Learn more about epigenetics and how it can slow aging so you can enjoy a long healthy life.
In this article:
- Why Do We Age?
- When Does Aging Start?
- What Is Epigenetics, and How Does It Relate to Aging?
- What Is Biological or Epigenetic Age?
- How can epigenetics slow aging?
- How Can You Determine Your Biological Age?
The Secrets to Slow Aging May Be in Your Genes
Why Do We Age?
Aging is a complex and time-dependent process where cells change and deteriorate. It impacts several biological functions. For example, aging slows down metabolism, affects hormone production, and leads to cell senescence.
What is cell senescence? Cells can’t divide indefinitely. Senescence is when cells lose the power to replicate.
Several theories aim to explain the aging process, but there’s no unifying theory.
Theories of aging include programmed theories and damage or error theories (non-programmed).
According to programmed theories, aging is a natural process, and human cells are programmed to live for a limited time only. In effect, aging follows a timetable, similar to that of childhood development or puberty.
On the other hand, damage or error theories believe humans age because of environmental factors. From this perspective, aging is a “fixable” problem.
Regardless of the cause of aging, several factors accelerate aging, including diet, exercise, and genetics.
When Does Aging Start?
Aging includes all the changes the body goes through during a lifetime. Some argue that aging starts at birth, but the body can reverse or heal most of the damage until a specific point. When the body reaches this threshold, the signs of aging begin.
Humans generally reach maturity in their 20s. Unfortunately, soon after we reach our physical peak, some biological functions start declining. The brain, lungs, and skin start aging as early as our 20’s. And hair, fertility, bone density, and metabolism begin decreasing in our 30s.
Most of this aging go by relatively unnoticed, but after 40 more and more signs of aging appear.
What Is Epigenetics, and How Does It Relate to Aging?
Epigenetics look at genes in an environmental context. In other words, it studies the effect of outside factors like lifestyle on gene expression and what that means for aging and diseases.
Epigenetics is part of life, from the embryo phase to aging, and some epigenetic alterations build up through the years. The environment can change epigenetic patterns for the better or worse.
Epigenetics, as opposed the genetics, has the potential to be reversed. The implication of this is to slow aging and live longer and healthier, as well as improved treatments for diseases like cancer?
What Is Biological or Epigenetic Age?
Biological age is a measure of how old your cells are. It is sometimes referred to as real age because, unlike chronological age, it tells you at what rate your cells are declining.
Telomere length, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, is one way to determine biological age. Long telomeres are associated with health and youth.
DNA methylation is one of the influencing factors in telomere length and one of the crucial indicators of biological age.
Different organs and cells have different levels of DNA methylation and thus age at different rates. Biological age is an average of all the cell ages in the body.
How can epigenetics slow aging?
Epigenetic determines the cumulative rate of aging. In other words, how fast or slow someone is aging.
A biological age much higher than a chronological age indicates faster aging and, in turn, a higher mortality rate.
If a 45-year-old may have a biological age of 70, the body’s cells are aging 1.5 times faster than chronological age.
By knowing the rate of age, preventative measures can be put in place to slow aging.
Another way epigenetics slow aging and improve health is through identifying genes that pose a risk to future health. In addition to identifying harmful genes, an epigenetic test can indicate how those genes are expressing.
Epigenetics uses evidence-based research to provide treatment opportunities and guide your health trajectory. Researchers are also continually developing treatments to slow aging.
Finally, epigenetics can determine if the step you’re taking to slow aging is making a difference.
How Can You Determine Your Biological Age?
A blood, urine, or saliva sample is analyzed for specific genetic markers to determine biological age.
While urine and saliva samples are simpler to collect, the tests don’t have a scientific basis to support their use. Blood tests are the most accurate.
Because epigenetics focuses on the impact of environmental factors on aging, it can provide actionable steps to slow aging. Find out your TruAge today to take actionable steps to slow aging and live a long healthy life.
Do you know of some ways to slow aging? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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