Many people give up on taking charge of their health because they mistakenly believe that their quality of life is a function mostly of their genes and out of their control. Nothing is farther from the truth. Genes at best account for about 30 percent of how we age. Our quality of life is by far a function of our lifestyle. However, the “bad genes” argument helps justify continuing an unhealthy lifestyle.
I believe strongly in the Metabolic Model of Aging. One of the most important statistics in our body is that we replace about 300 billion cells per day. If the new cell is more damaged than the cell it is replacing we begin to slowly “age” and begin the cycle of degenerative disease. Cell damage is not something we can easily see or feel. It just “sneaks up” on us until one day we see a symptom like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. These are diseases not normally associated with young people.
The two enemies of our cells are inflammation and oxidative stress. This is called catabolic activity. Both of these are created by the damaging effect of something called “free radicals”. To keep cell damage to a minimum, we need to reduce free radical damage. This can be done with better nutrition (more antioxidants), less stress, more exercise, no smoking, and some important herbs and supplements. This Metabolic balance between catabolic, damaging activity and anabolic repair activity is like a “see saw” in our body. When we are young, we have a high level of anabolic activity and lots of repair going on in our cells. As we age, more catabolic activity takes place and we begin the slide downward. If we know that this is how our bodies operate, we really need to increase anabolic activity, letting our bodies do what they naturally want to do to keep us healthy.
So, we are in control with our lifestyle choices. We can keep our cells healthy if we understand what damages them and what we can do to repair them. And, as I can attest personally, it is really not that hard. Once we know better, we can do better.
Till next time, stay healthy