The Aging Arocess - and Fasting's Anti-aging Potential
There are a number of competing theories as to just what constitutes the mechanics of the aging process, but there is an increasing agreement that it is probably a combination of interacting elements - all happening at the same time. This was neatly summarised in Newsweek (March 5 1990) by journalists Sharon Begley and Mary Hager,
"One theory holds that the changes that accompany aging are the inevitable result of life itself. DNA, the molecule of heredity, occasionally makes mistakes as it goes about its business of synthesising proteins; metabolism produces toxic avengers (free radials) that turn lipids [fats] in our cells rancid and proteins 'rusty'. This damage accumulates until the organism falls apart like an old jalopy....The other theory argues that aging is genetic, programmed into the organism like puberty. there is evidence for both sides."
So we either gradually start to malfunction and fall apart because of wear and tear and the effects of accumulated toxic materials, and/or the whole process is as inevitable as growth, puberty and the menopause - it is preprogrammed in our cells.
Research into how to slow down this inevitable process has been focusing ever greater attention on to what has been termed 'calorie restriction' as a means of successfully reversing (or at least slowing) the decline into decrepitude and death.
The principle researchers in this field are Americans Richard Weindruch PhD and Roy Walford MD. (2)
I have summarised their work and added other evidence to support the value of 'calorie restriction' (which includes the use of fasting, monodiets and exclusion/elimination diets) in my own books on the subject, Natural Life Extension and my detoxification text Body Tonic (formerly published by GAIA as Clear Body Clear Mind)