Saturday, May 1, 2010


Though the quest for the fountain of youth is age old, it still seems to be quite elusive and seemingly inexplicable. There have been people that smoke and drink and eat fattening foods and live to 100. But, there are also people that eat healthy and exercise, have no vices, and only live to thirty.

Biological aging is believed by scientist to be cause by the breakdown of telomeres. Telomeres are pieces of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect the chromosomes. As cells divide over time, the telomeres get shorter, and thus less able to do their job.

There have recently been some discoveries on specific factors that may lead to increased life spans. On studies performed on some of the lucky people to live past 100, it was found that these people all contained high amounts of HDL. HDL is the good cholesterol, the kinds that helps rid the body of the bad cholesterol. A decrease in bad cholesterol leads to decreased risks of heart disease and diabetes. Such elevated levels of HDL is likely to be genetic.

Though many scientists argue that aging is an extremely complex process that involves a multitude of genes, some think that it might be much more simple. The sirtuin gene seems to do a pretty effective job on its own of impeding the aging process. When this gene is triggered, the body goes into a sort of survival mode, significantly increasing cell health. The question now seems to be how to trigger the gene. Risveritrol, the healthy chemical found in red whine, is thought to turn on the gene and lead to a healthier lifespan. Others suggest that the hunger caused by extreme dieting will throw the body into this survival mode.

There are also simple lifestyle choices (other than severe caloric restrictions) that may help slow the aging process. Avoid the following:



high cholesterol intake

drug use

sedentary lifestyle



Nova Staff. (2007, January 9). Aging. Retrieved May 1, 2010 from
Moisse, Katie. (2010, February 8). Researchers Identify Genetic Variant Linked To Faster
Biological Aging. Retrieved May 1, 2010 from
Park, Alice. (2010, February 11). How to Live 100 Years. Retrieved May 1, 2010from http://,28804,1963992_1933665,00.html

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