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Inflammaging: Understanding the Link Between Inflammation and Aging

2 min read

Aging is an inevitable part of life, but what if we could slow down the aging process and increase our lifespan? Recent study has shown a correlation between inflammation and aging, leading to the term “inflammaging.”

First coined in 2000 by Claudio Franceschi, a researcher at the University of Bologna in Italy, it refers to the chronic low-grade inflammation that occurs as we age. 

One theory behind inflammaging is that it is caused by the accumulation of damage to cells and tissues over time. Basically, as we grow older, our bodies are less able to repair this damage, leading to chronic inflammation which accelerates the skin and the body’s ageing process. 

Signs of inflammaging

The problem is that we often realise that something is going wrong in our bodies quite late. That’s probably why inflammaging is often referred to as a “silent” condition because it can be difficult to detect and often it may get confused with menopause or hypothyroidism symptoms. 

In fact, signs that may indicate the presence of chronic inflammation are quite familiar to midlife women such as fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, migraines and mood changes as well as skin sagging, age spots and uneven skin tone and texture.

Digging around the topic, we’ve also encountered other factors that can contribute to the development of inflammaging like pollution, stress, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet high in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats. 

How can we prevent Inflammaging?

The key to slowing down ageing is tackling inflammation in the body caused by our unhealthy lifestyles. 

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According to award-winning immunologist Leo Nissola, author of The Immunity Solution: “a modern-day bombardment of chemicals, processed foods, stressful environments and sedentary lifestyles is attacking our immune systems from all angles”, he says. “Once our immune systems are weakened, we are left vulnerable to chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defence mechanism – but crucially it results in cells being attacked, causing them to age“.

The good thing is that we can fight back by exercising and eating more anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, wild-caught fish, green tea, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and ginger.

There is also some evidence that omega-3 supplements might help reduce inflammaging. One study in menopausal women, for instance, found that a 5-week course of fish oil supplements reduced markers of inflammation. 

Conclusion

Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to protect the body, but if you constantly feel tired and have put on weight don’t blame it on the menopause but rather book in with your doctor. 

Understanding the link between inflammation and ageing is the first step to developing strategies to mitigate the effects of inflammaging and adding some quality years to your life.

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