Human Biological Age: Checking and Optimization
For us, the age is a figure that we put on the cake on our birthday. Nevertheless, it is not quite important to our body: it has an individual calculation. This time is called a biological age of the body.
Surely, we still cannot stop the aging process. At the same time, changing the lifestyle, we will probably be able to hold over it for a while.
The article* reveals what the biological age means, how it differs from the chronological one, and whether it is possible to slow down the aging process using certain knowledge.
* The article is based on the study by the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas West Hospital (USA).
Aging is a process whereby the body shifts from the constructive condition (anabolism) to the destructive one (catabolism). Anabolism is the refilling of body systems with new and more solid tissues, while catabolism is the destruction of body physiological systems. Physiological functions reach a peak of their development at the age of 20-30 years, which is followed by the sharp decline (up to 40 years of old).
People get old at different speeds because of genetic factors and environmental aspects such as diet, physical exercises, stress, smoking, alcohol, as well as various diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and diabetes.
Regardless of the speed, each body faces the following:
- the brain shrinks up, resulting in the loss of cognitive function, focus, and memory;
- decline of hearing and vision;
- the skin loses collagen and starts wrinkling, becoming thin, heals slower, and damages easier;
- sense of smell and taste is weaker;
- kidneys decrease in size, become less productive, while the urinary bladder losses its flexibility and capacity, leading to urinary incontinence;
- increasing probability of heart attacks and cardiac insufficiency;
- lungs lose flexibility, and the breathing capacity reduces by more than 20%;
- the pancreas produces less insulin, and diabetes can occur more often.
Besides, the male body begins to release less testosterone starting at the age of 30, while women face the decrease in the level of progesterone and estrogen after menopause (at the age of 40-50).
How to determine your biological age
While the chronological age is a current year minus your birth year, the biological age is a unique biological aging indicator of each person. The most accurate way to define the biological age is the telomere test.
Telomeres at the end of our chromosomes identify current biological properties of the body and their correlation with the rate of aging. The test can be done in common hospitals: many of them offer such services today.
How to slow down aging process
There are certain actions and products allowing to decelerate body aging. Given below are several tips by the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas West Hospital.
- Follow healthy eating
You should consume 10 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables per day (6 greens and 4 pieces of fruit of different colors, especially various dark berries and grapes). It is necessary to cut down the amount of refined carbohydrates and products containing the high glycemic load and to increase the number of complex carbohydrates and cellulose. Avoid coffein and all carbonated drinks, even diet ones. Eat less fast food products.
The research reveals that the 30-40% calorie restriction allows to increase the lifespan of primates and rodents by 40%+. Well, the calorie restriction during the reduced energy consumption causes the optimization of metabolism and can change whole genetic programs.
- Get rid of harmful habits
It sounds obvious, but still: to live healthier and longer, you should limit the consummation of alcohol and smoking. By the way, it is referred to both passive and active smoking.
- Go for sports
Another efficient method of supporting health is fasting within 12 hours after 5 p.m. from 3 to 4 days per week combined with aerobic training. It enhances the production of growth hormone, improves the level of male and female sex hormones, decreases the rate of insulin and cortisone, as well as can transform the aging gene modification caused by superfluous calories.
Trainings consisting of aerobics, strength building, back limber and equilibrium exercises should be conducted at least one hour per day four times per week. Aerobics exercises should be interval: 60% of maximum frequency of heartbeats within approximately 30 seconds and then 90 seconds. These exercises should take 20 minutes. As the condition of the cardiovascular system becomes better, you can increase the time of training.
Exercises with weights (strength building) can last 40 minutes and should cover various sets of muscles. At the same time, trainings should not necessarily be continuous: they can be divided into 15- or 30-minute intervals with breaks.
Remember that the body composition (fat, bones, muscles, minerals, and water in the body) is also crucial. The body composition can be diagnosed in the hospital using calipometry, underwater weighing, isotope dilution technique, bioimpedance analysis (BIA), and other methods. Men’s body fat percentage should be less than 18%; women’s fat percentage should be less than 22%.
- Consume the sufficient amount of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals
Currently, there is no exact evidence that certain nutraceuticals, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals expand the human longevity. Their correct consumption has shown positive results during animal clinical investigations.
One can distinguish the following useful vitamins and additives for human body:
- Rlipoic acid;
- phosphatidyl serine;
- grape seed extract;
- vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, zink, lycopene, lutein, K2 MK7, omega-3 fatty acids.
However, their consumption should be based on specialist’s advice after thorough body analyses. The oversupply of some vitamins (e.g. B vitamins) can lead to allergic responses or even deterioration.