how to slow down aging according to science

How to slow down aging according to science

The quest for eternal youth is as old as time itself. 

For me, this quest has always been personal. The thought of getting older is unsettling. I fear losing energy and seeing my health decline.. My Italian family kept reminding me about my age and lack of children.. 

Everything changed when I saw a bunch of strong women about my age who were living their best life. Gary Vee, a well-known marketer, emphasizes embracing aging, not fearing it..  I view aging as a journey to appreciate, respect, and accept. But, embracing it doesn’t imply just sitting around for it to occur… I want it to happen in a way where I keep my energy and vitality and look the best I can. 

What’s aging anyway?

On  a pure biological level, aging results from the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. This leads to a gradual decrease in physical and mental capacity, a risk of disease, and ultimately, death.

Aging isn’t just wear and tear; it’s genetic pathways regulating processes like cellular senescence. It includes DNA repair and telomere length control.You see it’s not only about getting wrinkles or forgetting where you put your keys. It’s about the changes that happen in our bodies over time—changes that can affect our health, how we feel, and how we look. Sure, part of it is in our genes, but our lifestyle choices play a huge role too.

BIG FACTORS IN AGING

Single components of the skin naturally degrade with age( Intrinsic aging) but environmental factors and wrong lifestyle habits speed up the process even more (extrinsic aging)..

INTRINSIC AGING 

Regardless of how we take care of our the skin or even regardless sun exposure, there will be changes in the skin as we age. These are the main ones: wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, thinning, sagging, and dryness.

Why does that happen?

Genetics. Your genes play a role in skin aging, 

Free Radicals damage which increases with age and degrades collagen.

Cells don’t proliferate as much as before leading to a thinner epidermis. 

Less collagen and elastin. 

Less moisture: this happens because of the increased transepidermal water loss and the reduction in hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant capable of binding 1000 times its weight in water.
By age 60, we have lost about 50% HA in the outer layer of the skin compared to our 20s! This means less volume, hydration,  and plumpness. Also sebaceous glands start to produce less oil (sebum) which leads to dry skin.

Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes that occur with age, especially a drop in estrogens levels like during menopause, causes dryness and decreased thickness, firmness, and elasticity.

Loss of fat and muscles
Fat shifts from being subcutaneous to visceral, which contributes to changes like sagginess and, wrinkles, sunken cheeks. 

Muscles lose volume and tone and don’t support the epidermis as well as before ( sarcopenia).

EXTRINSIC AGING

how to slow down agingThis is the aging that occurs as a consequence of bad lifestyle habits, in particular:


Sun Exposure: Too much sun can speed up how fast we age, giving us wrinkles and spots. Think of it like leaving a car in the sun; eventually, the paint fades and cracks.


Smoking: Smoking speeds up aging big time. I learned this the hard way, but I also realized staying active could help counter some of the damage.
Stress. Stress can actually make you age faster. It’s like running your car engine on high non-stop. Eventually, it’s going to wear down.


Poor nutrition. What you eat plays a crucial role in how you age. More on this here


Air pollution: rich in free radicals and other particles that case inflammation and disrupt the skin barrier.


Poor quality of sleep: less sleep has been associated with wrinkles and a degrade in general health.

Slow Down Aging: the ultimate list

If you’re feeling down after reading this, there’s hope! We can make a change!I put together a list of science-backed approaches to slow down aging.

Ready? Let’s go!

 

RETINOIDS.

Retinoids are a family of compounds derived from vitamin A, known for their incredible skin-renewing properties. They’re the heavy hitters in the fight against aging, tackling everything from wrinkles to sun spots.
Retinoids (retinol, tretinoin etc) have the reputation of being too drying and irritating. I thought so too until I found out that only certain products are. The reason? They are not properly formulated.

The Luisa True Skincare retinol serum doesn’t cause any irritation on redness because it is made with pure pharmaceutical grade encapsulated retinol.

 

Retinol Serum

Improves firmness and minimizes wrinkles.

Why Retinoids?

Fight Wrinkles: Retinoids boost collagen production, which is like scaffolding for your skin. More collagen means firmer, smoother skin.

Improve Skin Tone: They help even out skin tone, reducing the appearance of age spots.

Texture Transformer: By speeding up cell turnover, retinoids can help make your skin smoother and reduce the look of pores.

Using Retinoids Wisely

Retinoids are powerful, so it’s important to use them right.
Here’s how to incorporate them into your skincare routine:

Start Slow: If you’re new to retinoids, begin with a lower concentration and use it every other night to see how your skin reacts.

Sooth: pair them with a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness.

Sun Protection: These compounds can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so never skip sunscreen during the day.

In my journey retinoids have been a game-changer. I use them every night and are my holy grail ingredients.

Dietary Adjustments

Intermittent Fasting, also known as fast mimicking diet, is an eating pattern. It alternates between periods of eating and fasting. Research shows benefits like reduced inflammation and lower blood sugar levels. These are crucial for improving health and longevity.

