Biological aging is clearly an important risk factor for many of our most common chronic degenerative conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. So much so that these maladies are often described as “age-related diseases.”
One of the most important contributors to disease processes associated with biological aging is something called “cellular senescence.” This term essentially refers to aging at a cellular level with loss of function and even the ability to divide. There may be an upside to a cell losing its ability to replicate when we consider cancer. On the other hand, when considering immunity for example, we depend on a constant repopulation of functioning cells in order to optimize the ability of our immune systems.
There is an active process within our bodies whereby we are able to identify and rid ourselves of older cells that have lost their function. These have been termed “senescent cells,” and a growing body of science reveals that eliminating these senescent cells may prove to be helpful with many of these so-called age-related diseases and perhaps may impact the whole notion of biological aging as well.
There are a variety of natural products that function as “senolytics,” meaning that they have the ability to aid the body in ridding itself of senescent cells. When this occurs, our bodies naturally repopulate themselves with younger, more functional cells which, in a sense, turn back the hands of time, at least as it relates to this important parameter of biological aging. Some of the important candidates being studied right now include flavonoid compounds like quercetin, curcumin, luteolin, and fisetin.
Another important area of research focuses on preserving youthfulness and vitality at a cellular level. One intervention that seems to preserve cellular functionality is caloric restriction. Indeed, much research demonstrates in a variety of animal models how effective caloric restriction is not only at a cellular level but also in terms of life extension for the animal itself. And it is this area of research that underlies the popularity of so-called “intermittent fasting” as a way to enhance immunity and possibly even extend lifespan.
Moving forward, we should certainly expect to see significant expansion in research that focuses on both how our cells preserve their function as well as how our bodies rid themselves of cells once they come become senescent. The obvious extension of this research will likely be improvement of our health spans and possibly even of our lifespans.
Today’s interview is with Dr. Jeffrey Bland. Dr. Bland, founder and president of Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute, is a leading authority on the topic of senotherapeutics and I am certain you will find his information interesting, useful, and thought-provoking.