The new science of aging is shedding light on the coveted fountain of youth. Our midlife represents both risk and opportunity. As we creep into our middle years we often begin to experience disruptive symptoms and face increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It is at this critical time that we have the most important opportunity to take charge of our aging
Forget aging gracefully, our generation can choose to age proactively and design the second half of our lives.
But to age well requires that we first understand why we are aging. As we approach midlife, we begin to face accelerated loss of vital factors; our hormones, our nutrients, our sleep and our telomeres. As a result of these losses, rapid aging ensues. Indeed, from the age of 40 to 50 years women age twice as fast as any other decade. While men’s aging speeds up too, by about 60 per cent, they do not face the same cliff in the aging process.
The rapid loss of ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, during the years saddling a woman’s menopause contributes to this accelerated aging. By 50 years of age, many other critical hormones have dwindled including melatonin (which sets our sleep-wake cycle), the adrenal hormone DHEA (which has been linked with vitality and libido in women) and other hormones regulating our metabolism.