What is the process of aging?
Even if the age is increasing day by day, if we can maintain the youth of body and mind throughout our life, it is a blessing for us. In order to overcome physical and mental suffering and develop spiritual maturity, it is very important to be interested in defeating the disease of aging. The two dharmas of jati and death are events and decay and disease are processes. By scientifically understanding how these processes take place and looking at life positively with confidence in the limitless potential of man, one can inherit the maximum productivity that can be obtained through life. Gaining some understanding of how aging occurs will help us gain the necessary access to antiaging measures.
The basic building block of the tissues, organs and systems that our body is made of is the cell, a microscopic structure. Cell division gives rise to new cells and thus the growth of the body and the replacement of broken parts due to the process of living. A major cause of aging is the gradual decline in the number of cells capable of differentiation in tissues and organs. The accumulation of these inactive cells, known as senescent cells, incapacitates tissues and organs, and the body’s continued efforts to remove these cells make organ failure more intense.
Damage to the genes of the cell, aging genes coming to the fore, destruction of cell organelles by oxidative damage, and the creation of adverse inflammation in the cell itself cause the cells to lose their ability to differentiate. Genes related to the structure and function of our body are stored in DNA molecules, which are special chemical compounds arranged as a double helix. At the free ends of these DNA molecules, there is a chemical structure that does not represent genes called telomere. This can be compared to the protective covers on the ends of shoelaces. Telomere prevents genetic damage during cell division and regulates the cell division process. At each cell division, part of the chemical structure of the telomere is destroyed and it gradually shortens. Once the telomere is depleted to a certain extent, the cell loses its ability to differentiate. Thus, the rate of telomere shortening is determined by various internal and external factors.
Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, constant physical or mental stress, ingestion of toxic chemicals and wrong eating habits are some of the external factors that affect the premature shortening of telomeres. Weakening of the activity of telomerase enzyme, gene expression that causes aging, high oxidative stress and the creation of an adverse inflammatory condition in cells are the internal factors that cause telomere shortening.
1.5-5% of the amount of oxygen drawn into the body during inhalation becomes highly reactive chemical molecules known as reactive oxygen species in the cells. There is a method to inhibit the oxidizing substances that occur in cells, and the concentration of oxidizing molecules that cannot be inhibited is called oxidative stress. These oxidizing molecules act similar to iron rusting in cells and cause damage to cell organelles and genes. When a cell or tissue is damaged, the immune system uses cells and chemicals to remove the damaged parts. It is this activity that we experience in connection with an external wound in the body, and the word inflammation is used to describe it. Based on the damages caused to the cells, inflammatory conditions are created in the cells and uncontrolled development of that activity causes the destruction of cells and tissues. There are specific genes that cause youth retention and aging, and various internal and external factors cause these genes to turn on or off. Controlling the expression of these genes, taking measures to control the oxidative stress in the body and taking steps to prevent adverse inflammatory conditions from being established in the body will prevent telomere shortening as well as control the formation of senescent cells.