CELLS and AGING
Life. A word with many meanings, indeed. For the purposes of this article, life is a chemical process that occurs in cells. Our bodies are made of cells. Cells are individual living things. The smallest animal (the amoeba) is a single cell.
Our cells can not survive alone. The cells in our bodies are of many types. Our cells are specialized; tailored to perform the tasks necessary to support life in the human organism.
At an early point in our lives we have a full complement of cells. Each cell lives until it ages then it produces a new copy of itself, just before it dies. In this manner our bodies are renewed, as we live.
Cell replication is not perfect, or perpetual. There is a limit to the number of times a cell can produce a copy of itself. Each cell in the progression is not quite as good as it's parent.
Eventually, cells are no longer able to replicate. Most of these cells simply die, leaving us without a cell and lacking the function that cell performed. Old age is, at least in part, the result of cell death.
Senescent cells are cells that lose the ability to replicate and destroy themselves, remaining metabolically active. These old, worn-out cells cause trouble in several ways, some of which are the subject of current research. Suffice to say they are bad news.
On the near horizon of the anti-aging scene is a peptide called FOXO4-DRI, which is said to be able to rid our bodies of senescent cells...
Within most cells the mitochondria create the energy the cell consumes, in order to live. Mitochondria are involved in other tasks such as signaling, cellular differentiation, and cell death, as well as maintaining control of the cell cycle and cell growth.
Old age has been related to the inability of the aged mitochondria in a person's cells to produce energy. The outer membrane of aged mitochondria is said to have lost some of its ability to allow fats to pass through it, rendering the mitochondrion able to convert only sugars into cellular energy.
Many of the viable anti-aging supplements are said to improve and/or regenerate the abilities of aging mitochondria to convert foods into energy the cell can use, in order to live.
Deoxyribonucleic acid - the blueprint of life, as we know it. Imagine a very long ladder that has been twisted, so that the sides form a spiral. The rungs on this ladder have two parts (a base pair) that can be one of four substances.
A telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome. Telomeres protect the ends of the chromosome from deterioration or fusion, with neighboring chromosomes.
Telomeres become shorter, with each replication of a cell. Telomeres that have been shortened beyond a certain limit are thought to be the reason cells die without replicating, or become senescent.
Some supplements (resveratrol, telomerase) work by repairing and regenerating the telomeres in our cells. The result is said to be the extension of the reproductive period of healthy cells and rejuvenation or death of senescent cells, both of which are beneficial.
Oxygen "gets loose" within our cells. Oxygen is a lonesome atom - it will combine with almost anything, rather than to be alone! When oxygen combines with something inside a cell damage is done by changing whatever it was, before oxygen combined with it.
Antioxidants work by preventing or minimizing the harmful combination of "free radicals" (electrons from oxygen atoms) inside our cells and maybe reparing the damage done.