Could an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise contribute to an increased rate of aging?
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging found that exercise prevents premature senescent cell accumulation and protects against the damaging effects of an unhealthy diet, including deficiencies in physical, heart, and metabolic function, equivalent to diabetes.
“We think at both a biological level and a clinical level, poor nutrition choices and inactive lifestyles do accelerate aging,” says Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., director of the Center on Aging’s Healthy and Independent Living Program and senior author of the study Dr. LeBrasseur points to data that highlight the harmful consequences of nutrient excess and the remarkably protective influence of exercise on this biological process and, in turn, fundamental measures of physical, cardiovascular, and metabolic function.
In the face of population aging, an obesity epidemic, and global reductions in physical inactivity, researchers believe these findings have significant implications for human health.
Dr. LeBrasseur and his team contend their results show that exercise prevents the SASP within visceral adipose tissue, and remarkably, reduces aspects of the SASP when initiated after its accumulation. They further propose this is an unappreciated mechanism through which physical activity interventions may impact health span, particularly in those who are overweight or obese. They also note, the association between obesity-associated subclinical inflammation and Diabetes.
Given the considerable evidence that cellular senescence is a fundamental mechanism of aging and the genesis of chronic diseases, the researchers believe their findings reinforce the notion that lifestyle choices are powerful determinants of health span.
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