Aging, no matter how slowly it comes on, unavoidably means more wrinkles, weaker muscles, higher risk of sickness, and so many other things that you don’t want.
It’s kind of a depressing thought really.
We’ve become obsessed with figuring out ways to stay young!
Sadly, the aging process can’t be stopped altogether (you know what they say, Father Time is undefeated).
But what about slowing it down? Well, that might be a different story.
In recent years, as we’ve come to understand the aging process a little better, researchers have discovered something that might help slow down the march of time, or at least the effect it has on your body.
Scientists are calling them zombie cells, and research has shed light on the role they play in the aging process.
Why is this important?
Because there just may be steps you can take to combat zombie cells and effectively slow down aging.
Read on to learn more.
What Are Zombie Cells?
Zombie cells, or senescent cells, were once everyday, suburban cells that had regular jobs within the society inside your body.
They were useful organisms that helped facilitate many of your important bodily functions.
After dividing and multiplying several dozen times, however, these once useful contributors underwent cellular senescence, becoming zombie cells, and ceased to serve any valuable function.
The reason they cease to divide is thought to be a natural protection mechanism against cancer. But unable to die, these zombie cells have nowhere to go and now lie dormant in your body.
Over time, they build up and accumulate like leaves falling in your yard. Only there's no lawn service to take care of them, so they just sort of sit there.
As you grow older, this buildup of zombie cells can start to become a problem, and may play a negative role in the aging process.
It’s not yet known exactly what part they fill, but it's become clear that they're a contributing factor to the negative health effects that come with age.
So why don’t we just get rid of them? Well, that’s exactly what scientists are attempting to do.
Fighting Back Against Zombie Cells
So if zombie cells are so bad, the natural solution would seem to be just getting rid of them, right?
Wouldn't that undo all the trouble they seem to be causing?
Well, it’s not quite that simple. Until a few years ago, messing with these cells was uncharted territory.
It had never been attempted before, and little was known about what possible side effects, if any, might be caused by tampering with zombie cells.
On top of that, new medical ideas including drugs, treatments, or procedures usually undergo years of testing before they become available to the public.
Only after extensive experimentation followed by successful animal trials can a project be deemed safe for experimentation on humans.
Fortunately, experimentation on the removal of zombie cells from animals seems to have been successful so far.
In preliminary experiments on mice, the removal of zombie cells resulted in reduced inflammation, delayed tumors, and increased lifespan by up to 35%.
Another study showed that the removal of these cells resulted in the restoration of damaged tissue.
Results have been so promising that human trials have been approved. This marks a major step in the battle against aging.
Ideally, the human results will be just as successful and, one day, an anti-zombie cell pill will be available for you and me.
But while this certainly sounds exciting, research takes time. It could be years before a drug that combats the effects of zombie cells is developed and produced.
In the meantime, you don't have to just sit around while the zombie cells settle down in the nooks and crannies of your body though.
Experts agree that living a healthy lifestyle can prevent or reverse the accumulation of senescent cells to a certain degree.
Studies show that exercise can be extremely beneficial when it comes to preserving youth and combating the effects of aging.
But you already knew exercise is good for you.
Something that you may not have considered as an anti-aging tactic is intermittent fasting.
If you’re unfamiliar with Intermittent fasting, you can learn more here. Essentially, it’s abstaining from food for a certain period of time.
Most of those who practice intermittent fasting designate a window of time each day during which they eat all their daily calories.
The most common method is 16-8, where food is eaten during 8 hours of each day, while the remaining 16 hours are a period of fasting.
The primary reason many people fast intermittently is for weight loss, but new research suggests that it may diminish the effects of zombie cells within your body.
One possible explanation for this is the impact diet can have on autophagy, the process by which your body rids itself of old, damaged cells and generates new ones.
In one study, senescence-accelerated mice were put on an eight-week intermittent fasting protocol. Prior to beginning the fasting regimen, the mice exhibited unbalanced levels of certain proteins, including decreased sirtuin 1, a protein which influences autophagy.
At the end of the eight weeks, the mice exhibited balanced levels of sirtuin 1, accompanied by normalized expression of other proteins which may impact the degree to which zombie cells exist in the body.
These results suggest that intermittent fasting might have a real impact on zombie cells. This is invaluable information in the fight against aging.
It means that you might just be able to combat age-related health and wellness problems without medical intervention.
That means fewer doctor bills and a higher quality of life, all with just one relatively simple diet change.
Although science may be several years away from rolling out an effective anti-aging drug, you can bring the battle against zombie cells to the dinner table.
Making intermittent fasting a part of your life may have some real benefits when it comes to managing zombie cells and slowing down the effects of aging!
Want to learn more about intermittent fasting's benefits and how it can influence your weight loss efforts? Click here to learn all about it!