If you suffer from a lot of stress and you suffer from a lot of anxiety, you will likely suffer from a weakened immune system which will manifest itself in the appearance of premature aging. This premature aging is not just a few extra lines in your face, but the physical manifestation of a cellular immune disruption of your entire body. This chronic disruption can lead to advancing disease, joint pain, and a myriad of other symptoms and health concerns.
We all know someone, a loved one, friend, maybe yourself who has had a lot of worry. We can see it in their faces. They look tired and worn down. “Old beyond their years.” They have no energy and live in constant anxiety. Can anything be done to help reverse this damage? Is there hope? Research has been very robust in suggesting, yes there are things that can help and these things are related to food intake, reducing inflammation, and enhancing our immune systems. While the science maybe complicated, the suggestions can be simple.
Oxidation-inflammation theory of aging – stress equals premature aging and illness
We are going to start with a 2014 paper as the introduction to our research and bring this research up to 2020. This paper from a Spanish research team published in the journal Current pharmaceutical design (1) explained that:
“According to the oxidation-inflammation theory of aging, chronic oxidative stress and inflammatory stress situations (with higher levels of oxidant and inflammatory compounds and lower antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses) are the basis of the age related impairment of organism functions, including those of the nervous and immune systems, as well as of the neuroimmune communication, which explains the altered homeostasis and the resulting increase of morbidity and mortality.”
You probably caught the keywords here: Oxidation, inflammation chronic stress, inflammatory stress, low antioxidants, low anti-inflammatory defenses, these are the the challanges that cause premature aging.
Next: too much inflammation. Continuing with this paper.
“Overproduction of oxidant compounds can induce an inflammatory response, since oxidants are inflammation effectors. Thus, oxidation and inflammation are interlinked processes and have many feedback loops.” Now what does this inflammatory response do?
Anxiety and deterioration of the immune system
“oxidative-inflammatory situation occurs in subjects with anxiety, and this situation contributes to an immunosenescence (this is the medical term for comprised, reduced, altered immune system), alteration of survival responses and shorter life span.”
“This (paper) supports the hypothesis that anxiety can be a situation of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation, especially in brain and immune cells, and this accelerates the rate of aging.
This is obvious science. Stress and inflammation cause premature aging and immune system compromise.
Reversing immunosenescence – preventing immune system breakdown
Study: physical exercise, intake of antioxidants such as resveratrol and curcumin helpful
A December 2018 study in the medical journal Aging and Disease (2) offered a long-list of possible ways to reversing immunosenescence and restore the immune system. Among the suggestions were “intermittent fasting (which needs to be discussed with your doctor), physical exercise, intake of antioxidants such as resveratrol and curcumin which have shown considerable promise for improving function in aging, some of which are ready for large-scale clinical trials, as they are non-invasive, and seem to have minimal side effects.”
Resveratrol is found in red grapes, cranberries, blueberries, and nuts.
Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from the rhizomes (underground stems) of Curcuma longa Linn (a member of the ginger family, commonly known as turmeric) is a culinary spice.
Study: Lack of physical activity, decreased muscle mass, and poor nutritional status facilitate immunosenescence and inflammaging
A February 2020 study (3) suggests: “Clinically, immunosenescence is characterized by increased susceptibility to infections, a more frequent reactivation of latent viruses, decreased vaccine efficacy, and an increased prevalence of autoimmunity and cancer. . . While a lack of physical activity, decreased muscle mass, and poor nutritional status facilitate immunosenescence and inflammaging, lifestyle factors such as exercise and dietary habits affect immune aging positively.”
In these two studies we see the simple suggestions, eat better, look at antioxidant supplementation, and exercise.
The role of polyphenols, such as resveratrol in repairing stress related damage
Natural polyphenols are found in plant, fruits, vegetables, teas and medicinal herbs. One of the studied abilities of polyphenols is the ability to “induce autophagy.” Autophagy is the body’s mechanism to remove dead cells to make way for new and healthier cells. In a simple example, this would be dead skin replaced by healthy skin.
A May 2020 study (3) found that polyphenols, such as resveratrol (mentioned above), are capable of modulating the expression (causing) of pro- and anti-apoptotic (the anti-programming of cell death) factors, neutralizing free radical species (oxidants, so they act as anti-oxidant), affecting mitochondrial (improve energy) functions, chelating redox-active transition metal ions (removing toxic metals in the body associated with memory decline, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular problems), and preventing protein aggregation (The clumping together of proteins such as in Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases). Moreover, polyphenols have advantages compared to chemical inducers (drugs) of autophagy due to their intrinsic natural bio-compatibility and safety. In this context, polyphenols can be considered as a potential therapeutic tool for healthy aging either as a part of a diet or as separate compounds (supplements).
