That day has come when you feel that age is winning the battle. In the midst of the maelstrom of parties, alcohol has managed to make a dent in a way that just a few years ago you would never have allowed yourself to admit.But you’re not 20 anymore, and the drink, the food and the party do not feel the same to you, as much as you’d like. What has happened? What has happened to your body so that it does not last half of what it did before?
Those wonderful 20 years
I still remember a sunrise rocked by the cool mountain breeze at 7 a.m. He had slept only two and a half hours, after a night of jarana. That same morning, I and the same friends with whom a few hours ago I shared some drinks, we cleared ourselves to the cold while we saw the sun rise. It was revitalizing because we were 21 years old. To this day, thinking about doing something like this makes my hair stand on end, and it’s only been 10 years since then. With a body of thirty and a few, to think of sleeping less than seven hours to walk a few kilometers on the mountain can be a little bearable challenge. At least for most people.
When you reach a certain age, sleep little, and more if you are going to make some effort, it has a considerable price, which we are not always willing to pay. Normally, metabolic and physiological peaks are reached between 14 and 30 years.
From here, as a general normal, our body “settles” and there is only the slow and pleasant descent “to the abyss” of old age (greatly exaggerating the situation). In any case, at 20 we live a hormonal, metabolic and muscular apogee that allows us to better resist many types of adverse situations. This is what happens to the body.
Hangovers are worse
As the years go by, our body has less capacity to efficiently manage poisonings. Remember that consuming alcohol is nothing but poison a bit with playful intent. The body of mammals is prepared to process alcohol from the fermentation of food. But this process is a means of defense, since alcohol is toxic (in any sense).
As the years go by, our ability to produce alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the enzyme (a set of seven enzymes actually) that is responsible for processing alcohol, is reduced. This supposes a greater alcohol intoxication and worse effects coming from the metabolism that must protect us.
In addition to ADH, our liver also produces fewer enzymes, such as acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, responsible for the metabolism of acetaldehyde, which is a very aggressive and dangerous substance in our body. To all this is added a less efficient control of hydration, something fundamental in the metabolism of any toxic substance.
Physiology, that damn traitor
As the years go by, our body varies enormously. While the first important physiological changes (reproductive maturity) arrive with adolescence, the composition of the body continues to vary with the passage of the first three decades.
From the mid-twenties, as a general normal, the body tends to accumulate more fat. At thirty, a human adult usually has his muscular peak. From here the body usually varies to acquire more fat and lose muscle. This plays against us, since less muscle consumes less energy and metabolism slows down in many ways. Fat also hinders the treatment of some toxic substances that are liposoluble. To this we can add that your stomach no longer resists greasy foods in the same way. On the other hand, the cells responsible for protecting us, like those of the immune system, also work worse. All this causes the body to take more time to recover from the adverse effects of any effort. What at 20 years was a bad morning hours, at 30 they become a day, or more, because of our physiology.
The nervous system is no longer your friend
As it could not be less, the nervous system is not for the work. Neuroplasticity, the ability of neurons to develop new connections and change old ones, is disappearing. Neuroplasticity is the essential basis of many neurological processes. Therefore, over time, this reduction negatively affects our recovery.
On the other hand, stress affects us more, perhaps due to the responsibilities acquired or a strong change of priorities in life. The point is that it is not only our mind, but our brain, which is not for those jogs either. As if all this were not enough, our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that controls all living beings, is changing.
With time, we become more morning and less evening, until in old age the cycle acquires extreme patterns (of going to bed very early and getting up even earlier, sleeping little). As the years pass it is harder to stay awake, to party. And this has consequences, because we will wake up early, equally, without having rested well.
In short, at 30 we can no longer do what we did at 20 because our body has already become adult. From adolescence to maturity, it is a bag of hormones, with incredible metabolic capacity. From its peak moment, it will settle down and, over time, lose capacity. A typical party of a twentysomething, however much we like it, is an effort that the body has to mitigate: alcohol, lack of sleep, greasy food, a lot of movement, the social aspect … And over the years, this effort becomes more and more uphill.