It is a well-known fact that no two people age at the same speed. Some age faster and frequently experiences health issues. Others seem to live a relatively healthy and active life for long. Of course, genetics here play a role. However, lifestyle choices play a greater role in healthy aging.
Surely, at least with current scientific knowledge, one cannot stop aging or completely reverse it. However, one can significantly reverse metabolic aging. People can ensure healthy aging through certain lifestyle choices. Additionally, they can use supportive therapies and supplements to support their efforts.
Below are some well-known methods known to work and strategies that have been scientifically proven to slow down aging:
The Science of Aging: Understanding the Biological Process
It is not possible to prevent aging without developing its proper understanding. Though science still does not fully understand what causes aging, it knows that aging occurs for multiple reasons.
- Telomere shortening: Telomeres are protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that gradually shorten each time a cell divides. With aging, they become critically short, causing cell death. It is one of the critical factors causing aging and age-related decline in regenerative processes. Telomere shortening destabilizes the body.1 Healthy lifestyle choices are known to delay these changes and thus help prevent aging.
- DNA damage and mutations: This occurs due to many reasons, like environmental toxins, UV radiation, oxidative stress, impaired protein synthesis, and much more. DNA damage is one of the reasons for higher cancer risk in older adults. Certain nutrients can help prevent these issues, like NAD+ or antioxidants like glutathione.2
- Accumulation of senescent cells: These are body cells that have arrested growth. They no longer participate in regenerative processes. Aging is about change in the balance. In older adults, such cells become dominant. Lifestyle interventions and nutrition therapy can help counter this issue.3
- Mitochondrial dysfunction: These small organelles present in all body cells produce energy for regenerative processes. However, aging means a decline in mitochondrial function and reduced energy supply. Further, it means increasing oxidative stress.4
- Hormonal changes: Hormones are signaling molecules that control various body activities. However, with aging, levels of the most known hormones start declining. Thus, there is a decline in growth hormones, sex hormones, and much more. This ultimately causes a slowdown in metabolism and faster aging.5
One needs to understand that aging occurs due to a combination of factors. That is why anyone antiaging strategy will only help to certain limits. It means that one would need to combine multiple strategies for healthy aging. Below is a list of some such strategies known to help.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Key Nutrients for Aging Gracefully
There is a saying that you become what you eat. In the Western world, and even in large parts of the developing world, dietary imbalances and wrong food choices have become significant problems. In the US, the majority of adults are either obese or overweight, which is a result of dietary imbalances and wrong dietary choices. Obesity is also a kind of malnutrition syndrome, which is vital to understand.6
Obese people might have excessive energy intake, but they have insufficient intake of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytocompounds.6
It means that people in the developing world especially need to focus on micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Additionally, one needs to realize the importance of phytochemicals in good health. Science still does not have a complete understanding of various phytochemicals. Nevertheless, studies show that a higher intake of vegetables, fruits, and grains helps protect from aging, cancer, heart disease, and neurodegeneration.7
Here are the three most important dietary changes necessary for healthy aging:
- Cut down the intake of certain foods: like fast-processing carbs and saturated fats.
- Increase intake of specific nutrients: like vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
- Consider supplementing your diet: which means using vitamins, antioxidants, and others.
The Role of Exercise in Healthy Aging: Tips and Guidelines
Health experts are now calling a sedentary lifestyle a new kind of smoking. The problem with the modern lifestyle is that people are just not moving enough. The majority of people spend prolonged hours sitting in front of a monitor, devices, offices, and so on.8
It is vital to understand what experts are trying to say when comparing sitting with smoking. It does not mean that sitting is as dangerous as smoking. Health experts simply want to underline the importance of moving during the day. It means that engaging in exercise is vital, but staying active for the rest of the day is also important.
These days, keeping track of activity levels is relatively simple due to wearables like smartwatches. So, create a realistic target and then stick to it.
Exercise has numerous benefits and is among the most important things one can do to slow down aging. To slow down aging, include different kinds of physical activities.
