Martin Daubney suggests a 'vegan tax' as they 'live longer'
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The age at which a person turns grey is greatly influenced by the genes inherited from their parents, but other triggers exist. The worst culprit is arguably stress, which also causes hair to shed about three times faster than normal. According to one study, endurance exercise may help tackle both hair loss and greying, and extend lifespan by years.
Early research conducted by McMaster University found that endurance exercise could prevent the body from looking and feeling old, and could even help boost longevity.
Endurance exercise encompasses any type of aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, running, or cycling that improves cardio-respiratory fitness.
The study, published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that premature ageing in the organs was completely prevented in mice that ran on the treadmill three times a week for five months.
The rodents were engineered by researchers to age faster due to a defect in the gene polymerase gamma, which alters the repair system of their mitochondria.
The mitochondria are vital because they are responsible for generating energy for nearly every cell in the body.
It has long been understood that the cumulative damage of mitochondria is responsible for the progressive decline in tissue and organ function that comes with ageing.
In other words, as mitochondria start to whither, muscle and brain volume reduces, and hair falls out or loses its pigmentation.
The study found, however, that these effects could be countered in genetically disadvantaged mice who did endurance exercise training three times a week.
These rodents, the study authors noted, looked as young as healthy mice.
Their sedentary siblings, on the other hand, were balding, relying, physically inactive, socially isolated and less fertile.
The American Heart Association explains: “Also called aerobic exercise, endurance exercise includes activities that increase your breathing and heart rate such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking and jumping rope.
“[It] keeps your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy and improves your overall fitness.”
It does so by keeping the heart muscles supple and the arteries flexible, which lowers the heart rates and boosts its ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues.
“As a result, people who get the recommended regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” explains the American Heart Association.
What’s more, endurance activities were also associated with increased life expectancy in the McMaster University study.
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Ageing Research in 2012, confirmed that this finding was consistent with several other studies.
It reported that “all studies proved an increased life expectancy in endurance athletes ranging between 2.8 to 8.0 added years”.
Other ways to avoid premature greying
Another known cause of hair greying is a vitamin B12 deficiency, which hampers the growth of healthy blood cells.
Options for consuming vitamin B12 include animal food products such as red meat, fish, poultry, milk, and other dairy products.
Other illnesses that affect hair pigmentation include thyroid disease, vitiligo and alopecia areata.
When ageing is the cause of greying, the process cannot be reversed, but cases have been reported where greying caused by other external factors had been reversed.
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