How Fast Are You Aging and What Does That Mean? Since aging is the #1 risk factor for most major illnesses, delaying the aging rate by 7 years would cut the incidence of disease in half! Our chronological or actual age does not necessarily reflect our biological age. We could be younger or older and there are now ways to measure and change this. This is a field called epigenetics, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. DNA expression can be measured and modified by DNA methylation.
You can’t change the DNA code, but you can change its expression.
Methylation is a fancy word for an on off switch for DNA expression. Methyl groups are one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms — CH₃. An overly simplistic explanation is, if a methyl group is added to a DNA segment that turns a gene on, that gene would activate without changing the sequence. It would “express itself.” However, if a methyl group is added to a segment that turns a gene off, it would not express. Too much or too little methylation of certain areas of your DNA could accelerate or decelerate your risks for developing conditions and aging. So, if you had a gene that makes it more likely to for you to develop diabetes or Alzheimer’s, methylating some genes and un-methylating others would prevent it from turning on and it would prevent the illness from developing. There are usually several genes that contribute to conditions.
You are in control
Unlike genetics, you can change and should try and change your epigenetic modifications.
Around 60% of your methylation values are changeable and in your control. These epigenetic changes can be controlled by your environment and lifestyle. Furthermore, nutrition and lifestyle habits can make a huge difference in changing the rate of biological aging!
Learn Where You are At
If you are lost, you must first know where you are, to be able to know how to get to where you want to go. You can measure the following to establish how you are aging and how to slow the process:
- Intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration occurs from internal causes or factors within a body, organ, or part
- Extrinsic epigenetic age acceleration is due to external causes outside of a body, organ, or part
- Biologic vs Chronologic Age
- Immune system age
- Telomere Length which allows cells to replicate, if the length is short you can’t make new cells.
- Risk of Diabetes
- Risk of Obesity
- Pace of Aging
High Intrinsic or Extrinsic Epigenetic Age Acceleration IEAA or EEAA
- High IEAA is associated with lung and other forms of cancer and cardiovascular mortality. In addition, damage to organs from high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and death.
- High EEAA reflects multiple aspects of the biological age of the immune system including both changes in blood cell composition and cell-intrinsic epigenetic changes. It increases the hazard of death.
Stress, smoking, excessive alcohol use, lack of sleep, are all associated with accelerated aging. You can anti age with the right nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle, exercise, stress management and environment, you can anti age. While you may already know this, a personalized plan to address the lifestyle factors that are aging you is essential to stay healthy and avoid the ravages of aging and ill health.
You can save thousands of dollars of health care costs and prevent expensive and debilitating illness with the right testing, interpretation and plan. Consider an Anti Aging Evaluation to learn how you can slow the pace of aging and take control of your health from a Functional Anti-Aging physician who has the knowledge and experience to get you back on track.