The TRUTH About Vegans and Aging (SCIENCE!)

I decided that since last week I had covered the benefits of a vegan diet when pertaining to cancer risk as well as heart disease and longevity, that I’d follow-up with a similar video on aging.

Can a vegan diet slow aging? And, conversely, does meat consumption promote it?

Now, I am not one to settle for anecdote, despite the myriad examples presented as evidence that a vegan diet is, essentially, a veritable fountain of youth.

For example, this woman is 55, and this woman 58, and this woman 67, here she is again, and finally, this woman is 70.

And all four of those women are vegans.

But, the problem with this sort of anecdote is that it doesn’t control for factors such as genetics, stress levels, or lifestyle habits such as sun exposure, drinking, smoking, drug use, sugar-addiction, exercise, sexual activity, use of moisturizers and other body care products, fasting, caloric restriction, etc.

I mean, Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider, is also a vegan, but time has clearly not treated him kindly. Keep in mind, he’s only 4 years older than I am!

But, in Harley’s case, he gets a LOT of sun exposure. Whereas I limit my sun exposure, and when I do venture into the sunlight, I protect myself with sunscreen.

And Harley is also from a part of the world with the highest incidence and mortality rate of melanoma.

He’s also a sugar-addict, and as I’ve discussed in the past, a high-intake of refined sugar can cause system-wide inflammation and break down collagen and elastin.

So, let’s side-step the anecdote, and instead look at the existing body of research to answer the questions that I’ve proposed!

Evidence demonstrates that a high-intake of meat, dairy and butter IS linked to skin damage, whereas a high intake of vegetables, legumes and olive oil appears to be skin-protective.

And fruit and vegetable consumption appears to be the healthiest and safest method by which to maintain a youthful appearance, according to research.

Moreover, an 11-year study found that meat intake increases the risk for the second most common form of skin cancer known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or SCC for short. Which kills as many as 8,800 people each year in the U.S. alone.

And that same study found that fruit and vegetable intake actually reduces SCC risk by a staggering 54%!

Let’s just say that developing skin cancer isn’t exactly a way to maintain healthful-looking skin.

And red meat, specifically, has not only been found to promote skin cancer, but also promote chronic inflammation.

Moreover, total, unprocessed, AND processed red meat intake are ALL associated with increased concentrations of inflammatory bio-markers.

Whereas, higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains promote an anti-inflammatory response.

Keep in mind, chronic inflammation is one characteristic of the aging process, and it is a known risk factor for diseases and death among the elderly.

Also, both nonfried fish and processed meats, the latter encompassing products like but not limited to hot dogs, ham, sausage, beef jerky, bacon, and lunch meats, have been shown to shorten telomere length.

And as I’ve discussed in past videos, telomeres are the “caps” at the end of each DNA strand that protect our chromosomes. Think of them like the plastic ends of shoelaces. When those plastic ends degrade or disappear, the respective shoelace eventually unravels.

Likewise, as our telomeres shorten, we experience the age-related break down of our cells.

Eventually, our cells can no longer reproduce, leading to the inevitable: death.

Moreover, the skin, hair and immune system are most affected by telomere shortening due to high cellular turnover rates.

So, in conclusion, it would follow that consuming red meat, processed meats, and nonfried fish can accelerate the aging process, and increase the risk of both disease and death. Whereas, the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains displays the opposite effect.

The consumption of non-red meats and dairy products, as I demonstrated earlier in this video, promote skin damage and skin cancer. So, don’t think that simply dropping red meat and processed meats, for instance, will somehow put you in the clear.

And while many of these effects are documented to be dose-dependent, why would you KNOWINGLY ingest even a limited amount of a toxin when there exists healthful alternatives?

Have you no respect for your body?

Besides, what quantifies “high”, “low”, or “moderate” intake? And could those tiers differ from person-to-person due to any number of individual factors? I.e., what may be acceptable for person A, could present a risk factor for person B.

Frankly, I say it is better to be safe than sorry.

And while other factors, such as lifestyle, will certainly contribute to aging, it is clear that diet plays a significant role. Thus, my closing advice is to make this a package deal: live intelligently AND go vegan, which to me are one-in-the-same.

Anyway, let me know what you all think in the comments below.

REFERENCES

World’s Skin Cancer Hot Spots – Forbes https://www.forbes.com/2008/07/28/skin-cancer-hotspots-forbeslife-cx_avd_0728health.html#4fb44a221424

Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11293471

Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/

The Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106357/

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – SkinCancer.org https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/squamous-cell-carcinoma

Associations between red meat intake and biomarkers of inflammation and glucose metabolism in women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24284436

A red meat-derived glycan promotes inflammation and cancer progression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25548184

Diet and inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128

Dietary patterns, food groups, and telomere length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/88/5/1405/4649028

Telomeres and aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18391173

An evolutionary review of human telomere biology: the thrifty telomere hypothesis and notes on potential adaptive paternal effects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21319244

Linking functional decline of telomeres, mitochondria and stem cells during ageing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336134

Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase deficient mice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057569/

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