The traditional anti-aging movement is believed to do whatever it costs to achieve a youthful look for a long period of time, using a supposedly “proven”, one-size fits all approach.
Yet, despite looking young on the outside, many people still suffer from health illnesses such as sleep problems, mood changes, joint pain, uncontrollable blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and a decline of immune health.
Age related changes start from the inside, not the outside as we may traditionally think.
What if we view aging as an element independent of time?
What if instead, we referred to aging as the likelihood of developing health-related issues?
Let’s take a look at what aging is from a different perspective.
Aging not only pertains to superficial modifications such as wrinkles, age spots, loss of fat pads and volume in the face, or more laxity of the skin, but the change in the metabolic function inside the body also known as your mitochondrial health.
Suppressing symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs can keep your body’s function within the normal range for your age, but it does not protect you against the aging process.
Unlike time, aging is not a linear process. You can influence when and how your body ages based on intrinsic factors like hormone levels and cellular functions, or extrinsic factors like exposure to stress, nutrition and exercise levels.
Your biological age is not the same as your chronological age (the number of years since you were born).
At IMI, we can measure your biological age with a test called TruAge. One of my patients found out that though she is 40, her biological age is more reflective of someone in their 30s.
TruAge also revealed that her aging rate is 1:1, meaning her biological age increases in line with her actual age.
For others, TruAge may reveal that their aging rate is 1: 1.5, meaning that they age 1.5 years every year. Your aging rate can be manipulated and optimised to slow aging.
The test I recommend is the IMI anti-aging panel, which measures male and female hormones like DHEA, cortisol and progesterone which play a big role in aging.
This panel also measures important biomarkers like fasting insulin – this is important because high levels of glucose in the body can accelerate the aging process.
This test also assesses other factors which affect or indicate premature aging, including triglycerides, C-reactive proteins, uric acid and certain nutrient levels, like calcium.
Other physical markers for aging
Other physical markers you can use to track your aging process include:
- Changes in height, which decreases as you age.
- Changes in your foot arch and posture.
- Loss of adaptation or resilience to stress.
- Short-term memory loss, reduced learning capacity and loss of total brain volume.
- Reduced cardiac performance to deliver oxygen to other tissues.
- Reduced elasticity of blood vessels.
- Reduced lung capacity, reduced oxygen uptake and exchange, resulting in limited exertion.
- Kidney function decline, reduced tolerance and sensitvity to salt, and less effective in excreting toxic metabolites from drugs.
It’s important to know how well our body is aging so that we can maintain the best health possible into old age. After all, even when you have a head full of grey hair, you’ll still want to be living your best life.
There are some things we can do to embrace healthy aging.
A good place to start is with your nutritional health. Supplementing deficiencies ensures your body isn’t under stain, and that it has all the nutritional support it needs to function at its best.
Another way is by keeping an eye out for chronic illnesses you may be at risk for. You can check for deficiencies and biomarkers for chronic illness through testing.
Testing is complex, and it’s often confusing trying to figure out which one you may need. Speaking to a healthcare practitioner ensures you’ve chosen the right test to meet your health and aging goals.
Tips to stay healthy as you age
Other important and non-surgical ways to stay young and vibrant include –
Weight training. This helps ensure that your muscles don’t get rusty, keeping them strong and supportive to avoid joint pain. You don’t have to go big – start with a low weight and work your way up.
Prioritise sleep and other healthy choices. Nourish your body with what it asks for: sleep, water and healthy food, providing your body with the basic building blocks for good health.
Supporting digestive health helps boost nutrient absorption and reduces your risk of deficiency.
Reducing oxidative stress minimises overall strain on your body, enabling it to flush out toxins and pollutants effectively.
Scheduling regular play time with people you love to lower your day-to-day stress, anger, or resentment. Your emotions are linked to your physical wellbeing.
A personalised look at aging
Aging is a continuous yet dynamic process, influenced by many factors.
Wrinkles may be visible reminders of the aging process, but aging begins on the inside, with our cells, hormones and more, affected by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Tackling your personal challenges when it comes to aging can be overwhelming on your own – especially when there are so many factors to consider: your health history, symptoms and more.
It’s best to team up with a naturopath so you can investigate causes of aging via testing, and work together to mitigate the intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting your biological age.
When you address the key players of the aging process, it becomes timeless.