4 Daily Toxins That Accelerate the Aging Process
The phrase ‘’age is just a number’’ is used by almost everyone in the health sector, from the fitness gurus to the life coaches, but there is an undeniable element of truth in this worn cliché.
Men and women over 90’s running the marathon, a 95 years old yoga instructor who is twisting her body in all sorts of ways, an 88 years old gymnast that can amaze you with his strength and balance or elders from the countryside that still work the land and their yard
Such individuals may not be the standard for their age, but this begs the question: Why Some Ages Faster Than Others?
Genes, daily diet, and physical activity undoubtedly play a role in determining whether we will need a cane when we are 75, or we still can run 5 km every day. But are there somehow other toxins that accelerate the aging process?
Yes, there are, according to a recent paper published in the journal ‘’Trends in Molecular Medicine.’’
A trio of specialists at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Norman Sharpless, Jessica Sorrentino and Hanna Sanoff say that some of the significant factors contributing to aging-baptized ‘’gerontogenes’’- can be found in our everyday environment.
Tobacco smoke: no surprise here. With over 4000 potentially toxic substances, cigarette smoke has been linked to a lot of health problems from cancer to heart disease and arthritis.
Studies have shown that those who are regular smokers have their life shortened with an average of seven years.
When it comes to accelerated aging, smoking causes DNA damage and can shorten telomeres, essential chromosome components that have an impact on cellular aging. The regular use of cigarettes wrinkles the skin through the blood vessels, and through collagen and elastin degradation.
Ultraviolet (UV) light: another enemy of youth. UV exposure is known to contribute to DNA mutations, photoaging (dermatoheliosis) and skin cancer.
Benzene: one of the most 20 widely used chemicals; benzene is used to make a wide variety of different lubricants, paints, plastics, drugs, and pesticides. It can be found in cigarette smoke, industrial emissions, and exhaust gases.
Excessive exposure to benzene can shorten telomeres and may contribute to the development of certain cancers, including lymphoma and leukemia.
Arsenic: a chemical that inhibits the DNA ability to repair itself, arsenic is used for the production of certain herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides. It can be found in small amounts in water, rice, seafood and fish, and in particular agricultural products.
A well-known carcinogen, arsenic can be fatal in high doses, although not much is known about the long-term effects of low-level arsenic exposure.
Although chemotherapy is not found in the daily lives of many people, and it’s still identified as a gerontogene. And even other toxins on the list have been demonstrated as contributing factors to cancer development, the drugs used in chemotherapy may also accelerate aging, mainly through the structural damage inflicted to the DNA and other healthy cells.
Chemotherapy fights cancer by inhibiting the ability of malignant cells to grow and divide. Unfortunately, this chemicals attack the good cells as well, often resulting in hair loss, loss of appetite, fertility problems, and other side effects.
When discussing the chemotherapy role in the aging process, the study authors acknowledge its role in cancer treatment but stress the importance of developing some well-defined methods to assess the physical costs of chemotherapy compared with benefits accurately.
At this moment, the connection between the above environmental toxins and the aging process is known, but not well understood.
Therefore Sharpless and his colleagues are urging for a more thorough investigation of this matter. ‘’We believe just as an understanding of carcinogens has informed cancer biology, so will an understanding of gerontogens benefit the study of aging.
By identifying and avoiding gerontogens, we will be able to influence aging and life expectancy at a public health level.”
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