Author: Mike Boehmer
The Redox Theory of Aging states that “Aging is a decline in the plasticity of genome-exposome interactions that occur as a consequence of differentiation and exposure memory systems’.
To fully understand the fundamental role of oxidative stress and related signaling in human biology and disease, it is crucial to gain some understanding of its broad evolutionary purpose and design. Here are two general papers each with a wealth of background information to begin the reader on this fascinating journey into the origins of human biology and disease.
We are conceived with a core genome generated by the reproductive process. Before birth, our body begins creating an ‘Exposome’ based on our ‘exposure memory’ to drivers of oxidative stress that have evolutionary significance as part of our core genome.
The Exposome is part of a ‘redox interface’ through which our core genome can ‘read’ and adapt to our changing environment over our lifetime. However, the ‘redox interface’ can also be ‘tricked’ or over/under activated by both unnatural or naturally accumulated oxidative stress drivers, leading to disease, “inflammation” and accelerated aging. Examples of biochemical functions related to the exposome are mitochondrial function, immune system function, cognition, protein/sugar/lipid production and regulation and membrane transport. Disruption of these important functions leads to many common diseases.
Oxidative stress is most commonly driven by environmental factors such as heavy metals, chemical toxins, electromagnetic exposure, ionizing radiation, gut health/foodborne toxins/allergens, microbiome dysfunction, and chronic microbial/viral/fungal/parasitic infections. These drivers slowly accumulate and overcome our compensatory mechanisms leading to the reduced plasticity of the exposome and redox interface we call ‘aging’.
Thus, as we study the ‘micro’ level therapies for specific diseases, it is important to recall the ever present effect of the ‘macro’ playing field upon which therapy occurs. Some general ‘macro’ level reading on the subject can provide a good framework for interdisciplinary discussion and understanding, which is part of our mission statement. Here are some suggested reading items that are general or ‘macro’. When practitioners combine the micro and the macro aspects of medicine, they develop mastery in patient care:
“Aging is a decline in plasticity of genome–exposome interaction that occurs as a consequence of differentiation and exposure memory systems.”
Dr. Dean Jones of Emory University seems to be a noted author on the subject.
Metazoan genomes encode exposure memory systems to enhance survival and reproductive potential by providing mechanisms for an individual to adjust during lifespan to environmental resources and challenges. These systems are inherently redox networks, arising during evolution of complex systems with O2 as a major determinant of bioenergetics, metabolic and structural organization, defense, and reproduction. The network structure decreases flexibility from conception onward due to differentiation and cumulative responses to environment (exposome). The redox theory of aging is that aging is a decline in plasticity of genome-exposome interaction that occurs as a consequence of execution of differentiation and exposure memory systems. This includes compromised mitochondrial and bioenergetic flexibility, impaired food utilization and metabolic homeostasis, decreased barrier and defense capabilities and loss of reproductive fidelity and fecundity. This theory accounts for hallmarks of aging, including failure to maintain oxidative or xenobiotic defenses, mitochondrial integrity, proteostasis, barrier structures, DNA repair, telomeres, immune function, metabolic regulation and regenerative capacity. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Here is a link to the website of an ND who has a very nice and practical explanation of redox and is an author on the subject.