The Science of RejuvenationCornelius O'Shaughnessy
For thousands of years, people have been using creams, potions, lotions and procedures to try and hold back the clock.
Botox and fillers are commonplace and nearly everyone has a moisturiser that claims to fight the ageing process. However, people are beginning to realise that the best approach to healthy ageing is from the inside out.
People are increasingly looking to diets, nutritional therapies, spas and retreats, not only for general wellbeing and to help them manage their health concerns, but also as a preventative - to ensure that they stay healthy and age well. People want to be as well as they can for as long as can, and they realise that to do this they need to support their body and their ageing process.
What causes ageing?
We are naturally designed to age. This is thought to be due to the accumulation of damage that occurs to our cells and organs, leading to pathological conditions and eventually death.
Ageing is most certainly due to inherited genetic factors, but there are also environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle and stress which trigger our genes and contribute to the ageing process. Our genes reaction to environmental factors is known as epigenetics.
How to rejuvenate the body
An anti-ageing programme is a bit more complex than just having more water in your diet, lowering sugar intake or increasing vegetables in your diet. While these are all important and will certainly help you age well, we need a much deeper and more personalised approach if we really want to prime the body's rejuvenation process and extend our years as much as we can.
Understand Your Genetics and Biological Data - A Functional Medicine Approach to Rejuvenation
Your genes are your body's blueprint - millions of pieces of data that can switch on or off and express themselves in a variety of ways.
There is now growing evidence that the ageing process can be slowed down by adopting a personalised diet and nutrigenomic programme. Knowing your biological data and using nutrition to positively impact gene expression allows you to work in harmony with your biology.
It is important to remember that looking at your genetic blueprint alone is not enough. You need to investigate which genes are actually affecting the body and expressing themselves. You also need to look at all of the other factors that can affect your health and the body's ability to rejuvenate. To do this, your Doctor or Nutritional Therapist needs to gather as much information about your body as possible through a range of biological tests and careful consultation processes.
Areas that need to be investigated include:
- Digestion: ruling out any infection such as parasites, Helicobacter Pylori, Sibo or yeast, digestive ability, inflammation, food intolerances/sensitivities and assessing leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- Addressing hormone health: This includes understanding stress hormones, thyroid hormones and sex hormones.
- Vitamin, mineral and omega 3,6,9 deficiencies
- Current oxidative stress in the body
- Heavy metal load
- Diet, lifestyle and environment
All of these factors can be tested for, analysed and results built into a highly personalised dietary, supplement and lifestyle programme.
Additionally, there is mounting evidence that fasting is the key to longevity. Fasting causes a number of metabolic and genetic changes that are beneficial for the body and support our bodies’ natural rejuvenation process.
Research shows that fasting has a positive impact on:
Gene expression: longevity and disease prevention genes are activated.
Human growth hormones: growth hormones may increase to as much as 5 times its usual level, promoting fat loss, an increase in muscle mass and other benefits.
Autophagy: science shows that fasting induces cellular repair by breaking down and metabolising dysfunctional proteins inside our cells6.
Brain and nerve health: fasting reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin in the body, all of which have been shown to support brain health. Fasting has also been shown to promote neurogenesis, increasing the growth of new nerve cells.
Weight management: fasting decreases insulin, increases growth hormones and boosts our metabolism, helping us to maintain a healthy weight.
Inflammation reduction: studies show that fasting can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which play a key role in the development of illness and disease.
Cardiovascular support: a positive impact on blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar.
Fasting may seem daunting, but it can be very simple to integrate into your lifestyle and doesn't always have to mean going for days without food.
Some ways to integrate fasting into your lifestyle and reap its rejuvenation benefits include:
5-hour gaps in between meals
16-hour fasts. This is a lot easier than it sounds. Eat your last meal before 8 pm and don't consume food again until 12 pm the next day. This gives you an 8-hour eating window. If you have never done this method before then it's recommended to try it once or twice a week to start with and see if this way of eating works well for you.
Longer fasts - longer fasts of three to four days can be fantastic for the body. These can consist of low sugar cold-pressed juices and a soup or very light meal in the evening.
For a short weekend fast that also floods your body with nutrition, you can try the Bodhimaya Home Juice Fast
Always consult with your doctor before making a change to your diet or embarking on a fast or cleanse, especially if you’re on medication, have a health condition or if you have any unusual symptoms. Fasting isn’t suitable if you are pregnant or if you a history of eating disorder. If you’re highly stressed or suffering from exhaustion then fasting protocols will often have to be modified and adapted.
The best place to do an extended fast is at a spa, clinic or retreat under expert guidance and supervision, where your programme can be tailored to your exact needs.