Can you live forever? Of course, you can’t. Does your blood get old? Sort of, yes. Tired blood is a thing, and perhaps science can help keep it young.
Young blood might not be the source of eternal life but it will help us age better and have more vital immune systems at a later stage, perhaps keeping some types of cancer at bay. The results are encouraging, but what’s all this about? Can science keep blood young forever? Here’s all you need to know about the most recent research on the topic.
Does blood age?
Just like every other part of your body, your blood ages, and it loses its ability to carry oxygen to the rest of your body while becoming increasingly weak against foreign microorganisms. This is the leading cause behind why older adults are more prone to disease and chronic, degenerative conditions.
Our body creates new blood cells in the bone marrow that’s inside our bones. Blood cells include red cells that carry oxygen around, white cells that protect us from microorganisms and plaquettes, which help us heal. Well, our bodies also come equipped with a cellular cleaning mechanism called autophagy. The removal of old blood cells to be substituted by new ones.
Autophagy might be the key
A recent study shows that autophagy is a synonym for longevity. As long as your body continues to make new blood cells and eliminate old ones, you stay young and healthy.
As one ages, the capacity of our bone marrow to produce new blood cells decreases, and the amount of old blood cells overwhelms new blood cells. This means we’re more prone to disease and infections. We don’t heal as fast either and growing new tissue becomes increasingly tricky — that’s aging right there.
The study proved that old mice that underwent autophagy enjoyed the benefits of young blood. Mice that weren’t allowed to undergo autophagy behaved like old mice, even when young.
What does this all even mean?
For now, this means nothing yet. Mice don’t behave as humans, but there’s a good chance our own autophagy system is what keeps us young and makes us age. Bone marrow transplants are an option to boost the production of new blood cells and balance the cell-destructing autophagy at a later age in life, allowing us to have young blood and a younger body.
Still, we don’t know how this works exactly, but we’ve never been so close to eternal youth. Perhaps we’ll live longer in the future, and we’ll finally get rid of life-threatening conditions that come with old age.
Can science keep us young forever?
Today it can’t, but who knows? If we figure out how to keep those young blood cells flowing, there’s a chance we can get rid of chronic conditions and diseases while living a longer, healthier life.
We still need a significant breakthrough on the matter, but things look good so far. Of course, the easiest way of living a long, healthy life is taking care of yourself during your entire life. While we wait for the fountain of youth, let’s eat well and exercise ourselves, stop all those bad habits and start living and feeling better today.