A Three Part Discussion of Mitochondrial Hormesis as an Approach to Slow Aging

This three part interview covers the induction of greater numbers of free radicals in tissues as an approach to slow aging. I can’t say as I think this is a way to obtain large gains in health and longevity, much greater than those possible through exercise and calorie restriction. Both of those approaches essentially work in a similar way, being beneficial stress responses that include free radical signaling among their mechanisms. Little of the work on recreating these responses via pharmaceutical or genetic means does all that much better in terms of extended healthy life. The background is quite interesting, however.

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Over the decades, the scientific understanding of the role that reactive molecules, free radicals, play in aging and metabolism has become much more nuanced. The original formulation of the free radical theory of aging, in which more free radicals are always a bad thing, is clearly not correct and the field has moved on since then. The situation is much more complicated than the presence of free radicals being a straightforward form of damage, reacting with important molecules to break their function. Yes, that breakage happens, constantly, but it is near entirely repaired. Yes, any circumstance that produces


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