How to Slow Aging

How to Slow Aging

Slow Aging: You Are More Than Your Genes

Living a long and healthy life is not only about how lucky you were in the genetic lottery. Although genes play an important part in extreme longevity [1], only about 7% to 25% of how long we live is dictated by genes [2–5]. This means that your environment and lifestyle choices are the primary determinants of your longevity and healthy aging.   

A great example of this is the “Blue Zones”, a group of five regions of the world—Loma Linda, CA, USA; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan—where people who follow traditional dietary and lifestyle patterns live exceptionally long and healthy lives. Many people in these regions live to 100 in relatively good physical and cognitive health. 

Their longevity has been attributed to the lifestyle of Blue Zones residents. Residents live in environments that naturally stimulate physical activity, plant-based diets, routines to shed stress, and close familial and friendship bonds and a sense of purpose and belonging [6]. 

Your environment and lifestyle choices are the primary determinants of longevity and how healthy you stay into old age.

The Blue Zones teach us that, although we can’t stop aging, there are habits we can adopt that may slow it down. 

6 Ways to Slow Aging

1. Healthy Diet

Diet has a great influence on health throughout life. Adjusting the type, amount, and timing of food consumption is the simplest, most feasible, and safest intervention to support healthy aging and extend healthspan [7]. 

Unhealthy diets high in processed foods, salt, fried foods, and foods with added sugar can accelerate aging by promoting oxidative stress, unhealthy immune signaling, and metabolic deregulation [8]. Conversely, healthy dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, seafood, and healthy fats such as olive oil—have been associated with a slower progression of aging, delayed onset of frailty, and reduced incidence of age-related dysfunctions and physical impairment [9]. 

A healthy diet is one of the common characteristics of the Blue Zones. Although each zone has its specific preferred foods, they have a common pattern: they are mostly plant-based diets, rich in legumes and fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, and with only small amounts of meat. Furthermore, they don’t overeat, stop eating before they are full, and eat their last meal of the day, which is also their smallest meal, in the late afternoon or early evening [6]. All good principles to live by.

2. Regular Exercise and Physical Activity

A sedentary lifestyle can greatly worsen functional decline as you age, particularly losses in muscle function, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic function, resulting in a premature deterioration of physical capacity and health. 

Fortunately, maintaining physical activity and exercising regularly can help to prevent or delay manifestations of age-related health decline by supporting cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal health, promoting better mobility, mental health, quality of life, and longer healthspan [10–13]. 

Physical activity helps to keep key promoters of aging in check, including mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal immune signaling, unbalanced autophagy, and oxidative stress [14,15]. In older individuals, exercise intervention programs reduce signs of frailty such as low body mass, strength, mobility, and energy, helping to maintain physical capacity [10]. Furthermore, whereas sedentary lifestyles are associated with cognitive decline, exercise promotes healthy cerebral blood flow, functional connectivity, and structural integrity in the brain, thereby supporting cognitive function as we age [16–20].

Physical activity help keep key promoters of aging in check, including mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal immune signaling, unbalanced autophagy, and oxidative stress.

Therefore, acquiring good exercise and physical activity habits may help to delay the onset of the physical and cognitive symptoms of aging.

3. Skin Care and Beauty

The role of the skin in our general health is hugely underrated. The skin has the vital role of simultaneously shielding the body from environmental aggressions and promoting physiological adaptations in response to the environment that are essential for maintaining health. 

The skin produces neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune signaling mediators that can influence other tissues and organs, including the brain [21–23]. The skin is in permanent crosstalk with the brain and the body’s central neuroendocrine system, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis [23,24]. This signaling system has a central role in maintaining body homeostasis, has a crucial role in systemic aging, and is involved in longevity and lifespan regulation [25]. 

Environmental stressors that promote skin aging can influence signaling pathways that accelerate age-related changes that may manifest at the systemic level [26,27]. Supporting skin health may help to maintain the skin’s intrinsic capacity to resist environmental stressors and to protect itself and the whole body from their aging-promoting effects. Healthy skin helps the body to deal better with the challenges of aging. 

