Fine lines around your mouth, bags under your eyes, and patches of hair falling out subtitles for Monster's Eye? Well, these are the hallmarks of ageing.
But… can you skip this stage of life and remain forever young?
Scientists at the University of Alabama may have found a way to reverse wrinkles and hair loss; a cure for ageing that shows real promise.
Turn back time
Ageing symptoms are largely dictated by a decline of mitochondrial function within cells. In a recent study, scientists from the University of Alabama experimented with ways of reversing a DNA mutation that leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. Their experiments on mice reversed their wrinkles and restored hair growth! We can blame this gene mutation for causing wrinkles and hair loss. So, turning off the mutation restores things to its natural order.
Mitochondria are organelles (a tiny cellular structure that performs specific functions within a cell). They act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy-rich molecules for the cell.
The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. Many of the reactions involved in cellular respiration happen in the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the working organelles that keep the cell pumped full of energy. Mitochondria are key cellular structures that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “fuel” that maintains healthy cellular function. When mitochondria can no longer function properly or produce the required amount of ATP, your health begins to suffer. This includes an increased risk of chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, age-associated neurological disorders and cancer.
Mitochondria in ageing
The main function of mitochondria is to metabolise or break down carbohydrates and fatty acids to create energy. Ageing is a natural part of our lifespan. As we age, we create fewer hormones, brain chemicals and less mitochondrial ATP. Not only do our mitochondria produce less ATP, but the rate of their cellular death increases each decade.
So what’s next in the anti-ageing crusade? The next step is looking into this with human beings. Researchers are busy investigating and developing agents that can restore mitochondrial function. The hope is that this may ultimately improve the quality of life in old age.
Improve your mitochondrial health
Lay off the sugar
Your mitochondria may not be able to burn sugar fast enough for your energy needs. As a result, excess sugar is stored as fat which creates damaging free radicals. The solution: the less sugar you eat, the better.
Eat fresh foods
Foods grown and produced with pesticides and toxins can cause a lot of mitochondrial damage. Buy organic and local produce to reduce exposure. Look for pasture-raised animal products. Avoid all processed and modified foods.
Add some colour to your plate
Load up on leafy greens and sulphur-rich vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage. These help your body produce glutathione, an antioxidant that is essential to cellular health.
Sip on broth
Bone broth can contribute to mitochondrial health by protecting the gut lining and producing certain types of amino acids that your cells thrive on.
Up your Omega 3s
Omega 3s will help build up your mitochondria’s protective membranes, which means more energy for you. Feast on low mercury wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, nuts (walnuts), seeds and egg yolks.