Why do our bodies start to stop functioning as we age? Why can’t our bodies maintain a “youthful” appearance and function?

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Why do our bodies start to stop functioning as we age? Why can’t our bodies maintain a “youthful” appearance and function?

In: Biology
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I think the oversimplified answer is our bodies degrade as we use them, and the more they do the more maintenance is required until eventually no amount of maintenance is going to help

Well, that’s asking for an unknown. There are a lot of theories about this, ranging from telomeres running too short effectively repair DNA (the surplus DNA material at the end of your chromosomes), to radiation of all sorts (not just radioactivity) effectively damaging cells as they multiply and causing the damaged cells to be the new model for further mitosis (cell division).

As far as I can tell, there is currently no “known” answer to your question, only difficult-to-prove theories.

As our cells divide, our chromosomes get shorter. Over time, this leaves us with fewer copies of our DNA, more opportunities for errors, and certain processes are less expressed from a genetic perspective.

There are lots of unknowns, but we do know that oxidative damage is a factor and can be avoided [or even reversed](https://youtu.be/QRt7LjqJ45k?t=421).

Cell repair, complex functions, and mitosis all require DNA be unraveled from the chromosomes, during which time it’s vulnerable to oxidizing agents (oxygen, nitrogen oxides, and certain acids) and radicals (generally singlet oxygen which is produced by the immune system) which cause changes such as methylation – addition of a methane molecule where there shouldn’t be one – which blocks proper transcription, causing breaks in protein chains, or even failure of stop/start regions in the code that cause run-ons or complete failure of that cell’s genes to produce that protein sequence.