Jim-Jim asks: I wanna live forever.. . BUT HOW?
A: There’s a bunch of theories about living forever. Ponce DeLeon looked for a creek with magic water. Maybe he would have found it if he used a flying rug.
Then there’s Tom Robbins. In his book “Jitterbug Perfume” he suggests if you take nice hot bath’s and eat plenty of beets, you’ll live forever. Well maybe. The books really funny and I would recommend that everyone who can read…read it.
Now for the serious stuff…
First we have to draw the difference between Life Span and Life Expectancy. Life Expectancy is defined as the average amount of time that a species lives. Life Span is the maximum amount of time that a species can live. It’s unlikely that increasing an organisms Life Span will happen anytime soon. Some say it’ll never happen. I say never say never.
The main theories on the aging process can be summarized into a few categories.
1) . Caloric Restriction – Early research in the 60’s focused on the phenomena that organisms appear to live longer if their caloric intake is greatly reduced. I guess this would be ok if you don’t mind being hungry for the rest of your life, you might want to consult a model before trying this.
2) . Genetic – Different theories range from telomeric unraveling (chromosome ends unravel) to the break down of the original genetic code.
3) . Free Radicals – (No, this has nothing to do with freeing political prisoners) This term is used to describe the by-products of Super-Oxide, basically an O2 molecule with an extra electron in the wrong orbital, causes all kinds of havoc inside cells. This is the result of respiration (breathing) so it’s kind of hard to avoid. This seems to be a favored area of research since Free Radicals can cause damage in the genetic structure of a cell, the cell membranes, protein production , as well as the proteins themselves.
Recently, research studying the effect of Super-Oxide Dismutase (the natural anti-oxidants in most organisms) gave the misleading result that increasing the number of genes that produce Super-Oxide Dismutase will increase the Life Span of an organism. Apparently it had only increased the Life Expectancy of the test group. In other words, more of the test group lived up to, or close to, the normal maximum age (Life Expectancy) for the species tested but none exceeded the Life Span for that Species.
There are other antioxidants too, your body doesn’t have to make them (which requires extra energy). Vitamin E neutralizes antioxidants and pulls them from inside the cell (where they can do damage) and puts them in the cell’s outer membrane, while vitamin C can gather the neutralized antioxidants from the cell membrane so they can be flushed out of the body. This appears to be a good “combo”, to prevent cellular damage so a few E and C supplements would probably do your body good. There are a lot of C and E in fresh fruits and vegetables too.
Although living forever doesn’t seem likely any time soon, it appears that the best solution to your question lies in the obvious. Specific nutrients and vitamins help prevent the aging process so a diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit would decrease your caloric intake and provide the necessary nutrients, while exercise increases the over all fitness of the body; therefore, decreasing the environmental stress on the body.
In Summary, do what your momma’s been telling you for years…eat right and exercise for goodness sake.