intermittent fasting (IF) is one of those triggers. In tests on worms, calorie restriction actually increased longevity because it kept mitochondria in the ‘youthful’ state.
When mitochondria are in this youthful state, they can better communicate with other parts of your cells which are critical to maintain your bodily functions.
As William Mair, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study says, “If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”
In other words, one of the ways IF increases longevity is through this mitochondrial phenomenon.
We don’t exactly know why this happens, but, then again, science is never conclusive. The important thing is that it does!
Thanks to the fasting windows, IF is one of the best ways to control your calories.
When the mitochondria are in this youthful state, organisms tend to live longer. So you can see how IF, a form of calorie restriction, has benefits that go beyond mere weight loss.
And let’s not forget how the health benefits of IF stack up over time. It’s a great technique to reduce the overall levels of inflammation in your body and reduce oxidative stress.
Over the course of a year, how low do you think your inflammation levels would be compared to the ‘standard’ way of eating?
In an ideal world, we would change our environment to reduce inflammation from things like air pollution and second-hand smoke. But this isn’t always possible.
Instead, we can change what we can control, and make sure the way we eat helps to slow down the aging process.
Intermittent fasting is even better for your body than we thought. It not only allows your body to burn extra-stored fat, but it also keeps you healthier and slows down the aging process. It reduces the levels of inflammation in your body, and has a peculiar connection with your cells.
So it’s actually good to feel hungry now and then. In fact, feeling full all of the time only makes your body grow older and lose its ability to maintain its youthful state.