If you’re like most people, the thought of growing old makes you uneasy. Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars in the hopes of delaying their physical and mental journey into old age. While the very causes and classification of aging are still debated by scientists, it does seem to be an unfortunate and universal truth.
Some scientists argue that aging is caused by the existence of free radicals whilst others claim that it should be viewed as a disease. Currently, there are no clear pathways to eternal life. Futurists promise immortality through stem cells, perpetual organ replacements, and even robot limbs.These solutions, and their ranging appeals, are far off if they are even possible in the first place.
There are, however, a number of promising means to slow down the aging process (or at least its outward physical symptoms).
Average lifespan vs. Maximum lifespan
The average lifespan of a population is lowered by things such as infant mortality rates, chronic diseases, and fatal accidents. An individual’s lifespan can most easily be extended by good nutrition, the avoidance of hazards, and the maintenance of healthy habits.
The question posed by anti-aging, however, is not how to increase the average lifespan but rather the maximum lifespan. For this, there are several theories and practices available.
Anti-Aging Methods and Solutions
One researched method that has proven successful in small organisms such as nematodes is calorie restrictions. Such nematodes that ingested baseline or close to baseline calorie levels were found to live significantly longer. Another diet that has found some scientific support is the Paleolithic diet. Often times, diets that seem to extend the human lifespan are contradictory, but perhaps there are different mechanisms of action for the same purpose.
The free-radical theory of aging proposes that we age because of the oxidation induced chain reactions in our tissues. Antioxidants, this theory claims, can help slow down or mitigate these free radicals thus extending our lifespan.
Beyond proper nutrition (which by its very nature and definition will extend your lifespan), certain specific supplements have been shown to extend the lifespan of mice. Such minerals include Zinc and Selenium. A good multivitamin will ensure adequate levels of certain necessary vitamins and minerals.
There are currently several hormone therapies on the market that purport anti-aging effects. These therapies are often largely unregulated and unproven. Some of these solutions include the use of growth hormone, whose effectiveness is based on animal studies rather than human ones.
Many of these hormone therapies have drawn criticism for being potentially dangerous or harmful if used improperly, and as such should not be undertaken without a proper understanding of their effects.
Currently, the majority of anti-aging research and solutions are in the cosmetic rather than medical fields. There are a number of creams, lotions, and other products that may indeed produce legitimate results.
As the industry moves over to the medical field, a number of advances will likely be made. There are a staggering amount of promising prospects on the horizon, and hopefully humanity will conquer aging after billions of years of bowing to it.