Aging is inevitable, but most of it is a symptom of damage and wear—problems that can be fixed.
What are the symptoms of aging? Thinning hair in men and women, wrinkling of the skin, brittle nails, and a reduction in quality for many of your body’s functions: aching joints, reduced circulation, waning eyesight, lack of energy, and slower healing.
The young don’t have these issues because their bodies are still working with a full deck of stem cells—when they fall, they bounce, and when they get hurt, they recover quickly. This is because they have more restorative cells than you do: the longer you live, the more you draw from your store of stem cells, and without action taken to replenish these cells, you keep more and more healable damage every day.
A 2013 Yale University study found that as we age our immune system produces higher levels of inflammation, and specifically that the immune sensor Nlrp3 triggers an increase in age related inflammation and results in a loss of bone density, insulin-resistance, and cognition. Another study from the same year found that levels of another inflammatory marker, IL-6, were inversely correlated with ‘healthy’ aging.
There are theories on all of this: free radicals in the environment contribute to aging, lower metabolism that slows down your intake of proteins and nutrients, and of course time takes its toll on your cells, degrades them—even your healing mechanisms can start to work against you! The rush of blood that used to quickly patch a cut, or warm and restore a sprain or a bruise, can turn to causing the pain and discomfort of arthritis, attacking healthy cells instead of invaders.
According to a study out of the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine, “Aging is a progressive degenerative process tightly integrated with inflammation.”
Yet another scientific paper points out: a progressive increase in proinflammatory status is a major characteristic of the aging process. They conclude that the beneficial effects of inflammation that serve one early in life and in adulthood become detrimental late in life.
Inflammation-associated diseases of aging are a considerable threat to life and well-being and are constantly being studied. Fortunately, the symptoms of aging can be treated.