Free «Anti-Aging» Essay Sample
Table of Contents
Nowadays, it is established that some fish (carp, pike) and animals (wild boar) live about 300 years. The life of turtle reaches a few centuries; monkeys, swans and some species of parrots can live for 100 - 300 years (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 21). However, for average people, old age is a condition that is known to everybody and does not require a special explanation. The body starts aging, and the abovementioned period of life begins. The average length of life of a human is the average number of years lived by all individuals born in a given time in a certain area. The easier definition is that it is the life expectancy at birth. The world population is constantly aging. People are becoming increasingly older. In 1950, in the world population, there were only 200 million people older than 60 years that accounted for 7.7% of the total population of the Earth. 25 years later, their number reached 350 million (8.5%). Now, approximately 200 thousand of people cross the line of 60 years on a daily basis (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 22). In 40 years, the number of older persons will exceed the number of children on the planet twice and may approximate a billion. Gerontologists believe that the average human age is 45-59 years, senior age is 60-74 years, and only then, senile age begins which starts from 75 years and beyond. Those who are over 90 years old are regarded as centenarians (Walford and Walford, 2005, pp. 22-23). Currently, the average life expectancy is 70 years (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 22). However, this number cannot be considered the limit; it will grow in the future. In this regard, it is evidenced by a continuous increase in the number of older people around the world. This paper will indicate several points of view on the issue of anti-aging.
A human being is intimately connected with the conditions of the environment, in which he or she exists. The weight of various factors have a substantial impact on the life expectancy. These include, for example, climatic factors such as the barometric pressure, air temperature and humidity, air composition, solar radiation and others. Through adaptive mechanisms, young and middle-aged people quickly react to changes such as pressure, temperature changes and so on. However, the vital factor is the intake of essential elements by the organism.
As a rule, it is mistakenly believed that a person cannot live without being ill and aging. However, the science of a human body has gained so much knowledge that now, people can take care of their health. It is established that a healthy longevity requires a certain lifestyle. According to the one point of view, a person can live 300, 400, or even 1,000 years if the body is provided with all the necessary substances for life. This opinion is shared by many naturalists dealing with the problems of longevity. For example, Lanza and Gearhart (2009) consider 1000 years to be a normal human life span. The human body is made up of protoplasm. In terms of protoplasm, there is nothing that can get old or cannot be updated. The duration of animal life can be increased by food which contains all the necessary elements. Previously, people simply did not have knowledge of the needs of their organisms, and, therefore, could not meet them. Therefore, this led them to severe illnesses and early deaths (Lanza and Gearhart, 2009, p. 19). Now, it is known that the majority of centenarians live in rural areas; their life span is approximately two times more than that of people living in cities. Studying the biographies of centenarians allows to plainly conclude that their whole life, specifically from young age till old one, is associated with stable environmental conditions and a healthy ration.
The goal of modern biotechnology is to stop humans from aging at the age of 20-30 years. Studies show that this task is feasible. This point of view is associated with the notion of aging plateau. The infant mortality rate is high, since the immune system is only being formed. Then, the probability of death begins to decrease. In 30-40 years, the probability of dying is still substantially small. It means that if a person stops aging at this point, the average human life will be about 1000 years or even more, until the infinity.
The statistics of mortality involves hints of such a possibility. The probability of death over the years is growing fast to a considerable degree. However, it turns out that at the age of 100 years, the curve of mortality rate comes into the so-called plateau. People who live to 100 years, consequently, cease to age. Unfortunately, the probability to survive over this plateau till the next year is substantially low. However, at the same, the fact that this curve does not always grow, instead it can sometimes be horizontal, shows that there are certain mechanisms in biology which are able to stop the human aging.
In this sense, the cessation of aging can occur in people who are fortunate enough to live up to 100-110 years. The bad aspect is that this process takes place only at the age of 100 years, when the probability of surviving until the next year is rather low. The challenge of modern biology engineers is to learn how to capture a plateau at an earlier age, when a person is more active and healthier, as well as find out how to preserve this human condition. Scientists think that this is possible, since there are animals that do not age in the usual human understanding. In this regard, they have a low probability of death regardless of the age, and they live for a long time. In theory, with a proper care and under ideal conditions, they can live indefinitely.
According to another point of view, one of the main factors affecting the duration of life is metabolism (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 67). By limiting the intake of calories, reducing the energy consumption and decreasing the metabolic rate, it can result in slowing down the process of aging; thus, the increased life expectancy occurs. There are rare organisms that live forever due to a slow metabolism. For example, jellyfish and hydras reproduce cells that are found throughout their bodies. All their energy is spent on the maintenance and repairs of these cells. Hydra can be cut into a hundred of pieces, and a new hydra will grow from each of them (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 56). In addition, for example, metabolism of mice is significantly higher than that of turtles. Therefore, mice live only three years, and turtles can live until 150 years old. Therefore, mice should begin to reproduce as early as possible; meanwhile, for turtles, it takes a century. Thus, the life expectancy of a human can be changed due to altering the metabolic rate. Mice's metabolism slows down in the environment, where there is little food. People who consume less food have their metabolism slightly slowing down; and as a result, the life expectancy increases. However, this point of view has several uncertain points. On the one hand, the duration of life is enhanced due to significant changes aimed at reducing the energy consumption by 30-50%; on the other hand, reducing the consumption of calories for more than 50% will significantly shorten human lives (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 70).
