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Anti-Aging: I Will NOT Starve Myself!

This is Part 3 of my series on aging and oxidative stress. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, please check them out.

I’ve never been a fan of calorie restriction. Just the thought of it makes me ravenous and irritable. I like to eat! However according to science, my exuberance for forage comes with a hefty price.

Food is my best friend. Aging is my worst enemy. Research shows that we can’t have one without the other. Studies on various animals and fungi have consistently demonstrated the benefits of caloric restriction on the aging process. Thus the conundrum:

Feed my belly and shorten my life? Or live longer and just learn to deal with the hunger pangs? Hmm…

All food must be metabolized. It is the process of metabolism (the conversion of food to energy) that produces pro-aging molecules called free radicals. More food. More metabolism. More free radicals. More aging. Ugh!

As much as I’d like to meet my great-grandchildren, a 1200-calorie diet doesn’t sound so appealing. Sorry, kids.

In fact, I have the double whammy, a love for eating and intense exercise. Yes, exercise is good for us. However it also increases the metabolism, which generates more free radicals! It’s not fair.

Research on endurance athletes shows that they have a higher incidence of free radical diseases such as heart disease, neurological disorders, and cancer. My own clinical experience has confirmed this finding as every single athlete I have worked with has had sky high lipid peroxides, a marker for free radical damage. Of course this doesn’t mean that we should stop exercising. But if you’re a triathlete, marathoner, cyclist, or even a Crossfitter, you should keep an eye on your lipid peroxides. Endurance athletes should also work just as hard topping off their antioxidants as they do their glycogen stores.

Free radical damage goes far beyond diet and exercise. Additional free radical instigators include:

Inflammation: As an appropriate response to infections, injuries, and burns, the body increases its metabolism thus increasing free radical production. Smoldering infections are very common, lingering around outside of conscious awareness and accumulating cellular damage.

Stress: Stress comes in many forms, but mental/emotional stress may result in free radical damage to the brain’s vital neurochemicals (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine). To make matters worse, stress also breaks down the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory. The result may be neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Environmental Toxins: Toxins such as aluminum, mercury, lead, and cadmium trigger free radical production in the brain. Pesticides, herbicides, food additives, and recreational drugs also contribute.

Radiation: While the sun is not as evil as it made out to be, excessive sun exposure can deplete the skin’s antioxidant supply. The sun’s rays penetrate the skin, interacting with the skin cells to produce free radicals. Without sufficient antioxidant protection, skin damage and various cancers may result. As a general rule, tan but don’t burn.

X-rays: It is ironic that women over the age of 40 are encouraged to have yearly mammograms as a preventive measure, but each x-ray exposure increases her free radical production and cancer risk! Free radicals from x-rays may damage DNA, creating the conditions for cancer. Though a single exposure is minor in nature, the effect is cumulative. It is important that anyone exposed to radiation supplement with antioxidants to increase their defense against oxidative stress and its associated diseases.

Low Magnesium: Most people are deficient in many nutrients, however a deficiency in magnesium doubles the number of free radicals in the body, making them twice as dangerous. Magnesium works within the cells. Therefore a blood test will not indicate accurate levels. Be sure to request a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test from your doctor or practitioner.

We’re all doomed! In a world of overeating, inflamed, stressed out, toxin-exposed people who love to play in the sun, request x-rays for minor injuries, and train for marathons while fueled by low magnesium diets, it’s no wonder life expectancy is declining.

Tell my great-grandkids I love them.

((sniffle))

The chips are stacked against me, but I am still committed to aging gracefully. Lab testing is available to track down infections and inflammation. My mental/emotional stress load is up to no one but me. I can reduce my toxic load by using quality natural products, drinking clean water, and consuming whole foods from properly-raised animals and organic fields. I can avoid excess sun and radiation exposure. And I can keep my magnesium levels up by consuming nuts, leafy greens, and tolerable grains.

But I refuse to starve myself! Those lab rats may have lived longer on less food, but I’m sure they were miserable.

This is war. When free radicals attack, we have to fight back. In addition to lifestyle modifications, maximizing our antioxidant defenses is the most powerful weapon in the ongoing battle against oxidative stress. But is it as easy as supplementing with vitamins, eating our fruits and vegetables, and drinking our gogi berry juice? Not a chance.

Tune in next time.

Sean Croxton
Owner, Underground Wellness
sean@undergroundwellness.com
www.undergroundwellness.com

Comments

comments

12 thoughts on “Anti-Aging: I Will NOT Starve Myself!

  1. Rebecca

    Great stuff, Sean. I agree with you–calorie deprivation so isn’t worth it!
    There are so many other great ways to boost our health while eating lots of delicious, healthy foods. :)

  2. skj

    http://www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/176-adventures-in-macro-nutrient-land.html

    ” A primary cause of aging is free radical damage.18 Therefore the equation for a longer life would include minimizing exposure to vegetable oils (the primary source of free radicals) and maximizing intake of protective nutrients such as vitamins A and D (found exclusively in animal fats), vitamin E (found in butter, egg yolks and olive oil), vitamin C and key trace minerals like calcium, selenium and zinc. Digestion becomes more difficult as we age so it is important for the elderly to consume foods prepared in such a way as to maximize assimilation. Raw dairy products, bone broths and soups based on broth, and lacto-fermented foods are important elements in a diet for those would-be centenarians …”

  3. Amber

    Great blog. I find myself hating the word anti-aging though. Unfortunately anti-aging doesn’t really exist. Sure we can slow it down a bit but unless we can stop time, aging will surely take place. Perhaps it should be called healthy aging instead of anti-aging lol Keep up the good work Sean :)

  4. Marty

    ‘Just chanced on your post (I listened to your web radio interview with the author of Paleo Solution). I’ve been following the Calorie Restriction people for about 10 years now and I have worked to keep my calories down (although I am not a full-on CR participant). At any rate – so many people totally blow out of portion what the CR people r doing. They aren’t lambs – many cld bench press as much or more than the next person. They aren’t perpetually hungry and many eat some of the ‘goodies’ that are a part of any sensual life-loving person’s diet.

    They are simply overriding certain biological aspects of aging by reducing their calories. They will live longer (baring an accident) and many will live robustly into their later years.

    I was actually quite moved by viewing the two videos I’ve posted at the bottom of this reply in regards to living a long life. I will read more of your analysis – but I believe that your final conclusion is simplistic and uninformed. These people know what they are doing and have a lot of scientific evidence to back up their efforts at slowing down the aging process. Any glance at videos showing the difference between aging CR and Ad Lib rhesus monkeys is an exciting glimpse into how you might perform as a 90 or 110 year-old if you were to embrace CR. Of course – any cut back of calories has a proportionate positive effect on your bio-markers and longevity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pLDeaPMBdc (2.5 minute video w-rhesus monkeys)

    ____________ The two below links are to documentaries on life extension (with some info included on CR).

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6581761732541483047#docid=-3329065877451441972

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6581761732541483047

    Enjoy! I look forward to learning more about what you guys are up to here at Underground Wellness.

    Best regards – Marty Wilson

  5. Reliacard

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  6. Ernie Smail

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  7. Jasper Koperski

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