Whenever I tell my friends and family, I want to live to be 107 years old, they think I’m crazy—partly because living that long is unheard of, but also because most people associate getting older with getting sick and weak. But new research in the science of aging says that living longer, and more vibrantly, is a very real possibility. As researchers are learning more about exactly how and why our biology ages, they are beginning to understand that the systems in our bodies that slowly break down over time don’t actually have to. By focusing on some key areas of longevity, scientists are starting to show how targeting certain key functions can literally slow (and sometimes reverse) the signs of aging. Ever wonder why a two-year-old child can run around non-stop while many 90-year-olds spend most of their time sitting? The answer lies in the mitochondria. Your mitochondria are found in most of your cells, they that are responsible for energy production. The more you have and the healthier they are, the more youthful energy you experience.
Your mitochondria are your gatekeepers to The Fountain of Youth Children’s mitochondria are like well-oiled machines, whereas older adults’ mitochondria get a bit rusty from being exposed to the elements of life. Environmental toxins, stress, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, not getting enough sleep, and nutrient deficiencies are all contributors to mitochondrial deterioration. Damaged or malnourished mitochondria cause inflammation and a whole host of chronic diseases that follow. That’s why Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are associated with damaged, dysfunctional mitochondria. Type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and other metabolic disorders are also related to poor mitochondrial function. One way to combat aging, or slow the aging process, is to supply your mitochondria with all the nutrients needed to thrive, including essential B vitamins, magnesium, and ubiquinol (CoQ10).
Enter NAD – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It’s found in almost every single cell of the human body. A few of its primary functions are keeping DNA healthy, regulating our circadian rhythm, and converting food into energy—a process that takes place in the mitochondria.
In addition to energy production, NAD is a critical factor for several enzymes, including sirtuins, which play a crucial role in healthy aging, weight management, metabolic syndrome, and fatty acid metabolism in the liver. They are extremely important to our aging process. Essentially, having a lot of NAD is important. It supports energy production and keeps our cells healthy, vibrant, and young. It slows down aging as well.
Low amounts of NAD is a marker of aging and having low levels makes it harder for our mitochondria to convert food into energy. Think of your body like a car and your mitochondria as the engine. Your mitochondria take the food you eat (fuel) and the air you breathe (oxygen) and combust them to make energy—what keeps your body running. NAD is formed from niacin (vitamin B3) and the amino acid tryptophan, which you can get from wild-caught fish, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, mushrooms, and leafy green vegetables. But to really boost your body’s NAD, you might need to employ eating those foods in a specific way.
Fasting, both long-term and intermittent, stimulates the production of new mitochondria, gets rid of old, damaged mitochondria, and increases NAD. If fasting for longer periods of time is not suitable for you, intermittent fasting would be a better alternative (where you keep your eating window to 8 to 12 hours a day), which is what I do and works really well for me.
Eating a lower carbohydrate diet can also be beneficial for boosting NAD. Getting older is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy and uncomfortable process. We can get older and still have vibrant health. Taking the steps to support and protect your mitochondria is an important part of aging gracefully with a healthspan that matches your lifespan.
Want help supporting your mitochondria? I can help. Schedule a free consultation to find out how we can work together to keep your healthspan awesome to 107 too: https://calendly.com/donnajskincare/let-s-connect