Below are some tips:
- Exercise five times a week: Ideally, one should exercise for at least 30 minutes, but the target must be 45 minutes a day. Exercises like swimming or jogging are quite good for cardiorespiratory health.
- Include resistance training: it means training with weights or exercise machines. Walking, cycling, jogging, and similar activities are good. However, resistance training is essential to prevent muscle wasting and keeps bone strong. It also has many positive metabolic effects.
- Engage in various physical activities: it means variety in physical activities. To stay young, add variety to physical activities like swimming, jogging, rope jumping, sprinting, playing football, etc. Instead of just engaging in one type of activity, engage in multiple activities on different days.
Sleep and Aging: Unlocking the Power of Restorative Rest
Older people sleep less. There is a complex interplay between aging and sleep. Aging causes sleep issues, and sleep issues worsen health and accelerate aging. Thus, it’s a dual-sided relationship between sleep and aging, a kind of vicious cycle. Further, studies confirm the interrelationship between cognitive aging and sleep problems.9
What does it mean for healthy aging? It means that one must focus on improving sleep in every possible way. This would mean sleeping for a sufficient number of hours and focusing on sleep quality.
It is vital to understand that adults must sleep seven hours daily. However, meeting that target is not sufficient. With aging, there are significant changes in sleep architecture. There is an especially decline in deep sleep when the brain and body regenerate at a maximum speed.
Below are some sleeping habits followed by those who live longer:
- Sleep at a fixed time with no compromises; this helps maintain circadian rhythm and lowers stress.
- Lying in bed is not counted as sleeping: use wearables to monitor real-time spent sleeping. Avoid using gadgets or watching TV in bed.
- Take measures that help you fall asleep: This may include evening exercise, meditation, avoiding excess drinking, and improving sleep hygiene, like maintaining room temperature.
- Seek treatment for sleep issues: Remember that sleep disturbances are often a sign of certain health issues. Enhancing sleep quality can also help overcome physical health disorders.
Cognitive Health and Aging: Strategies for Maintaining Brain Function
Many people reduce engaging in mental activities with aging, which only worsens things. Boosting brain health is quite challenging but possible. Therefore, to boost mental abilities, keep learning new things or start practicing new hobbies.
It is also vital to understand that there is a direct relationship between physical health and brain health. After all, there is an old saying that “a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.” Physical exercise is one of the best ways to boost brain health and slow aging.
Another important way of boosting brain health is through nutrition therapy. There could be many ways of doing so. Some ways include increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B-complex, NAD+, antioxidants like glutathione, and more.10–12
Here it is vital to understand that when considering nutrition therapy, one would need to combine multiple nutrients. Various nutrients have different effects on brain health. For example, brain cells are mainly made of fatty acids, and thus the importance of omega-3. Vitamin B-complex boosts energy metabolism and connectivity of neurons. NAD+ is good for boosting the energy supply and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction. Glutathione helps prevent the death of brain cells due to oxidative stress.10–12
Managing Chronic Conditions: Lifestyle Approaches to Improve Quality of Life
Taking various measures is good. Nonetheless, one cannot expect disease-free life. However, one of the most significant reasons for faster aging is that people do not make sufficient efforts to manage chronic health issues.
After the 40s or 50s, most might have some health issues like hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, chronic fatigue disorder, high cholesterol levels, stress and anxiety, depression, and other health issues. Most of these issues kill slowly. However, they are well managed through medications and lifestyle interventions. Addressing such chronic health issues can add even a few decades to life.
Just look at statistics. In the US, only 26% of those living with diabetes are meeting their care goals.13 Similarly, only 24% diagnosed with hypertension have their blood pressure under control.14 Remember that these statistics are from a highly developed nation, the US. Things are even worse in developing nations.
It means that only one-fourth of people take sufficient care to manage their chronic ailments. Most of these chronic issues are silent killers. They significantly reduce lifespan, cause disability, and accelerate aging.