As of 2024, calorie restriction boosts lifespan without genetic or drugs. It has to do with a group of proteins called Sirtuins. These proteins are involved with DNA repair, inflammation, glucose metabolism and mitochondrial energy. 

Sirtuins decrease with age. Eating “Sirtfoods” may boost longevity. These foods are great: kale, grapes (with resveratrol), parsley, celery, onions, strawberries, dark chocolate, curcumin, and green tea.

Honestly, I can’t do intermittent fasting. I’ve tried many times but get bad headaches and feel low on energy. So this approach might not work for you. If it does, I highly recommend it. In general, I want you to increase protein intake and reduce carbs. I also need you to double or triple your veggies intake.

To tell you the truth, I can’t do intermitting fasting… I tried several times but had terrible headaches and lack of energy. So this approach might not work for you. If it does, I highly recommend it. In general, I want you to increase protein intake and reduce carbs. I also need you to double or triple your veggies intake.

Veggies doesn’t mean potatoes or corn or other sweet starchy ones. Opt for dark green or orange/red ones.

Being Italian, I can’t avoid mentioning the Mediterranean Diet…Rich in vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to longer life expectancy and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. It’s a heart-healthy eating plan that also supports brain health and helps keep the body’s cells functioning properly.

Additionally remember to reduce or even better eliminate sugar. When cooking food, see if you can steam/boil instead of grilling or frying. Sugar and these 2 methods of cooking are known to cause an increase in AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) which are linked to skin aging.

Top Supplements to Slow Down Aging

Resveratrol (and other antioxidants).

Found in the skin of red grapes, resveratrol is a compound that has been shown to activate certain genes associated with longer lifespan and better health in animal studies. While human research is still ongoing, resveratrol supplements are considered promising in the quest to slow down aging. Other antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids (Vitamin A, retinol).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Omega-3s, particularly those found in fish oil, have been shown to reduce inflammation, a key contributor to aging and chronic diseases. Supplementing with omega-3s can support heart health, cognitive function, and may help maintain skin health as well.

NAD+.

This is a recent discovery- it looks promising for anti-aging, but studies are more solid in animals than humans. NAD+ is found in every cell in your body and is essential for creating cellular energy and maintaining cellular health. NAD+ levels decline with age. NAD+ precursors can be used as a supplement to replenish NAD+ levels in the body. Human clinical trials have shown that supplementing these precursors raises NAD+ levels… but the evidence on the anti-aging effect is still inconclusive. Still, this is a hot supplement that I would definitely look into it (this is the brand I recommend)

IMPORTANT: avoid if you have or have had tumors or are genetically predisposed.

COLLAGEN.

Another protein that’s crucial for skin elasticity and that decreases with age. Collagen works only when taken orally and it should be in your anti-aging arsenal. Supplementing collagen increases skin’s firmness, and hydration while also reducing wrinkles. Collagen is also useful for joint pain, healthy nails, and hair. Click here to shop for the best collagen.

Physical activity

exercise slows down aging

Strength Training: The muscles are the structures that support the skin. When their tone and volume is low, the skin looks saggy. Strength training is vital for counteracting sarcopenia (mentioned it above, do you remember?) Maintaining muscle mass, bone density, and metabolic health as we age helps counteract the muscle loss that naturally occurs with aging, keeping the body strong and resilient. 

Flexibility and Balance Exercises: Practices like yoga and Tai Chi not only reduce stress but also improve flexibility, balance, and overall mobility, which are crucial for healthy aging and preventing falls.

Walking: I love long walks and I use them as cardio exercise. Walking reduces stress while also being optimal for the cardiovascular system.

Mind Body Wellness

Mindfulness and Meditation: Chronic stress can accelerate aging at a cellular level. Mindfulness practices and meditation can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mental health, contributing to a longer, healthier life.

Quality Sleep: Adequate, high-quality sleep is essential for cellular repair, cognitive function, and metabolic health. Prioritizing sleep hygiene practices can help combat the negative effects of aging.

Healthy Relationships with hugs, laughter and kisses: I don’t know if science has proven it yet, but I’m convinced these factors are crucial too. Live in peace, love people, love what you do, be open to change. Your stress hormone levels will go down and you will live better!

Slowing Down Aging: CONCLUSIONS

Slowing down aging isn’t just about looking good (though who doesn’t want that?). It’s about feeling good for as long as possible, keeping our minds sharp, and our bodies strong. Science is key here, offering us ways to potentially put the brakes on aging but it’s up to us implementing the right lifestyle choices that will take us there.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! 

2 thoughts on “How to slow down aging according to science

  1. dfrl says:

    Wow! What an impressive article! It’s always interesting to note that aging or any disease process is more than just one factor but rather a number of components. Thank you, Dr. Luisa, for an excellent and well researched article.

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