Furthermore, it can be suggested that the increase in the life expectancy is not directly dependent on a low-calorie diet, but only indirectly connected with it. In the wild, the increase in the life expectancy at a low-calorie diet would be unlikely as a limited diet is compromising the ability of the immune system to fight infections. In addition, it reduces the muscle force that is required for escaping from predators.
The effect of prolonging life by limiting food is associated with the action of the defense mechanism that helps the body to survive. In This regard, the organism can contribute to the gene pool of the population and leave offspring (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 65). Thus, this effect is associated with a protective mechanism that helps the body to survive for future breeding. Nevertheless, it was shown that dietary restrictions had a connection with the increased replacement of nutrients into the cell and increased the level of DNA repair, when it was damaged (Walford and Walford, 2005, p. 69). The organism can live with less food, since reserve nutrients, such as glycogen which is the main storage form of glucose in the cells, are recycled and reused.
The increase in the life expectancy of organisms with a low consumption of nutrients is explained by the increased level of intracellular metabolism using spare nutrients that slow the process of aging and prolong life. This is a highly intriguing aspect in terms of the human longevity. Although the increase in the life expectancy may simply be a side effect of the limited consumption, a better understanding of the underlying cellular mechanisms may contribute to longer, healthier lives.
Very few people live until 100 years or more due to special genes that control the aging process. A number of animals ( namely, mammals, reptiles, shellfish, and other species) do not age, which means that they possess a unique gene, making it possible to live for a long time (Goldsmith, 2014, p. 26). Almost every species of animals has this possibility. The evolution has repeatedly introduced a combination of such genes in tems of different species of animals. It is essential to think about where these animals come from and the reason why these animals ceased to age at some point with regard to the evolutionary process.
If looking at all the cases of animals that do not age, it can be concluded that these animals are not subjected to the natural selection in the usual sense. Thus, it is difficult to eat a tortoise after it has grown to a certain size; a bowhead whale does not have enemies among animals; a naked mole rat has learned to dig such tunnels that no one can dig up; and there are other similar examples (Goldsmith, 2014, p. 27). Each of these animals has lost the probability of dying at an early age. This means that those who have lived for a long time and left a lot of offspring begin to survive.
Thus, as soon as the probability of early death disappears for some reasons, the evolution creates a condition aimed at increasing the life expectancy. An individual who lives longer gives more offspring and, therefore, leaves more longevity genes in the population. Thus, increasingly more animals will have a gene similar to the gene of such person. In a sense, perhaps, people possessing such genes are already living. However, the process of evolution of humans as the ageless species is not yet completed due to the fact that people are still substantially youthful spices. From the beginning of the 20th century, in terms of human beings, there is no natural selection as people have begun to defend themselves against infectious diseases (namely, in the form of vaccination and antibiotics) and predators, as well.
There is a certain specific point of view which consists in the fact that anti-aging is a disease. It is so rare, that this disease has not received a name yet. Currently, there are only a few people around the world suffering from this disease. According to this point of view, the only certain rare disease of non-aging, in which children do not show any signs of aging, can be considered a means of longevity (Lam and Lam, 2012, p. 36). The culmination in this regard is the assumption that the disease is hiding the key to immortality or substantially long duration of life for other people. It is not known yet what genetic defects or mutations slow down the aging process of these people to a considerable degree, but unfortunately, these same processes make them deaf (Lam and Lam, 2012, p. 37). This information indicates that aging is an evolutionary and, therefore, genetically determined process.
As it can be seen from the mentioned above, the study findings in regard to the overall longevity predominantly concern the caloric restriction that leads to the metabolism deceleration, genetic factors, plateau effect, new approaches connected with unknown diseases, etc. However, despite many researches in these areas, their influence on the human lifespan is likely to be not too large. Unfortunately, humanity is still substantially far from solving the problem of removal of the aging process. At the same time, the most believable and reasonable point of view consists in the fact that aging is a state of mind. A person can change the perception of their own age and create new patterns that affect the physical and psychological condition. Thus, among others, there is another, more crucial factor. It is a personal attitude toward life and the respective desire to live.
The longevity depends largely on people themselves. The lust for life helps incurable patients to survive despite the doctors' predictions. If believing that anti-aging can be achieved, a person should do anything possible to achieve it. In this regard, people can help themselves by using both the achievements of modern science and their own strengths - both mental and physical. Very few people know what they can really do. Self-knowledge will open people's eyes in terms of their abilities. They will be able to see what they can get if serious efforts are put in place. The human body is a unique self-updating system, but even it cannot function properly without the right materials. Each person is well equipped in order to dare to live long. Ancestors, who had won in the struggle for existence, took care of it. If a person is convinced that the memory must get worse with the years, it will happen to him or her. If people are deprived of stereotypes about their own old age, it is most likely that they will not lose the ability to develop intellectually.
All depends on the desires of a human being. In other words, people must always have goals and plans for the future that consist in moving forward. Old age begins at the moment of loss of interest in life, when desires cease, and people stop striving for something new, preferring to rest, while being satisfied with what they have. The secret of anti-aging is focusing on this inner movement. The bottom line is that a person should not simply seek to achieve any of their selfish goals that can deliver a short satisfaction only to themselves, but to start taking into account the needs of others. In addition, the essential factor is the interaction with the public in order to achieve a common positive purpose. Such cooperation can actually undo the aging process, make life filled and happy for many years.