Aging is considered to be the slow loss of bodily functions demonstrated by altering cells. To delay the aging process, the objective is to find ways to reduce oxidative stress and help prevent the negative changes to cells that brings about health conditions. The goal is to promote and prolong life and nourish cells.
Research shows that there are different pathways in the body that regulate the rate of aging and its process (Bareja A, et al, 2019). If these pathways can be alternated, longevity can be extended. These pathways include the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), Insulin /IGF-1, AMP-activating protein kinase (AMPK), and Sirtuin pathways. This article will cover mTOR and IGF-1.
mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)
mTOR is a protein involved in the negative control of some cell functions and metabolism. The objective is to inhibit mTOR because when activated it brings about cellular and tissue distress effecting cell growth, proliferation, survival and protein and other cellular functions (David Papadopoli,2019). Low ATP energy levels, damage to DNA and deficient oxygen to tissues causes mTOR to be activated (Boutouja F, et al, 2019).
Inhibiting mTOR can delay the aging process
When mTOR is inhibited it promotes longevity demonstrated in animal research (WU JJ et al, 2013). If the expression of mTOR can be held back, then the lifespan can be prolonged.
An objective of the research community is to find ways to reduce mTOR activity to help extend life expectancy and reduce the incidence of health conditions. The mTOR pathway uses the body’s energy and nutrient supplies (Laplante M, Sabatini DM, 2012).
What helps to inhibit mTOR in the body?
There is extensive research on exercise and caloric restriction’s ability to delay the aging process.
It has been shown that by restricting calories from the diet it can bring about a longer life. Research shows that one way that this type of dietary regimen does this is by inhibiting mTOR signaling (Tulsian R, et al 2018; Blagosklonny MV, 2010).
In addition, resveratrol a polyphenol from red wine has been shown to inhibit mTOR signaling (Liu M, Liu F, 2011).
Insulin-like growth factor 1
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), also called somatomedin C is a hormone that looks like insulin and circulates through the blood to the tissues. It is involved in cell function regulation including growth and division. For health, IGF-1 should be maintained at normal levels, not too high or too low. The secretion of growth hormone, as well as IGF-1 diminish with age and the decline has been detected in humans (Junnila “RK, et al 2013).
There is research showing the importance of normal IGF-1 levels during the aging process such as
- Promoting insulin sensitivity
- Reducing body fat and increasing lean body mass
- Weight management
- Aiding in bone density
- Supports muscle mass and nerves
- Promotes skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles
- Cardiovascular support
- Brain function
Nutrient signaling through insulin/IGF-1 was the first pathway that showed its ability to help control aging and health conditions found in the older population. The ability to influence nutrient signaling pathways has been shown to slow down the aging process. (Giovanni V et al, 2019; AsghariHanjani N, Vafa M et al, 2019; Ruiz-Torres A, et al, 2002).
It has been shown that exercise is beneficial to help increase IGF-1 in the elderly. The types of exercise included strength training, water exercise, aerobic activity, running, flexibility exercise and dancing (Castro JBP, et al 2017).
In summary, there is ongoing research to determine how to delay the aging process and help prevent the negative changes to cells that cause some health conditions. Different pathways in the body have been identified that regulate the rate of aging and its process. Extended life spans and improved health could be achieved if these pathways could be modified. Two of these pathways mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and Insulin /IGF-1 have been studied extensively. Inhibiting mTOR can occur with exercise, calorie restriction and nutritional compounds such as resveratrol. IGF-1 levels in the elderly may be increased with certain types of exercise.