The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Don’t let zombies age you
Q: I’ve been reading about zombie cells and how, as we get older, they start to make us age faster and faster. How can I make sure they don’t ruin my health as I get older? — Dwayne R., Falls Church, Virginia
A: You packed a lot into that question. So, first let me say that having a RealAge of 40 at age 60 is absolutely achievable, and soon, being able to be 40 at age 90 will be more than 80% likely. The full scope of what it takes to do that (the science of self-engineering) is in my book “The Great Age Reboot.” But here, I can tackle your question about zombie cells.
Zombie cells are the result of a natural process called cell senescence. It happens when a cell ages and stops dividing but doesn’t die. Not everything about that process is harmful — it’s essential for wound healing, immunity, and tumor suppression. But if an organ system accumulates too many of these indolent cells, it encourages cardiometabolic disorders, inflammatory conditions, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
In the past 15 years, companies have been exploring ways to stop — and even reverse — these cells’ aging effects. One research team found that removing zombie cells extended the median lifespan of lab mice by 17% to 42%, depending on their sex, diet and genetics. And there’s some indication that eliminating zombie cells can reverse or ease osteoarthritis pain, eye disease, insulin resistance and late stage cancers.
But what we know is based on animal models — and the side effects of decreasing the number of senescent cells in humans are largely unknown.
So where does that leave you in your battle against the invading zombies?
— Opt for an immune-supporting, anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet. Red and processed meats, saturated fats, added sugars and syrups, and highly processed foods are all super-agers.
— Manage your sleep habits and stress response with “posse (your social network), purpose and play.”
— Enjoy regular physical activity to dispel accumulation of senescent cells.