Cyrus Kuhzarani R.Phm.
06 Jan 2022
Have you heard the expression ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ ? It’s the idea that young people don’t appreciate their physical and mental gifts, the boundless energy to tackle anything without thought or consequence.
As we age, we experience the gradual slowing down of our body and brain. Where once we ran headfirst into physical activities (downhill skiing, horseback riding, hiking and biking), as we grow older we become more concerned about our physical recovery from these activities.
But what if we could carry the vitality of our 20s and 30s into our ‘golden years’? This concept of anti-ageing is not as farfetched as it seems. Scientists have been researching various approaches to longevity for decades. Lifestyle adjustments such as caloric restrictive diets and intermittent fasting are two of the ways to increase your lifespan. In fact, you can extend your lifespan by 14 years by simply eating less, engaging in regular exercise, getting enough sleep and quitting smoking. Simple right?
Diet and lifestyle play a major role in longevity. A study of populations living in the Blue Zones (5 areas in the world where people live significantly longer than the average lifespan) found diet and lifestyle to be key. People living in Blue Zone areas on average eat meat no more than 5 times per month. They primarily consume vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. Some Blue Zone populations include fish but for the most part their diet is 95% plant-based. Avoiding the common diseases associated with the Standard American Diet will definitely add a few years to your life.
Further, some Blue Zone populations follow the 80% rule of food consumption. In Okinawa, they practice the concept of hara hachi bu. This means they stop eating when they feel 80% full, rather than 100% full.
Fasting is another way Blue Zone populations live longer. Fasting for religious reasons or simply fasting for certain hours of each day or days of the month all contribute to a longer lifespan.
Studies have shown that lifestyle and diet are crucial to increased longevity. This is evident at the cellular level. Two key areas of study that focus on cellular health include telomeres and sirtuins.
Telomeres are the end caps on DNA strands. With each DNA replication, the telomeres shorten. Once the telomeres reach a certain length, the cell undergoes apoptosis (cell death). Diet and lifestyle can contribute to premature cell death and speed up the ageing process.
The recent discovery of proteins called sirtuins has researchers in the fields of genetics and longevity claiming that we may finally have the knowledge to treat ageing like a disease. Sirtuins are a group of proteins that regulate cellular metabolism and homeostasis.
They play a key role during cell response to a variety of stresses, such as oxidative or genotoxic stress. Sirtuins can only function in the presence of NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) a coenzyme found in all living cells.
As we age, our reserve of NAD+/NADH naturally declines. This decline creates a reduction in sirtuin activity which leads to the development of age-associated functional decline and the pathogenesis of diseases of aging.
Researchers hypothesize that we can counteract the ageing process by consuming supplements that boost NAD+ and support sirtuin function.
Using NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide + hydrogen) the reduced active form, allows you to catch two birds with one stone.
NADH is considered the “spark plug of energy production”. The more NADH available to the cell, the more ATP energy is produced. NADH turns into NAD+ and increases cell longevity.
NADH is critical for the following functions:
Nitric Oxide bioavailability (which improves blood flow, oxygen delivery, glucose uptake, muscle growth and velocity)
Combining a supplement containing NADH with the lifestyle and diet modifications practiced by Blue Zone populations may be the key to ageing more slowly. By treating ageing as a disease and not the natural winding down of our biological clock, we can intelligently and proactively extend our lifespan and improve our quality of life.
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