Incredible advances in medical technology, including computer technologies, bio-technologies and mapping of the human genome, have brought with them a total re-evaluation and understanding of the aging process. Within the scientific community aging is now seen more as a disease that can be radically postponed or minimized for decades rendering individuals far fitter and more mentally active in old age than previous generations. In decades to come, a typical lifespan of one hundred and twenty healthy years for the new-born may become the norm. In the shorter term, using the science that is currently available, an additional ten extra healthy years for you and me is perfectly feasible, pushing typical life spans towards 90 years of age. That would translate into nearly 25 years of active, happy retirement for the average person.
The main causes of aging have been identified as: the generation and build-up off free radicals as a by-product of mitochondrial function; calorie over consumption which turns off youth genes and turns on old age genes; the shortening of telomeres in our chromosomes as we age leading ultimately to cell death; build-up of homocysteine amino acids associated by arachidonic acid in certain meat and dairy products and glycotoxins in deep fried foods; lipofuscin typically seen as liver spots but also found in nerve, heart, liver and adrenal cells; and the decline in hormone production after the age of 25 that particularly affects women.
Where the body is already too damaged to be repaired by conventional means, stem cell technology and organ transplants offer the best hope of life extension. Science is also placing great faith in synthetic hormones if medical obstacles can be overcome. These advances, however, are at the forefront of bioethical debate and this is slowing progress on both these fronts.
• To contain free radicals, consume plenty of antioxidants that can be found in...