Inflammaging - A Fiery Link Between Inflammation and Aging

Inflammaging is inflammation associated with aging. Learn the link between inflammaging and aging and how you can reduce your risk.

Hand with inflammaging
What to know
  • The definition of inflammaging is inflammation associated with the aging process.

  • Inflammaging can accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Skin aging is linked to inflammaging

Inflammation and Aging: Inflammaging

If you’re looking to improve your health and slow down the aging process, you are probably somewhat familiar with the topic of inflammation. But what about inflammaging? As the name implies, inflammaging refers to age-associated inflammation.

Research into the concept of inflammaging has expanded, as reducing it may hold the key to leading a healthier, longer life.

Keep reading to learn more about inflammaging, signs you have inflammation, and how to reduce age-related inflammation for optimal health.

Cellular damage and oxidative stress

What is inflammaging?

Inflammaging is a term that combines the words “inflammation” and “aging.” It is used to describe the chronic low-grade inflammation that often occurs as part of the aging process.

This type of consistent inflammation is linked to an increased risk of a number of age-related chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease.[1]

It is thought that inflammaging arises from a complex web of factors such as cellular damage and oxidative stress - an imbalance within the body that can cause disease.[2] Certain habits such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, and other unhealthy lifestyle practices, can contribute to inflammaging.

Bad mitochondria

How does inflammation contribute to aging?

Inflammation and aging are closely linked. Inflammation can lead to cellular damage in the body, which can negatively affect how our body functions. For example, our cellular powerhouses called mitochondria decrease with age, and they become damaged and less efficient at producing energy.

Our mitochondria undergo an essential cellular renewal process called mitophagy, which occurs when the mitochondria become dysfunctional. Dysfunctional mitochondria are removed so that new healthier ones can be created. This process decreases as we age, contributing to the accumulation of faulty mitochondria, which can further contribute to the inflammatory process. Ensuring this process continues is important for protecting our physical health.

1. C-reactive protein 2. Increased white blood cell count 3. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate

Internal signs of inflammation in the body

While some signs of inflammation in the body are visible, there are also internal signs that can indicate inflammation is present:

1. C-reactive protein - The most commonly used marker for inflammation is C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein made by the liver often elevated when inflammation is present. Your doctor can check CRP as part of a routine blood test.[4]

2. Increased white blood cell count - The body often produces more white blood cells in response to inflammation. Therefore, a higher-than-normal count can indicate inflammation is present.[5]

3. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate - ESR measures the changes in blood cells, called erythrocytes, that can occur with inflammation.[6]

If you have any of these symptoms, always check in with your healthcare provider, as they may be signs of a serious illness.

Wrinkled skin

Is inflammation related to skin aging symptoms?

Yes, chronic inflammation can accelerate skin aging. Factors such as UV exposure, pollution, and poor lifestyle choices can lead to inflammation. This can negatively impact your skin’s structure and appearance, leading to premature signs of aging.

Inflammaging is a complex process that accelerates the aging process, but eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and focusing on getting quality sleep and managing stress can go a long way in helping to keep you healthy.

Authors
Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Author

Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Dietitian-Nutritionist, and Health Content Writer

Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN, CDN

Senior Manager of Nutrition Affairs

Davide D'Amico, Ph.D.

R&D Group Leader at Timeline

References
  1. Chung HY, Kim DH, Lee EK, Chung KW, Chung S, Lee B, Seo AY, Chung JH, Jung YS, Im E, Lee J, Kim ND, Choi YJ, Im DS, Yu BP. Redefining Chronic Inflammation in Aging and Age-Related Diseases: Proposal of the Senoinflammation Concept. Aging Dis. 2019 Apr 1;10(2):367-382. doi: 10.14336/AD.2018.0324. PMID: 31011483; PMCID: PMC6457053.

  2. Chung HY, Kim DH, Lee EK, Chung KW, Chung S, Lee B, Seo AY, Chung JH, Jung YS, Im E, Lee J, Kim ND, Choi YJ, Im DS, Yu BP. Redefining Chronic Inflammation in Aging and Age-Related Diseases: Proposal of the Senoinflammation Concept. Aging Dis. 2019 Apr 1;10(2):367-382. doi: 10.14336/AD.2018.0324. PMID: 31011483; PMCID: PMC6457053.

  3. Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. White blood cell count in women: relation to inflammatory biomarkers, hematological profiles, visceral adiposity, and other cardiovascular risk factors. J Health Popul Nutr. 2013 Mar;31(1):58-64. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v31i1.14749. PMID: 23617205; PMCID: PMC3702359.

  4. Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. White blood cell count in women: relation to inflammatory biomarkers, hematological profiles, visceral adiposity, and other cardiovascular risk factors. J Health Popul Nutr. 2013 Mar;31(1):58-64. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v31i1.14749. PMID: 23617205; PMCID: PMC3702359.

  5. Bray C, Bell LN, Liang H, Haykal R, Kaiksow F, Mazza JJ, Yale SH. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate and C-reactive Protein Measurements and Their Relevance in Clinical Medicine. WMJ. 2016 Dec;115(6):317-21. PMID: 29094869.

  6. Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. White blood cell count in women: relation to inflammatory biomarkers, hematological profiles, visceral adiposity, and other cardiovascular risk factors. J Health Popul Nutr. 2013 Mar;31(1):58-64. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v31i1.14749. PMID: 23617205; PMCID: PMC3702359.

  7. Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. White blood cell count in women: relation to inflammatory biomarkers, hematological profiles, visceral adiposity, and other cardiovascular risk factors. J Health Popul Nutr. 2013 Mar;31(1):58-64. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v31i1.14749. PMID: 23617205; PMCID: PMC3702359.

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Table of contents
Authors
Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Dietitian-Nutritionist, and Health Content Writer

Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN, CDN

Senior Manager of Nutrition Affairs

Davide D'Amico, Ph.D.

R&D Group Leader at Timeline

Knowledge is power
Sign up to our newsletter

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. References: *Nutrition studies: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to (1) induce gene expression related to mitochondria function and metabolism and (2) increase the strength of the hamstring leg muscle in measures of knee extension and flexion in overweight 40-65 year olds. Data from two randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human clinical trials. **Nutrition NOURISH Study: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to deliver at least 6 times higher Urolithin A plasma levels over 24 hours (area under the curve) than 8 ounces (240ml) of pomegranate juice in a randomized human clinical trial.

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