I am sure all of you have been negatively affected by inflammation of some sort over the years.
How Age Affects the Inflammatory Response.
Unfortunately, no single theory explains all aspects of the ageing process but hopefully the following will help.
Inflammation is a biological process that has received quite a bit of press in recent years and has been the subject of numerous different health trends, most popularly in the fields of diet and weight loss.
Inflammation is defined by the National Institute of Health as “a very complex response to an injury, infection, or other stimulus, in which many different cells types and secreted factors orchestrate protective immunity, tissue repair, and resolution of tissue damage.”
There is also a new trend of research and information that inflammation may have a key role in the aging process, with some thought-leaders surmising that inflammation is the primary cause of aging in human beings.
That may or may not be true, but we can certainly review the current information available to figure out if inflammation is something we should be aware of to help us age gracefully.
Most research has been done to understand the role of inflammation in the elderly, especially concerning degenerative diseases.
You can find some more information here: Fight Inflammation and Fight the Diseases of Aging
While we are still working to understand the overall role of chronic inflammation in the lifespan of the aging process from youth onward, there seems to be a fair amount of consensus that it plays a primary role in the accelerated aging process seen in the elderly.
A recent panel organized by National Institute of Health and National Geroscience Interest Group on aging stated that “It is now recognized that a mild pro-inflammatory state is correlated with the major degenerative diseases of the elderly.”
This asks the question of how does chronic inflammation start or how does it originate?
It is a hard question to articulate and requires a great deal of medical and scientific jargon to properly express, however a summary from a recent study in Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery expresses a good general outline, “Inflammatory process induces oxidative stress and reduces cellular antioxidant capacity.
Overproduced free radicals react with cell membrane fatty acids and proteins impairing their function permanently.”
What exactly does that mean?
Inflammation most simply put is the body’s response to an abnormal event in the body that it is attempting to repair. The most common or simple version might be a stubbed toe that swells, turns black or blue and eventually over time as healing occurs returns to normal.
That process is the body inflaming the hurt area to protect it or heal it.
Chronic inflammation is the case of internal inflammation over time that can lead to aging processes. As the research study stated, it induces stress and reduces certain capacities in the body, many of which are key to the aging process, in order to deal with other stresses within the body.
Being that we have a basic idea of the aging process and inflammations role in it, how do prevent inflammation from occurring? The jury is still out officially, although two different recent studies examined the role of caloric-restriction on the inflammation process.
Age Related Inflammation
Both studies, from the Ageing Research Reviews and Antioxidants and Redux Signaling respectively, examined the anti-inflammatory actions of aging-retarding caloric restriction and exercise.
It would seem that, while perhaps not a complete surprise, a poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle would increase inflammation and therefore the aging process.
This is just another good reason we all need to understand Why Strength Training is SO Important as You Start Aging.
In fact, the study from Antioxidants and Redux signaling found that “major chronic aging-related diseases such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, dementia, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases, are inflammation-related.”
It is certainly not a coincidence that most of these conditions are also symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices.
As a summary, it is fair to conclude that inflammation has a high correlation and may be a direct cause of many aging and degenerative conditions we face later on in life.
We also are safe to surmise that inflammation is a reactive process of our body to attempt to heal events that are not ideal for homeostasis, or events that place stress on the body.
In the case of inflammation, these events are molecular and result from the bad kind of stress, that stress that comes from poor diet choices and lack of exercise, which leads to inflamed cellular responses.
So to summarize all this in the simplest terms, inflammation increases the process of aging, and poor diet and lack of exercise increases inflammation; meaning……eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to help prevent the aging process!
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend…..like and share. Thanks.
References for further reading about inflammation:
The Role of Inflammation in age-related disease
Chronic Inflammation and Oxidative Stress as a Major Cause of Age – Related Diseases and Cancer
Molecular inflammation: Underpinnings of aging and age-related diseases
The Molecular Inflammatory Process in Aging.
Fiona Calvert says
So John what are your thoughts about a Keto lifestyle?
John Falkinder says
Hi Fiona……thanks for your question. I have not done a lot of research on the Ketogenic Diet but from what I do know I am not a big fan……mainly because I don’t feel it is sustainable, as is the case with most diets and I don’t know how safe being in a state of ketosis over the longer term is for your body – it appears that the jury is still out either way. If you are looking at it for the purposes of weight loss then I would be more likely to have a look at the 5:2 Diet. I have a number of friends in the 50 to 70 age group who have found it to be the easiest to stick to long term and they have been happy with the results. Check out this article I wrote about the 5@ Diet here: https://goo.gl/zusfhh.
Harvard also have a good article here – https://goo.gl/ZkDVsN and there are a selection of articles about Keto from the highly respected people at HealthLine here – https://goo.gl/WH3vSP.
Hope this helps – Cheers – John.
Fiona Calvert says
Thanks John. I like it because I like eating those types of foods. I will read the other articles though.
Thanks for your time and effort.