We’ve previously spoken about how we might introduce foods and supplements to our diet to improve health span and lifespan. Here we explore activities and other therapies that show potential in living healthier and longer. We also explore things you perhaps should stop doing to improve health and longevity.
Mitochondria are organelles, basically, little functional units within cells, much like an organ is to our body. They provide power to our cells by delivering ATP to the cells and are thought to once be free-ranging bacteria. It is thought that the break down of mitochondrial function is one of, if not the main contributor to aging.
So, what can we do to support mitochondria? Activities that support mitochondria include:
- Caloric Restriction helps decrease mitochondrial free radicals(1)(2) and increases biogenesis(3).
- Fasting works similar to CR and may actually achieve CR by way of reduced calories in total due to a smaller window for eating. It can also heal decrease free radicals and oxidisation(4)(5) as well as reducing inflammation and activating SIRT3(6).
- Cold therapy or cold stress, generates brown adipose tissue which then generates ATP and heat(7). It can also improve mitochondrial biogenesis(8). Cold therapy also helps the body generate norepinephrine(9). The start of beneficial effects may be as simple as flipping your shower to cold for the last 30 seconds!
- Heat therapy or heat shock can increase the demands of mitochondria and cause them to respond to oxygen in the blood more efficiently through a process called oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)(10). Exposure to heat between 40 and 75 degrees for 15-30 minutes will start the benefits(11).
- Exercise can stimulate mitochondrial growth, oxidative capacity and glycogen and lipid syntheses(12).
- Sleep is super critical to health and longevity. More to the point, lack of sleep, especially as a chronic condition has major negative effects on our mitochondrial health(13)(14)(15)(16). Sleep deprivation has also shown to impact cognitive and memory function(17)(18).
- Light Therapy is the use of near infrared and red light at specific wavelengths. It activates cytochrome C oxidase (CCO) in mitochondria(19) and can be attributed to better reaction times(20), reduce chronic inflammation(21) and balance testosterone(22).
Autophagy and Senolytics
Put simply, autophagy is the process by which our cells do spring cleaning. Senolytics are molecules that help senescent cells to be discarded and recycled. Senescent cells are cells that are no longer healthily dividing via apoptosis.
Great, so what can we do to encourage this?
- Fasting is one of the best ways to induce autophagy(23)(24)(25).
- Caloric and protein restriction and ketogenic eating all help support autophagy also.
- Intense exercise is also another good way to induce autophagy(26)(27), not that we need any more excuses to get regular exercise!
- Hot stress can help induce autophagy also(28)(29)(30).
- Cold Therapy, much like heat shock, can also trigger or support aurophagy(31).
- Sleep, or lack thereof, can also impact autophagy(32).
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