How do we age?

When we hear the words “anti-ageing” most of us think about the outside of our body—the part of us that other people see.

We want to look good for our age; to have beautiful, unblemished taut skin and a youthful glow.

But have you ever considered that ageing occurs from the inside out?

When you focus solely on topical creams, serums, lotions and potions you miss an entire (and rather important) piece of the anti-ageing picture. So what if you could prevent rapid and premature ageing, including the degeneration that may not be visible on the outside, simply by taking excellent care of your body?

Ageing is inevitable, yet how we transition through the years can differ drastically from person to person. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what causes ageing in the first place.

Oxidative stress

This major cause of ageing is the damage to DNA, proteins and lipids (fatty substances) caused by oxidants, which are highly reactive substances. Free radicals are produced normally when we breathe, and also result from inflammation, infection, and the use of or exposure to cigarettes and other pollutants. It would be remiss of me not to mention that stress and rushing speeds up our breathing rate, which increases the amount of free radicals we produce.

Telomeres

Inside the centre or nucleus of a cell, our genes are located on twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect our genetic data, making it possible for cells to divide. Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces because they prevent chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other, which would scramble our genetic information and possibly lead to disease or death. Telomeres are in place to prevent this. Yet, each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide and it becomes inactive or dies. As we get older, our telomeres shorten. This is a natural process but it can be sped up by poor lifestyle choices. Accelerated telomere shortening has been associated with an earlier onset of age-related health problems and may impact lifespan.

Glycation

Another factor in ageing is glycation. This occurs when glucose (sugar) binds to some of our DNA, proteins and lipids, leaving them unable to do their jobs. If we have a diet high in processed foods, the problem becomes worse as we get older, since the cumulative sugar intake for most just keeps growing. This can cause cells and tissues to malfunction, resulting in ageing, or in some cases, disease.

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