Slowing the ageing process

Most of us do not feel our age, and like to think we are five, or 10 or even 20 years younger than our real years.

Nothing wrong with the above, of course. But usually – and sadly – whatever we ‘feel’ is not reflected in the way we actually look thanks to wrinkling skin, difficult to shake-off extra fat and the occasional memory lapse.

Don’t bury that feel-good factor just yet, however. According to American biochemist Bruce Ames showering our bodies with a little TLC and a daily dose of vitamins could slow the ageing process. He believes many ageing-related illnesses, from cancer to heart disease, could be linked to not taking enough common vitamins and minerals.

As a biochemist who invented one of the first tests for cancer causing substances, Bruce Ames in 1998 was awarded the US National Medal of Science for his ‘creativity, resolve and restless spirit of innovation’ by President Clinton. And despite being in his late-70s, he is still driven by research, overseeing experiments to slow the body’s response to time and gravity.

At an American Association of Advancement of Science’s conference in Boston a few weeks ago, Bruce Ames noted how studies showed that shortages of vitamins and minerals are linked to a host of ageing related diseases, including bowel cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes as well as prostrate and bowel cancers. He said his own work shows lack of nutrients may accelerate ageing itself.

Bruce Ames said he did not think that the decades of effort to improve people’s diets had succeeded in our fast food era. Instead, he proposes it would be easier to convince everyone to take a vitamin pill a day.

In some other news from the health front for us mature folks, a French study just published in the American College of Cardiology found that blood pressure drugs may help people who also suffer from irregular heartbeat.

One person in 20 aged over 70 suffers from irregular heartbeat, which can cause palpitations, shortness of breath and tiredness. And increase the risk of a stroke.

Involving almost 3,600 patients who had experienced irregular heartbeat or were at risk of developing it, the study found that those taking blood pressure drugs, or statins, were 61 percent less likely to develop the condition than patients not taking such medications.

Hope this all helps, folks. Live long, live well.