Moreover, it is worth understanding that managing these issues is not that challenging. Taking medications regularly is one of the ways to control these issues. However, lifestyle interventions like dietary measures and exercise are even more critical. Medical drugs can manage these issues; lifestyle interventions can even reverse these diseases.
One can gain even complete control over these health issues by combining lifestyle interventions with nutrition therapy, like IV therapy.
Social Connections and Aging: The Impact of Relationships on Well-being
As age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s have become some of the leading causes of disability among older adults, researchers are giving one question, what is the reason behind the rise of brain disorders?
To understand why brain health issues have become so common, health experts have started looking back. It is clear that human genetics have not changed much in the last few centuries. However, people’s lifestyle has changed completely.
Some of the changes that have occurred are environmental changes, dietary changes, reduced physical activity, and reduced social interactions. Humans are social animals. Traditionally, people have lived in large groups and families.
However, everything changed in the last hundred years or so. Therefore, reduced social interaction is one of the factors that cause brain disorders. Humans are a highly social species.
Regretfully, this is one area that researchers have been neglecting for years. However, now some researchers suggest that social interactions are one of the most vital functions of the brain. Hence, reduced social interaction has also contributed to brain disorders.15
Stress Management: Techniques to Reduce the Effects of Aging
Early humans were more under physical stress, and modern people were under mental pressure. Researchers now think that this constant stress is killing people, making them age faster. Therefore, for healthy aging, stress management is essential.
Humans are now primarily engaged in mental tasks. However, this also means significant mental stress. For many people, the brain is usually occupied with various thoughts.
There are many ways in which stress may cause brain aging. For example, mental stress increases cortisol levels. There is strong evidence from experimental studies that glucocorticoids like cortisol promote the death of brain cells.16
Another issue with constant stress is higher oxidative stress. The more a person uses the brain, the higher the oxidative stress. Although engaging in mental abilities is good for brain health, oxidative stress is bad.
There could be many ways or reducing stress. One can reduce stress through exercise, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and more. Additionally, one may consider supplements known to boost brain function and reduce oxidative stress like NAD+, glutathione, B-complex, and more.17
Taking care of hormonal health: Boosting their levels
When people age, levels of almost all hormones start declining. Thus, for example, women would experience menopause. Consequently, women may benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Similarly, males experience declines in testosterone levels.
However, these are just a couple of examples. Aging means a decline in most hormones, from growth hormone to thyroid and pituitary. Moreover, aging is not just about a decline in hormone levels. When people age, hormone receptors become less sensitive, causing abnormal function.18
There are many ways of normalizing hormones. One way is hormone replacement therapy. However, it is beneficial only in some instances. The better way to manage this issue is by boosting hormone production and improving hormone sensitivity through lifestyle interventions and supplements.
For example, exercise combined with vitamins, and amino acids, may help boost testosterone levels, growth hormone levels, and more.
The Importance of Preventive Care: Screening, restorative therapies
Lastly, but most importantly, focus on preventive care. There is a limit to what is possible to achieve through lifestyle interventions or even medications. The two most important things everyone must do are screening and opting for restorative therapies.
Screening is about identifying health issues early enough. That is why doctors carry out many screening tests. Older adults must focus on screening. They must undergo specific tests at least once a year. Early detection means timely treatment.
Next, one should focus on restorative therapies. It is regretful that despite so much progress in medicine, people are unaware of such therapies. These treatments can be life-changing. Thus, NAD+ IV therapy can be an excellent way to reverse aging and boost cellular energy production. Similarly, IV glutathione can almost instantly boost the body’s antioxidant capacity.
Of course, there are many options when it comes to restorative therapy, like opting for weight loss, hydration, boosting immunity, and many more.
Finally, do not forget that aging is a result of multiple factors. It means that combining all the mentioned strategies is essential for optimal benefits. For example, boosting the intake of micronutrients is a must; however, with aging body losses its ability to process nutrients. It means that oral supplements must be combined with IV therapy in such cases.