Gut microbiota – the benefits of good bacteria in suppressing premature aging
Let’s go to a March 2020 study for introduction:
In this study, (4) the researchers examined people who were over 100 years old. What they wanted to know was obvious, “how did you live so long?” One answer was found during the investigations of these people’s longevity. It was the Gut microbiota.
“Gut microbiota (GM) is a dynamic organ throughout the lifespan. Aging is a complex process that comprises a plethora of mechanisms such as senescence (aging), immunosenescence and inflammaging (inflammation that increases with aging), representing important pathways of age-related diseases.
Gut microbiota structure could both influence and be influenced by aging occurring changes within the host. A unique category of long living individuals exists, namely centenarians that have the outstanding capacity to adapt to various challenges. Longevity seems to be associated with certain Gut microbiota which, among other factors, might render individuals more resistant to age-related diseases and subsequently to long living. Diet, prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics may contribute to longevity through Gut microbiota modulating.
Our website is filled with articles that make the connection between a healthy gut microbiota that support the immune system, especially in regard to our work with cancer support. A health gut microbiota can also reduce stress and anxiety.
Healthy gut microbiota can reduce stress and anxiety and the makers of bad thoughts
In November 2016,(5) doctors at Oxford University and their colleagues at other universities, released a study entitled: Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals.
Here is a summary of their fascinating findings on how the gut and brain talk to each other about anxiety and stress.
1.Gut bacteria produce a range of neurotransmitters through the metabolism of indigestible fibers. These include the following with a very simple and general explanation of its influence:
dopamine (reward and pleasure – you feel good)
noradrenalin (alertness and sexual arousal)
GABA Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (low levels linked to anxiety and issues of chronic pain)
serotonin (low levels implicated in depression)
2.The gut produces the neurotransmitters, the neurotransmitters talk to the brain.
The gut talks to the brain through the metabolization of dietary fiber which produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) – a communication link that may control inflammation related to depression
The gut talks to the brain through the metabolization of dietary fiber which produces short-chain fatty acids. These include acetate, butyrate, lactate, and propionate.
Short-chain fatty acids have been shown to reduce low-grade inflammation.
It is suggested that inflammation plays a role in depression.
Equally high fat diets have been shown to stimulate short-chain fatty acid acetate’s role in triggering the likelihood of obesity and inflammation.
It is suggested that pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations (the inflammation that makes a disease worse) are capable of increasing the permeability of the blood–brain barrier permitting access to the potentially physically and mentally pathogenic entities.
In simplistic terms – the makers of bad thoughts because they can alter and lower levels of serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate (an amino acid involved in mental health). Strains of probiotics Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been shown to help reduce the total quantity of pro-inflammatory cytokines, either directly or by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines.
A healthy gut microbiota can reduce stress, anxiety and inflammation
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we utilize an extremely thorough series of tests, along with other diagnostic techniques, to determine your individual levels of nutrients, vitamins and intestinal flora. We have found that nearly everyone has some degree of deficiency of necessary vitamins, and in many cases, excesses of others that can lead to imbalances.
Once we’ve identified a specific imbalance, we take steps to remedy it through dietary modifications, oral supplements and intravenous nutrients, depending on the individual. This helps the body to heal itself of any illness and helps prevent additional future health problems.
1 Vida C, González EM, De la Fuente M. Increase of oxidation and inflammation in nervous and immune systems with aging and anxiety. Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(29):4656-78. Review.
2 Shetty AK, Kodali M, Upadhya R, Madhu LN. Emerging Anti-Aging Strategies – Scientific Basis and Efficacy. Aging Dis. 2018;9(6):1165–1184. Published 2018 Dec 4. doi:10.14336/AD.2018.1026
3 Yessenkyzy A, Saliev T, Zhanaliyeva M, Masoud AR, Umbayev B, Sergazy S, Krivykh E, Gulyayev A, Nurgozhin T. Polyphenols as Caloric-Restriction Mimetics and Autophagy Inducers in Aging Research. Nutrients. 2020 May;12(5):1344.
4 Cӑtoi AF, Corina A, Katsiki N, et al. Gut microbiota and aging-A focus on centenarians [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 10]. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020;165765. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165765
5. Sarkar A, Lehto SM, Harty S, Dinan TG, Cryan JF, Burnet PWJ. Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals. Trends in Neurosciences. 2016;39(11):763-781. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002.