Tuesday, November 21, 2017 8:12

Aging Causes

Posted by on Monday, December 14, 2009, 15:12
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One of the major aging hypotheses, and the one to which I subcribe, is the “Oxidation and Free Radical Theory of Aging.” This theory argues that aging is the result of accumulated cellular damage caused by free radicals and oxidation. In other words, our mental and physical abilities are buried under piles of metabolic trash .

Oxidation is the reaction between oxygen and other substances in the body; it’s a naturally occurring event. Oxygen is only supposed to interact with certain substances in the body, such as red blood cells.

The problem arises when oxygen dailies with forbidden substances. If you leave a piece of uncovered metal in your backyard, it will rust. In a very loose sense, that’s what happens when oxygen reacts with the “forbidden” parts of the body, they become “rusty” and unable to function properly.

When too many parts of a cell “rust,” the cell weakens. And when too many cells “rust,” entire organs can falter. Naturally, the body has built-in antioxidants, such as SOD (superoxide dismutase), catalase and glutathione peroxidase, which are designed to “keep an eye on” oxygen, preventing promiscuous reactions that can damage the body. Unfortunately, in many cases the antioxidants are not strong enough to prevent the damaging oxidation reactions.

Oxidation damage accumulates with time, eventually crippling body cells and weakening entire organs and body systems. Free radicals are naturally occurring substances in the body, they are “unbalanced” molecules driven to balance themselves by exchanging electrons with other substances in the body. They can’t be unbalanced, they must interact with something immediately.

Free radicals don’t care if “forcing themselves” on an unwilling passerby destroys other molecules, damages DNA, injures the lining of the coronary artories, leaves a pile of “trash” behind or otherwise damages the body. All they know is that they want to be balanced right now.

Since the body does not have a central heating system, every cell must create it’s own energy. That process causes the formation of free radicals. In addition, inflammation due to chronic infection and other normal body processes can lead to the formation of free radicals. Outside sources, such as cigarette smoke, radiation, ultraviolet radiation rom the sun, thousands of chemicals in the environment, smog and oxygen (the major source of free radicals) contribute to our load of these unbalanced molecules.

The body has its own array of free radical quenchers to help prevent the unbalanced substances from damaging the body, but natural defenses are apparently not enough to entirely stamp them out. So free radical damage accumulates and the body slowly weakens. The way to slow down the aging process, therefore, is to help the body control oxidation and quench the free radicals before too much damage is done.

aging causes

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