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Aug 12, 2021

Is aging a disease?

Gerontology, or the science of ageing, is not a new field of knowledge. Nevertheless, new approaches continue to emerge with scientific advances, shedding a fresh look at the ageing process itself. One of them suggests treating ageing as a disease that needs to be treated or at least slowed down.

Characteristics of the ageing process

Generally speaking, ageing is the entirety of the processes that contribute to an organism’s deterioration with age. In other words, each component of the ageing process can be considered as a process directly related to age-related degradation. Therefore, there is no doubt that ageing is a broad concept – also found in inanimate nature. There, it is defined by the reliability theory as the process of the increase in the severity of damage to the tested system with its age. To be precise, it is not about the system’s failure as a whole, but rather a more complex process that increases the intensity of these individual failures over the years. Taking all this into account, no one should be surprised by the multiplicity and diversity of views that interpret ageing in such a different way.

Ageing is a disease – different scientific positions

A new generation of researchers who insist on this approach argue that it is justified, if only because adopting ageing as a natural process, permanently inscribed in each individual’s life, may block the increase of funds for the development of new effective anti-ageing drugs. In contrast, the official opposite effect will be achieved by official recognizing ageing as a treatable disease.

On the other hand, more experienced gerontologists with a completely different approach talk about young scientists’ postulates as a marketing and promotional initiative that has little to do with the scientific revolution regarding the concept of ageing. They also indicate that this process already has its code (ICD, R45) in medicine. Here, however, it’s worth noting that this is indeed true, but many (if not most) experts in the field do not take the R45 category seriously. However, there are exceptions here, such as using this code in methodical recommendations for the management of senile asthenia patients in Russia.

What is the ageing process?

At the moment, it is impossible to unequivocally stand on one side or the other of the barricade in the light of science. However, what is certain is that considering ageing as a disease in itself is too simplistic, considering how many diseases are associated with the metric. The circle is closed because these diseases are a consequence of ageing, and ageing is the cause of them. Both are effect and cause at the same time. Going further, it is worth noting that not all diseases occurring in the “fall of life” are de facto related to the ageing process, but if we take into account their progressive nature, which increases with age – it must be fairly admitted that it must be related to ageing. Thus, diseases, as they were “mature” over the years of the affected person.

Ageing – a treatable disease or not?

Assuming the working assumption that the ageing process could be treated as a disease, the question immediately arises about its possible treatment options. After analyzing numerous scientific works, it can also be assumed that two substances can claim the title of drugs for this unavoidable disease – and they are:

• Nicotinamide riboside
• Nicotinamide Mononuclotide

Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that they can “heal ageing”, but there are many promising indications that they have much potential to slow down the ageing process.

For example, it is already confirmed that nicotinamide riboside supplementation alleviates metabolic disorders in rodents, and further research is underway to prove the legitimacy of using nicotinamide riboside supplements in humans.
So far, we have managed to collect data confirming that it is a substance that may be responsible for:

• increase of the NAD + metabolome in muscles,
• regulation of energy metabolism and mitochondrial pathways mediated by NR without altering mitochondrial bioenergetics.
• lowering the level of circulating inflammatory cytokines,
• anti-inflammatory effects.

Nicotinamide Riboside, or niagen, is an alternative form of vitamin B3 that increases the levels of NAD + in the body. As for NAD + (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), this substance has been proposed as a strategy for improving cardiovascular and other physiological functions with ageing in humans, as it has become a key and proven co-substrate of enzymes involved in the beneficial effects of regular limiting calories for health. The potential benefits of NR in lowering blood pressure and arterial stiffness in older adults are also still being explored.

To sum up, whatever stance is taken and without scientific evidence, everyone will agree that ageing is not a process that we eagerly await, and most, if not all, would be eager to take advantage of the possibility of slowing it down. Since nicotinamide riboside helps increase NAD + in the body, and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide is a safe substance with great potential, it is worth getting interested in them this context and perhaps even considering supplementation with them, hoping for longer, healthier life.

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