One of the most rewarding and important organizations I am a part of is the American Academy of Anti-Aging, led by Drs. Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman I have had the privilege of being the organization’s Senior Vice President for the last several years. During this time I have attended and lectured at numerous A4M conferences all over the world. Anti-aging medicine to those unfamiliar with the term simply means “preventative” medicine.

Almost universally we can agree that our current system is broken; both financially and in how we approach illness.  We spend billions on gastric bypass each year in the US but essentially pennies on how to teach people to eat better and have a healthier relationship with food to avoid obesity. The examples of perverse priorities are numerous and those within the system know that changes to make disease prevention a priority must occur.

Anti-aging is not about being “against” aging it is about how to live longer and healthier by avoiding disease for it starts.

Anti-Aging Tips

Even my closest friends are often surprised when they ask me my age. Despite my youthful appearance, I can tell you the birth date posted on my driver’s license is correct. Although youthful appearance is not the only goal of adopting an anti-aging lifestyle it is a great side benefit. Our skin, without makeup or other cosmetic enhancers, provides a fairly accurate window into our overall health and aging status.

One of the major reasons the skin is so informative about our overall health is skin aging like the rest of our body is characterized by the effects of inflammation. Aging and inflammation go hand and hand. Aging in part is the accumulative effects of low-level inflammation that we are exposed to throughout our lifetime. There are numerous blood markers, such as cytokines, TNF-alpha, NFK-beta, and interleukin-2, which can be tested to quantify your body’s inflammatory status. These are important markers used also to keep track of diseases of aging as well.  This is not a coincidence.

Our skin uniquely is exposed to damaging effects of radiation and dehydration from the sun, but along with the rest of our organs suffers from the effects of environmental toxins, unhealthy dietary fats, free radicals, and other inflammatory molecules that we consume, and effects of the limit physical activity and excessive mental stress so common in our hectic society.

What are some of the best ways to preserve health and youth as we age?  What are the central causes of aging and what can we start doing today to counter or even reverse them?  My whole adult life has not been focused on trying to look younger but to preserve the youthful health I had and for the most part, still enjoyed.

Role of Inflammation and Aging

For most people, diet is the major inflammatory source of accelerated aging. Animal-based foods found in beef and pork, cheeses, and dairy contain saturated fats. Certain vegetables such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil, and palm kernel oil products have higher amounts of saturated fats as well. These oils are often found in deserts which also are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats can directly stimulate the genes in fat storage cells called adipocytes to make the inflammatory cytokines that have been linked to the onset and severity of diabetes and vascular disease. Conversely, a diet that is low in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated (mono- or polyunsaturated) fats can reduce inflammation-related diseases and allow our bodies to age healthier.

Omega-6 fats are found in many grains (corn, safflower, cottonseed) and nut-based oils and are used extensively in cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. Although they are essential for our good health excessive consumption of omega-6 also contributes to excessive body-wide inflammation. Omega-6 unlike omega-3s found in fish, seafood, and many fresh vegetables, can be converted by our bodies into inflammatory molecules called eicosanoids. Although a healthy inflammatory response, when called on by our immune system, is important to protect us from infections, and diseases like cancer as well as promote healing; high levels of omega-6 can overwhelm the O3/O6 balance needed to avoid an inflammatory state.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are both polyunsaturated fats that exist in a ratio within the membranes of every cell in our body. Over the last 150 years with industrial farming of grains like corn and sunflowers, omega-6 has become the dominant polyunsaturated oil in our diet. This shift has meant much more omega-6 is used by our cell membranes compared to omega-3. The result is not only a change in the physical properties of our cells but has contributed to what many consider the major health epidemic of the 21st century – chronic inflammatory disease.

Atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries”, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and even type 2 diabetes are all chronic inflammatory diseases and are now the most common diseases in the Western world. Although eating the wrong fats is a major contributor to chronic inflammatory diseases, other dietary causes, excessive weight and lack of physical activity, environmental toxins, and even emotional stress can all play major roles in the development and continuation of these diseases and thus accelerate the aging process.

Here is a list of some of the best and most researched tips to help reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging to remain younger on the inside and out.

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Tips to Reduce Inflammation and Promote Healthy Aging