Inflammaging

close up herb turmeric capsules isolated on white background

A considerable amount of studies have shown that the ageing process is usually accompanied by constant low-grade inflammation that researchers call “inflammaging”. Basically it refers to inflammation associated with cellular ageing.

Whilst acute inflammation often causes immediate problems such as rashes, heat in the body, loss of function, pain and swelling, chronic low-grade inflammation is considered far more dangerous because the symptoms are not immediately visible but this type of inflammation is thought to contribute significantly to mortality rates as we age.

Ageing is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cell mutation, narrowing of the arteries and arthritis. Although ageing in not preventable, the inflammation that is responsible for many of these diseases is targetable. Read More…

Turmeric – The Spice With Health Benefits

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Many modern pharmaceutical drugs have been derived directly from plants and fungal species that have been shown to demonstrate remarkable abilities to improve wellbeing or have an effect on diseases at a molecular level. Notable examples include aspirin from willow bark and the discovery of penicillin from a mould by Alexander Fleming. Increasingly, scientists continue to discover plant compounds that demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties, intervene in cell mutation, have powerful antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and may also slow down the ageing process due to their antioxidant properties. Turmeric is one such compound that has been, and still is, studied extensively for all the above benefits.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which country turmeric originated from, there is a huge likelihood that it was first grown in India. Indian cuisine not only includes the wonderfully fragrant and flavourful ginger, chilli and cardamom, but also turmeric, which is widely used in many curry dishes. Turmeric is not only used in Indian cuisine but it has been revered by Chinese medicine and in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties for more than 3000 years.

In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used extensively because of its ability to curb inflammation and helping in the treatment of a variety of disorders. It is mixed with honey to form a thick paste, which can be taken orally for sore throats and colds or applied to skin for infections and inflammatory skin concerns. Turmeric powder is also commonly used in Asia for the relief of stomach complaints and for kidney and bladder infections. In Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used for the relief of arthritis for thousands of years.

These faith-based claims have been the subject of hundreds of experiments to evaluate if turmeric really does have beneficial properties. What has emerged from these studies is that turmeric contains a group of polyphenol plant pigments called curcumin, and it is this compound that is responsible for some of turmeric’s remarkable properties. Read More…

The Science of Staying Younger

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Staying younger without stopping time is something most of us would love to master. Yet, ageing is a multi-faceted process with numerous factors that can have an effect on it. The cells of our bodies are programmed to have a finite lifespan. Each time a cell divides, some genetic material is lost so that on average, forty to fifty cell divisions later, the cell is considered to be aged. Nutrition plays a vital role in the science of ageing. Some nutrients accelerate ageing whilst others help to protect against it. The theory of free radical damage and the role of antioxidant nutrients is well understood by most people. It states that the body produces reactive, unstable agents known as free radicals during normal metabolism, exposure to ultraviolet light or environmental toxins. Antioxidants neutralise these free radicals helping to protect the body against damage.

The science of ageing and telomeres is now rapidly growing. Among the leading experts in this field is Dr Elizabeth Blackburn from the University of California who, along with her colleagues, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”.

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