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Have you ever heard of inflammation? To put it simply, inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against sickness and injuries. Unfortunately, as we’ve come to understand, the body can only handle so much, before it turns against itself. If it lasts too long, inflammation can become chronic, leading the body to not only attack itself, but it may also worsen with age, thus raising the risk for the latest threat to our longevity; inflammaging. We spoke to Dr. Patrizia d’Alessio, a hematologist and founder of AISA Moleculum at the recent Longevity Dublin Summit 2024.

What is inflammaging?

“[Inflammaging] was created in the 90s by Claudio Franceschi, a great Italian immunologist, specialist in centenarians, and he has put the relationship between the constant inflammatory and silent inflammatory challenge and the propensity to accelerate aging,” explained Dr. Patrizia d’Alessio, a haematologist and founder of AISA Moleculum.

We met Dr. d’Alessio at the recent Longevity Dublin Summit 2024. Speaking more on inflammation, Dr. d’Alessioa refers to it as a task force, whereby Navy SEALs go, perform their jobs, and return. Yet, this is only true in the body of a healthy person.

What causes inflammaging?

There are still many theories about what triggers inflammaging, one of which is cellular senescence,

“Every cell, at a very different rhythm in the body, ages, and what concerns its replicative capacity,” explains Dr. d’Alessioa, “so at some point it stops to replicate and becomes a senescent cell.”

Dr. d’Alessioa further explains that senescent cells secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, which is a good thing. That is, until the inflammation gets out of control. Senescent cells accumulate as we age, not only worsening inflammation, but also increasing the risk for chronic conditions as we get older.

How does inflammaging affect the body?

The combination of chronic inflammation and aging is as scary as it sounds, with it increasing the risk for many chronic conditions that include;

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Depression

Dealing with inflammaging

You can’t run away from aging – but that doesn’t mean you can’t curb chronic inflammation.

If you’re hoping to take control of your health, Dr. d’Alessio’s advice would be that you first understand your body better, saying that the key to better health isn’t about supplements, but rather about who you are,

inflammaging and d-limonene

“You have to be aware of your body, and be able to feel when something is wrong or get to a point of knowing when you’re getting sick,” she says. Once you’ve done that, you can then adopt life choices that include;

1. D-Limonene

D-Limonene is a compound derived from citrus peels that Dr. d’Alessio has become well acquainted with.

The compound forms the basis of Dr. d’Alessio’s products, due to its ability to improve both mood and skin – both of which can be credited to its anti-inflammatory effects,

D-Limonene liberates your own dopamine frozen in your synapses, because you are inflamed.” explains Dr. d’Alessio, adding that this liberation leads to a release of dopamine, resulting in improved mood.

2. Breathing exercises

This is something that you can easily do at your desk, especially if you’re having a long day.

Referred to as cardiac coherence, Dr. d’Alessio suggests you do this several times a day, for two to five minutes,

“It’s just breathing and exhaling for a long time – it’s about exhale, not inhale,” says Dr. d’Alessio. She further explains that this type of breathing can help avoid several autosympathetic peaks, which is when the mind races and cortisol levels increase, which can then trigger inflammation.

3. Get enough sleep

Poor sleep is associated with inflammatory biomakers, so it would be advisable to get your 8 hours. To improve your sleep habits, Dr. Yashica Khalawan, a South African-based general practitioner, suggests the following:

  • Eat dinner 3 hours before bedtime.
  • 1 hour before bedtime, switch off all devices. Limit liquid intake to avoid bathroom trips.
  • Listen to relaxing music and take a warm bath/shower. The cooling of body temperature helps signal sleep.
  • Create an environment that supports sleep:
    • Room temp 68 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 20 °C)
    • Darken the room
    • Sound machine to block out outside noise
  • Invest in a quality mattress and pillow that supports the alignment of the spine
  • During the night, avoid checking the time, as this increases sleep anxiety.

If that’s not enough, Dr. d’Alessio’s D-Limonene-rich products have also been associated with better sleep.

4. Exercise

There’s a reason why staying active reduces the risk for chronic conditions, and that’s because exercise has anti-inflammatory effects. Whether it’s sweating it out during an intense HIIT session, taking a brisk afternoon walk, or unwinding with evening yoga, exercise can serve to prevent inflammaging.

5. Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet

If you want to manage inflammation, it would be advisable to focus on foods that protect your gut, as Dr. d’Alessio explains that protecting and maintaining gut health can help combat inflammation.

This type of diet would include leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, fatty fish, and whole grain, while low in highly-processed foods, refined carbohydrates and red meat.

6. Quit smoking

Not that you needed any more reason to quit this disgusting habit, but smoking can promote inflammation throughout the body. If you’re struggling to kick the habit, here’s an easy guide.

Despite the amount of research poured into it, you can’t stop the aging process. Yet, you can ensure that your years on Earth aren’t plagued by inflammation or chronic diseases. To understand more about inflammaging, watch an exclusive interview with Dr. Patrizia d’Alessio below.

References

This interview took place at the Longevity Dublin Summit 2024

Watch The Interview

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a journalist graduate and writer, specializing in health, beauty, and wellness. She also has a passion for poetry, equality, and natural hair. Identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to provide the latest information on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle and leave a more equitable society behind.

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