Learn how Qualia Skin supports skin health in Qualia Skin: The Building of a Comprehensive Supplement for Better Skin.*

4. Stress Management

Psychological stress influences health at a systemic level by increasing the production of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) that can influence cell and tissue function, lead to physiological dysregulation, and trigger maladaptive responses in the body and brain. Excessive production of stress hormones triggered by prolonged psychological stress can have physical and molecular consequences that influence the immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems in ways that lead to premature aging and compromise healthy aging [28,29]. 

Prolonged stress can also have a detrimental impact on many aspects of cognitive performance, in part due to functional and structural modifications caused by stress hormones in brain regions with important roles in cognitive and emotional processing. These changes can manifest as mood disorders and age-related memory loss [30–36]. 

Interventions that help to reduce feelings of stress, such as yoga, meditation, slow breathing, exercise, or any other activity or strategy that brings you calmness and relaxation may help you to better cope with stress and counteract its effects [37–39]. 

A complementary approach is to support stress resilience at the physiological level. Learn how Qualia Resilience may help in The Formulator's View of Qualia Resilience Ingredients.*

5. Sleep

Sleep disruption and poorer sleep quality are common features of aging [40]. This is in part due to age-related changes in the brain that cause sleep disruption, but it is also determined by lifestyle and health factors, which can confer either vulnerability or resilience to age-associated declines in sleep quantity and quality [41].

Sleep disruption has significant consequences for health because sleep supports every major physiological system within the body, including immune, metabolic, thermoregulatory, endocrine, and cardiovascular functions [42]. Poor sleep quality is associated with persistent detrimental changes in systemic signaling that affect health and can accelerate the physiological processes of aging [43,44]. Even in young adults, sleep deprivation can cause metabolic and immune changes that are similar to those of aging and age-related disorders [45].

Even in young adults, sleep deprivation can cause metabolic and immune changes that are similar to those of aging and age-related disorders.

Sleep also supports cognitive and emotional processes [46]. In older adults, poor and shorter sleep correlates with the extent of impairment on numerous cognitive tests, including memory tests [47], but interventions that restore sleep help to reduce the risk and severity of cognitive decline in aging [48]. 

A good night’s sleep is about more than just time spent sleeping, it’s also about the quality of sleep [49,50]. Good basic sleep hygiene may help you have sounder sleep: set a sleep schedule; make sure your bedroom is dark, silent, relaxing, and at a cool but comfortable temperature; unplug from electronic devices 30-60 min before bedtime; and avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol late in the evening [51,52]. 

Sleep may be further promoted with Qualia Night, designed to broadly support many areas of sleep quality.* Learn how in Qualia Night - The Building of a Comprehensive Sleep Support Stack.

6. Supplements for healthy aging

Qualia's healthy aging line offers three products that help to support healthy cell and tissue function and whole-body health as we age.

Qualia Life is designed to comprehensively support the molecules, processes, and pathways involved in health at the cellular level. A central goal was foundational support for cellular energy generation so that individual cells can better do all the things they need to do to support better aging.* Learn more about it in Qualia Life: Putting the Healthy Aging Puzzle Together.

NAD+ is a central molecule of cellular energy production and cell signaling pathways critical for cellular health. NAD+ levels decrease as we get older and this decline contributes to poorer health [53]. Qualia NAD+ supports NAD+ maintenance by providing several substrates for NAD+ biosynthesis, as well as supporting rate-limiting steps in the different pathways of NAD+ production.* You can learn more about it in The Formulator's View of the Qualia NAD+ Ingredients.

Biological aging can be accelerated by the existence of persistent age-related conditions driven by cellular senescence, but alleviating cellular senescence may help mitigate functional decline as we age.* Qualia Senolytic was developed to support healthy aging by helping to bring the creation and clearance of senescent cells back into a healthy balance.* Learn more about Qualia Senolytic in The Formulator's View of the Qualia Senolytic Ingredients.



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