New information about how fat cells age, and how they function after they stop dividing (senescence), is illuminating how aging belly fat drives chronic inflammation in our later years. Increasing chronic inflammation then leads to a long list of “Diseases of Aging”, speeding the journey to our death and ramping up pain and disability on the way.
The visceral fat we pick up as our metabolism slows ages with little grace. It manifests a growing population of cells that have stopped dividing, or become senescent, and which produce increasing levels of signalling chemicals that alarm our immune system. This is seen as a rising levels of chronic inflammation, wherein our immune system progressively attacks our own tissues.
Only in recent years have we realized that the presence of senescent cell becomes a driver of aging. Mouse studies showed that injection of young mice with modest numbers of their own senescent cells (aged in a lab and returned by injection) caused a rapid increase in aging rate. Inversely, similar studies have shown that killing off senescent cells restores youthful characteristics in old mice. To me this is really good news! We have a new tool to fight degeneration – a growing list of compounds and drugs that selectively kill senescent cells, lowering inflammation and our rate of aging (or the symptoms thereof).
Aging fat deposits are proving to be the early producers of senescent cells, and the stew of pro-inflammatory signalling chemicals they produce affects surrounding tissues, blocking the normal resolution of inflammation. Immune cells are drawn to the festering fat deposits, themselves becoming increasingly involved in this cascade of inflammation, promoting inflammation in arteries, joints, intestines and the brain, and blocking or shutting down healing processes that normally resolve inflammation. Senolytic compounds that induce senescent cells to commit suicide (apoptosis) are being discovered daily, and some are well-know supplements available to us all. At the top of this list (of supplements) are the flavonoids Fisetin and Quercetin and a pepper fruit component Piperlongumine. Each of these have properties which selectively kill types of senescent cells, and show promise of being more effective when used together.
Reports of self-experimentation and animal lab studies sounded promising enough that I tried using Fisetin and a phytosomal version of quercetin (better absorption than common extract), basically taking a month’s supply of each over two days. I reasoned that if I killed off vast numbers of cells, I might experience what is called a healing crisis, with flu-like symptoms, as a confirmation that the strategy worked: that didn’t happen, so I’m in the dark about any results. I used Swanson’s 100 mg Fisetin extract, 15/day in 7 doses over my waking hours, and Natural Factors’ 50 mg phytosomal Quercetin extract, 30/day also in 7 doses. I didn’t include the piperlongumine; perhaps I would have had a stronger indication if I had. I did feel a bit spacey in my head on the first couple of doses, but that faded after that. I hope to find more reliable indicators before repeating the test.
To your Greater Health and Fitness –
Your Senior Fitness Coach,