‘Addressing inflammaging proactively can mitigate its impact on healthspan’

Inflammation can be tackled, but a multifaceted approach that encompasses both lifestyle modifications and targeted treatment is required.

Inflammation is an essential component of the body’s immune response to injury or infection, and prevents the spread of damage, removes cell debris and lays the groundwork for repair.

However, it is a double-edged sword, as while acute inflammation serves an important protective function, chronic inflammation poses significant health risks. As we age, inflammatory processes are ramped up, giving rise to the state known as inflammaging. This sustained, low-grade inflammatory state is more than an elevation of inflammatory markers – it embodies a multifaceted interplay of genetic predispositions, lifestyle factors and physiological alterations, collectively tipping the balance toward chronic inflammation over time.

Inflammaging’s implications extend across a spectrum of age-related pathologies, encompassing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia and beyond. Yet, the precise delineation of inflammaging remains a complex endeavor, requiring a nuanced understanding of its molecular underpinnings and systemic ramifications.

Longevity.Technology: Mitigating inflammaging represents a strategic imperative not solely for prolonging lifespan but also for optimizing healthspan; current interventions against inflammaging include caloric restriction, physical activity and pharmacological agents targeting inflammatory mediators. We sat down with longevity and performance physician and Internal Medicine Specialist Anant Vinjamoori MD to find out more.

“Inflammaging, the chronic, low-grade inflammation associated with aging, is increasingly recognized as a key driver of age-related diseases and decline,” Vinjamoori explains. “Given its direct impact on health and longevity, researchers are looking to double down on ways to combat inflammaging and by addressing inflammaging proactively, mitigating its impact on healthspan.” Vinjamoori adds that anti-inflammatory supplements are one way of leveraging the latest knowledge on the key mechanisms driving inflammaging.

Vinjamoori says that inflammaging is something to be vigilant about as we age. 

“It manifests as chronic inflammation throughout the body, often without obvious symptoms, making it a silent contributor to age-related decline and disease. Over time, unchecked inflammaging can have a profound impact on our healthspan and can increase the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer.”

Vinjamoori adds that inflammaging accelerates the aging process by promoting cellular damage and weakening tissue function, as well. 

“By addressing inflammaging proactively through lifestyle interventions and targeted treatments, individuals can mitigate its negative effects and enhance their healthspan, promoting a healthier aging journey.”

Vinjamoori says addressing inflammaging requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses both lifestyle modifications and targeted treatment. Suggested strategies include regular exercise as well as adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, while minimizing processed foods and sugary snacks.

“My favorite diet to reference for this purpose is the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and seeds. Nutritional supplements that include powerful anti-inflammatory agents like turmeric, NAC [N-acetylcysteine], and quercetin can also play a role.

“Look for supplement ingredients that show a demonstrated impact on key cellular mechanisms driving inflammation in the basic and translational literature. NAC and quercetin, for example, are potent antioxidants and oxidative stress is known to be a root cause contributor to chronic inflammation.”

Photograph courtesy of Anant Vinjamoori