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Can we live longer than we live?

There are still insufficient answers to the number of questions that arise regarding aging and how to live longer (or how to “die young” as late as possible), but there are already those who are delving into the nature like a sea of ​​possibilities.

And it is that, even if we assimilate it as something inevitable i naturalaging presents different facets in nature: from jellyfish capable of reverting to their adult state as many times as they want, to trees and locusts that die by accident and never by age.

In an interview with EFEsalut, the young Danish scientist Nicklas Brendborgmember of Novo Nordisk International Scientific Talent Programtells us in his book “The immortal jellyfish: everything you need to know to live longer(Destination Editions) how the forms of aging in the natural habitat can give us clues to deal with ours.

“There are animals that demonstrate that, biologically speaking, it is possible to live much longer than a human being”, this is how Nicklas Bendborg summarizes the essence of his work for EFEsalut.

An ever-present concern

Nickas Brendborg-aging-living longer
Nicklas Brendborg, author of “The immortal jellyfish, everything you need to know to live longer”

Taken from physical aging, human beings, before even the beginning of civilization, were already asking questions to which we still do not know the answers. The construction of legends, the experimentation to find eternal youth or the obsession that many have fallen into throughout history is a consequence.

Science, based on the empirical, tries to find the key to longevity. Nicklas Brendborg joins with his work this “joint battle” against aging. Because, as the young biomed points out, regardless of ethnicity, gender, wealth or education, we all age.

Brendborg begins his foray into the field of aging by taking as a basis animals such as the bowhead whale.

Living longer is biologically possible

In biology it is very common to extrapolate the case of other animals to humans and the closer we are to this species, the more similarities we find: “That’s why I’m talking about the bowhead whale, another mammal”, he explains.

The bowhead whale can reach 200 years. But…Why this animal can and we can’t?

“The question is this: Why not? These animals show that it is possible”, says the researcher.

Of course, the bowhead whale is not the only animal whose life expectancy is surprising. Nature presents true wonders. “The Greenland shark that lives 400 years, lobsters that don’t even age or jellyfish that age in reverse… All this is biologically not impossible“, he points out.

The point is that the human being encounters biological limits, the deterioration of our physical capacity and all the changes after puberty. But Brendborg qualifies: “At least in current human biology”. At this moment we are not able to avoid the ravages of the passage of time, although what the young scientist values ​​is this question:What makes us different?“.

How to “die young” as late as possible

Among scientific research that points to promising drugsthe role of dream in the regeneration of what are known as “zombie cells”, the importance of the hygienic habit of “passing the dental floss“, and how what seems like a solution can become a problem, the author points out in his book certain keys that can prolong our lives.

Starve to live longer?

At no point was it said that the answers would all be to our liking. Because, as controversial as it sounds, the caloric restriction prolongs our lives. And, as if that wasn’t enough, experiments with mice showed that the longest-lived were those who suppressed extreme hunger. However, long-term experiments with monkeys did not produce the same results (at least not in the expected proportion) and, as expected, there were no volunteers willing to try it.

Of course, Brendborg insists, it’s not about going hungry, but rather about don’t overdo it And even if we don’t want to strictly follow caloric restriction, perhaps the key is to reproduce its effect without suffering from it.

the fast

The role of fasting as part of this caloric restriction process in the experiments is noteworthy. Because without him, the results were rather different. What’s more, fasting, by itself and without restricting the rodents’ caloric intake, was also shown to extend their lives.

The coffee

The role of coffee is not overlooked in the play: caffeine is a familiar name appetite suppressant and, for added emphasis, if consumed without milk and without sugar, it has no calories. But, in addition to all this, the book notes that there are studies that show that those who consume between two and four cups of coffee have lower mortality rate.

coffee-consumption-sustainable, live longer
EFE/ Luis Eduardo Noriega

Superstitions and the placebo effect: is belief power?

The formula “anti aging” is neither known nor known if it will be known. But when in doubt, we often copy those who seem to have found the key. The problem is that most of the time we will be imitating superficial routines.

The secret to aging isn’t to follow to the letter the diet of someone who has made it to 100, just as we won’t become successful people by copying the routine of those who have already. There are conditioning factors that are not always perceptible.

The marketing behind the anti-aging properties

In the same vein, Brendborg talks about “miracle products” and the business interests behind their positive image, which does nothing but encourage their consumption.

He insists, in this sense, that in many studies variables that are not of interest are left out, so we must be skeptical when talking about anti-aging properties of products like winefor example.

Because, in this case, perhaps the reason why it is considered a drink with anti-aging properties is none other than the fact that its consumption usually occurs in higher income levels. Economic indulgence and the type of life associated with it (in which a better diet is contemplated, among other things) is intrinsically associated with longevity.

That its drinkers tend to live longer, therefore, probably has more to do with the kind of life they lead than with the fact that they consume wine.

“If there is something that sounds easy and good, we believe it. It is part of human psychology”, says the expert in relation to wine consumption.

Of course, in this context we cannot ignore the “placebo effect” and weight in the matter of aging.

Does Believing Something Slows Aging Really Slow It?

“I usually joke about it. I’m not sure if it can be proven scientifically, but it’s already been proven in many medicines”, says Brendborg to EFEsalut, referring to those cases in which improvement has been detected in patients treated with placebo.

Because, even if it’s not a certainty, maybe believing that something slows down aging can slow it down.

The importance of exercise

There are many studies that show that exercise is essential. As we age, we lose muscle mass and therefore become weaker. Physical exercise, especially aerobicit’s a guaranteed antiaging recipe.

Elderly Cuba
EFE/Alejandro Ernesto.

Mental health, mood and social relationships

As part of the placebo effect, those who they feel younger, they manage to live longer. And in the same way, those who are happy too. So, we cannot overlook the importance of mood and mental health.

“Our mind leads the body in many ways”.

portada-medusa-immortal, live longer

As part of all this, we include the social relations. because the human being, like so many others, is a social being. What’s more, loneliness is one of the factors most related to premature death. And you just have to see that we are not the only ones in nature that depend on the social environment, The same thing happens with baboons!

Ultimately, even if we have genetics, if we are not happy, lonely or do not have a healthy social environment, we will be reducing our life expectancy by leaps and bounds.

Reading light, simplifying science

However, aging research is still “in diapers“. This is indicated by the author, who tries to make his work a way of simplifying the science behind it all, to reach everyone. And he finds in his contribution an infinite number of future possibilities.

When it comes to aging, Brendborg comments: “I think this is a very rich field, scientifically speaking. You could see it as a puzzle, although we are still missing many pieces, although we are getting a sense of what it will be.”

In the eyes of the scientist, achieving true progress will be a very long journey. Because despite the fact that changes and advances can already be predicted in the scientific and medical world, we may not be there to see it: “Will we see it? Well I don’t know. We might be the last generation before that happens, how unlucky, isn’t it?” he jokes.

“The advantage of science is that nothing remains closed”

Because even if the questions raised are answered, there will always be a possibility in the air that the entire budget is a lie. Investigating these limboes is, perhaps, what makes progress expand and nod.

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