Inflammation In The Aging Process
What is inflammation in the body and the aging process? 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.
The National Institute of Health defines Inflammation 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.
The role of inflammation in the elderly:
Most research has been done to understand the role of inflammation in the elderly, especially concerning degenerative diseases. While we are still working to understand the overall role of inflammation in the lifespan of the aging process from youth onwards, 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 begs the question of how does inflammation start or how does it originate?
It is a hard question to answer and might requires a great deal of medical and scientific mumbo jumbo to property explain. 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.”
So what exactly does that mean? Simply put, Inflammation is the body’s response to an abnormal event inside the body that your body is working to repair. For example, a common example might be a stubbed toe that swells, turns black or blue and eventually returns to normal over time as healing occurs. That process simply explains how the body is inflaming the injured area to protect it and/or heal it.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is internal inflammation that occurs over time that can lead to advanced aging processes. As the research study stated, inflammation in the body induces stress and limits other capacities in the body, many of which are key to the aging process, so that the body can better deal with what’s causing the inflamed area.
Having a basic idea of the aging process and inflammations role in aging, how do prevent inflammation from occurring? Well, the jury is still officially out on this, although two different recent studies examined the role of caloric-restriction on the inflammation process.
Both studies, from the Ageing Research Reviews and Antioxidants and Redux Signaling respectively, examined the anti-inflammatory actions of aging through caloric restriction and exercise. Better known as diet and exercise. This should not come as a complete surprise, that a poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle would increase inflammation and therefore the aging process.
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.
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 can also assume 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.
To put it simplky, inflammation increases the process of aging, and poor diet and lack of exercise increases inflammation; therefore, eat a healthy diet and exercise to help inhibit the aging process!
I’d also like to say from personal experience, sometimes the inflammation in the body is just the bodies way of getting our attention. You then get to choose how you are going to handle the crisis and either listen to your body and make some changes, or ignore and mask the symptoms with medications and carry on.
I hope you found this article helpful in some way. Question, just Contact us.