Age-associated cellular decline (AACD) describes changes in the way our cells function as we age. It typically begins when we reach our 40s, and accelerates in our 60s. Over time, these changes in how our cells perform can contribute to us feeling more tired and lacking the energy to do the things we love.
AACD is a relatively new area of understanding, but its discovery means we know more than ever about the important role our cellular health plays in the aging process.
One key development has been the increased understanding of the importance of mitochondrial health to help keep cells functioning properly. Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells, but their function can decline as we get older or as a result of oxidative stress.
We all age at different rates depending on genetic and lifestyle factors, but a decline in mitochondrial function can also play a key role in how we age.
But why exactly does this happen? And what can be done about it? Let’s take a look.
Why Do Cells Age? Understanding the 9 Hallmarks of Aging
Scientists have identified nine hallmarks of aging, and these are important for understanding how and why our cells age.
1. Genomic Instability
Genomic instability is the name given to the process of DNA becoming damaged as we age, affecting the way our cells are able to work. This damage can be caused by a variety of internal and external sources, including pollution, UV radiation, and oxidative stress.
2. Telomere Shortening
Telomeres are repeated sequences of DNA at the end of each chromosome that help protect our chromosomes and the DNA they contain. Telomeres naturally shorten over time, which is one of the reasons why our cells stop functioning properly as we age.
3. Epigenetic Alterations
The epigenome is a collection of chemical compounds in our cells that essentially switch genes on and off.
As we age and our cells are constantly bombarded with internal and external stressors, changes in our epigenome begin to occur and can alter which genes are expressed.
These errors continue to accumulate over time and can eventually have a negative effect on healthy cellular functioning.
4. Loss of Proteostasis
Proteins are responsible for many important processes within our cells, but in order to work properly, they must be folded into the correct shape. As we get older, the quality of the proteins in our cells can begin to decline. This is known as a loss of proteostasis, and can lead to the accumulation of damaged or misfolded proteins in cells.
5. Deregulated Nutrient Sensing
Nutrient-sensing pathways keep metabolic activities in balance throughout the body. However, as we grow older, alterations to these pathways can lead to metabolic changes that cause our cells to become stressed and age faster.
6. Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Mitochondria produce the energy that fuels our cells every day. As we age, mitochondria can become less efficient due to factors like oxidative stress and declines in the quality control processes that promote mitochondrial health. Over time, damage to the mitochondria can impair cell energy production and contribute to accelerated cell aging.
7. Cellular Senescence
As we age and our cells encounter stress, accumulate DNA damage and experience telomere shortening, they stop dividing. This is known as cellular senescence.
8. Stem Cell Exhaustion
Stem cells have a unique ability to develop into multiple different types of cells, allowing them to replace cells that have been lost due to injury or disease. Stem cells become susceptible to damage and begin to decline as a result of other hallmarks of aging, which eventually leads to stem cell exhaustion.
9. Altered Intercellular Communication
In order to function properly, cells within tissues need to be able to communicate with each other. However, metabolic changes can cause communication between cells to become inefficient and dysfunctional as we age.
The Role of Targeted Cellular Nutrition
Understanding the hallmarks of aging means scientists are able to work on interventions that target the changes happening within our cells.
Cellular nutrients that can influence key mechanisms that decline with age have been identified. These targeted nutrients go to work deep inside cells to help renew natural cell processes and support cell health.
At Celltrient, we’ve developed a range of nutritional products featuring different cellular nutrients:
- Celltrient Cellular Energy: this formula contains nicotinamide riboside (NR) to help your cells to replenish the NAD+ they need to transform nutrients into energy. NAD+ is critical for energy production by the mitochondria, and also supports cell repair processes.
- Celltrient Cellular Strength: these products contain Urolithin A (UA), which helps activate the process to recycle and renew mitochondria within cells. This process helps remove damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria that can otherwise accumulate in cells.ƚ
- Celltrient Cellular Protect: these products feature GlyNAC, a specialized combination of amino acids that can help to replenish building blocks important for glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from oxidative stress.ƚ