However, IV therapy will work better when combined with exercise, dietary measures, stress management, and sufficient sleep. There is no magic bullet against aging; combining multiple ways to fight aging can have an almost magical impact on health.
Science and lifestyle strategies can contribute to healthy aging by addressing key factors such as telomere shortening, DNA damage, accumulation of senescent cells, mitochondrial dysfunction, and hormonal changes.
A healthy diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants, regular exercise, quality sleep, cognitive engagement, and stress management are important lifestyle choices for promoting healthy aging. Managing chronic conditions, maintaining social connections, optimizing hormone levels, and embracing preventive care can also play a crucial role.
Additionally, considering supportive therapies and supplements like NAD+ and glutathione can further enhance the efforts toward healthy aging. By adopting these strategies, individuals can proactively work towards maintaining their well-being and slowing down the aging process.
- Shammas MA. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011;14(1):28-34. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834121b1
- Schumacher B, Pothof J, Vijg J, Hoeijmakers JHJ. The central role of DNA damage in the ageing process. Nature. 2021;592(7856):695-703. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03307-7
- Karin O, Alon U. Senescent cell accumulation mechanisms inferred from parabiosis. GeroScience. 2021;43(1):329-341. doi:10.1007/s11357-020-00286-x
- Srivastava S. The Mitochondrial Basis of Aging and Age-Related Disorders. Genes (Basel). 2017;8(12):398. doi:10.3390/genes8120398
- Pataky MW, Young WF, Nair KS. Hormonal and Metabolic Changes of Aging and the Influence of Lifestyle Modifications. Mayo Clin Proc. 2021;96(3):788-814. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.07.033
- Kobylińska M, Antosik K, Decyk A, Kurowska K. Malnutrition in Obesity: Is It Possible? Obes Facts. 2021;15(1):19-25. doi:10.1159/000519503
- Probst YC, Guan VX, Kent K. Dietary phytochemical intake from foods and health outcomes: a systematic review protocol and preliminary scoping. BMJ Open. 2017;7(2):e013337. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013337
- Services D of H& H. The dangers of sitting: why sitting is the new smoking. Accessed June 24, 2023. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting
- Muehlroth BE, Werkle-Bergner M. Understanding the interplay of sleep and aging: Methodological challenges. Psychophysiology. 2020;57(3):e13523. doi:10.1111/psyp.13523
- Zhao Y, Zhang J, Zheng Y, et al. NAD+ improves cognitive function and reduces neuroinflammation by ameliorating mitochondrial damage and decreasing ROS production in chronic cerebral hypoperfusion models through Sirt1/PGC-1α pathway. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2021;18(1):207. doi:10.1186/s12974-021-02250-8
- Dighriri IM, Alsubaie AM, Hakami FM, et al. Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: A Systematic Review. Cureus. 14(10):e30091. doi:10.7759/cureus.30091
- Iskusnykh IY, Zakharova AA, Pathak D. Glutathione in Brain Disorders and Aging. Molecules. 2022;27(1):324. doi:10.3390/molecules27010324
- Only 1 in 4 Adults with Diagnosed Diabetes Achieve Combined Diabetes Care Goals | Diabetes | CDC. Published January 20, 2023. Accessed June 24, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/research/reports/diabetes-abcs.html
- Facts About Hypertension | cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published May 15, 2023. Accessed June 24, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
- Hari R, Henriksson L, Malinen S, Parkkonen L. Centrality of Social Interaction in Human Brain Function. Neuron. 2015;88(1):181-193. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.022
- Porter N, Landfield PW. Stress hormones and brain aging: adding injury to insult? Nat Neurosci. 1998;1(1):3-4. doi:10.1038/196
- Floyd RA, Hensley K. Oxidative stress in brain aging: Implications for therapeutics of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurobiology of Aging. 2002;23(5):795-807. doi:10.1016/S0197-4580(02)00019-2
- Sansone A, Romanelli F. Chapter 11 – Hormones in aging. In: Caruso C, Candore G, eds. Human Aging. Academic Press; 2021:207-217. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-822569-1.00007-X