Theories Of Aging

Theories Of Aging

The Wear and Tear Theory:

theories of agingThe Wear and Tear Theory was first introduced by Dr. August Weismann, a German biologist in 1882. He believed aging occurred when the body and its cells were damaged by overuse and abuse. The major organs of the body such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, skin and so on are worn down by toxins in our diet and in the environment, by excessive intake of fat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, by the ultra-violet rays of the sun and by the many other physical and emotional stresses to which we subject our bodies. Simply using the organs over time wears them out even if you never touch a cigarette or have a glass of wine and stayed out of the sun, etc. Abuse just wears them out quicker. He also believed it takes place on the cellular level.

Nutritional supplements and other treatments can help reverse the aging process by stimulating the body’s own ability to repair and maintain its organs and cells.

The Neuroendocrine Theory:

The neuroendocrine theory was developed by Vladimir Dilman, Ph.D. The theory elaborates on the wear and tear theory by focusing on the neuroendocrine system that governs the release of our hormones and other vital bodily elements. Different organs release various hormones under the governance of the hypothalamus, a walnut-sized gland located within the brain. Hormone levels are high in youth and account for menstruation in women and high libido in both sexes. As we get older the body produces lower levels of hormones which can have serious effects on our functioning. Hormones help repair and regulate our bodily functions. When aging causes a drop in hormone production, it causes a decline in our body’s ability to repair and regulate itself.

The hormone replacement therapy is a frequent component of any anti-aging treatment and helps to reset the body’s hormonal clock and then reverse or delay the effects of aging. The theory holds that if our hormones are being produced at youthful levels the cells of our bodies are stimulated to active and we stay young.

The Genetic Control Theory:

This theory focuses on the genetic programming encoded within our DNA. From birth we are equipped with a unique genetic code, which has a great deal to say about how quickly we age and how long we live. When our biological clock goes off it signals our bodies first to age and then to die. The timing on this genetic clock is subject to enormous variation and depends upon what happens to us as we grow up and on how we actually live.

Anti-aging medicine attempts to prevent damage to our cells and increase repair of DNA to help us escape our genetic destinies, at least to some extent.

The Free Radical Theory:

This development in anti-aging research was first introduced by R. Gerschman in 1954 and developed by Dr. Denham Harman of the University of Nebraska, College of Medicine. Free radical is a term used to describe any molecule that differs from conventional molecules. Free radicals possess a free electron that makes it react with other molecules in highly destructive ways.

The theory holds that free-radical damage begins at birth and continues until we die. In our youth its effects are fairly minor because the body has extensive repair and replacement mechanisms that in healthy young people function to keep cells and organs in working order. With age, the accumulated effects of free-radical damage begin to take their toll and are part of what ages our cells. Free-radical disruption of cell metabolism may also create mutant cells leading to cancer and death. Free radicals attack collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are the substances that keep our skin moist, smooth, flexible and elastic. When these vital tissues fray and break under the assault of free radicals, we begin to notice folds of skins and deep-cut wrinkles.

Another way of looking at free-radical changes is to think of it as rust and our aging process is similar to the rusting away of a once-intact piece of metal. Oxygen itself is free radicals and so our breathing and aerobic exercise generates free radicals that help us along the aging process.

Substances that prevent harmful effects of oxidation are antioxidants. This is why specialists in anti-aging medicine prescribe a host of natural and manufactured antioxidants to help combat the effects of aging. Many vitamins and minerals and other substances fight aging by acting as free-radical scavengers.

Source: The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional.

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About the Author: Written by: Connie Limon.

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