The Mystery of Babies Being Young
Readers of Real Answers may recall a recent posting in which we thought about what seems a simple question, “Why are babies young?”
Whether you read that posting or not, it remains an odd question.
Of course babies are young, if babies wouldn’t be young what would be? How could someone who is 5 days old be as old as someone who is 30 years old?
So why is this even a question?
The question comes about if you think about how we all age, which simply seems to happen as time goes along. So we all know that a 40 year old looks older than a 10 year old, an 80 year old even older, and so forth.
This seems to be a very ironclad rule. Bodies get older over time, no exceptions.
And getting older happens to every cell in the body. The cells of a 50 year old are each older in appearance and function than the cells of a 5 year old. Aging happens at the level of the cell.
This happens even if cells renew themselves. For example, every 3 weeks everybody has an entirely new coating of skin. It renews every 3 weeks. But we all know the skin of a 60 year old looks and feels different than the skin of an 8 year old, it ages, even though it renews.
This is true of every cell in the body, except for one and only one cell- the fertilized egg.
Somehow the fertilized egg is brand new, 0 minutes old.
And it is brand new, 0 minutes old, even if the mother or father is 18 years old, or 25 years old, or 32 years old, or 48 years old.
This is the mystery. How can every cell in a 42 year old woman and man be 42 years old, but the fertilized egg made from the 42 year old egg, and the 42 year old sperm, be 0 years old, brand new?
The New Finding
There is now another clue in this puzzle. https://nyti.ms/2jORp6K
It comes from an observation in the eggs and sperms of a tiny worm called C. elegans.
What the scientists found was that the eggs of the worm aged just as all cells in the worm did over time, in fact aged by one measure a little faster. But when a sperm drew close and was set to be the one to fertilize, the sperm sent a signal and this signal caused changes in the egg that seemed to make it brand new, not just reversing aging, but starting time over entirely.
How can this be? How can a signal go out from one sperm to one egg and have the age of that egg change from however old to 0?
What they found happened related to clumps of proteins in the egg. It turns out that for everyone of us reading this post, all our cells accumulate old undigested material over time, and this material takes the form of clumped proteins. As they accumulate, the cell ages. Curiously enough, the eggs, at least in the C. elegans worm, accumulate clumped proteins faster than other cells in the worm, suggesting they may age even more rapidly than other cells.
When the sperm is identified for the egg, the signal it sends activates a set of tiny bubbles in nearly every cell called the lysozomes. These bubbles digest material in a cell. In this instance, the signal from the sperm activates the egg’s lysozomes to engulf the clumped proteins, and destroy them. This returns the egg to the state of a brand new baby’s cells.
The scientists even figured out what chemical gave the special signal from sperm to egg and found it did indeed move the egg back in time.
We don’t know for sure this is the story in humans, part of the story in humans, but it is a very enticing clue, and completely fascinating to see age reversed!
- Everyone ages, no exceptions.
- As we age, every cell in our body ages, no exceptions but for one- the fertilized egg.
- If this is so, why is it that a 30 year old woman, in whom every cell is 30 years old, including her unfertilized eggs, has a newborn who is not 30 years old. Yes small makes sense, but how do 30 year old cells create a new person with 0 year old cells?
- We don’t know the answer fully yet, but a new finding demonstrates that fathers may play a pivotal role. A signals from the one designated sperm to the egg to be fertilized, reverse all the years of accumulation of clumped proteins in that egg, and may be the reason the clock starts over at egg fertilization.
Stay tuned, if this is the mechanism, one could easily envision an entire body of cells going back in time, aging may one day be controlled.
What age would you like to be if you could stay that age?
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin