Quick overview of what you’ll learn from this blog post:
- What is biological aging?
- How is it different from your birthday?
- Does biological aging relate to disease?
“When it comes to measuring, understanding, experiencing, and promoting healthy aging, for a large number of older people, chronological age is no longer relevant.” – Lowsky et al.
We’re flooded with advertisements that talk about looking and feeling younger, with plenty of products promising to do just that. It’s easy to see that growing older impacts people in different ways, just by looking at the people around us. Some people maintain their youthful appearance for longer, or stay fit and competitive in athletic sports against younger athletes.
So, while two people may be celebrating their 70th birthday together, one may blow out their candles from the finish line of a marathon, while another does it from a hospital bed. What creates that difference? The answer is found in the biological process of aging.
Chronological age is still the biggest risk factor of most chronic disease and mortality. However, everyone knows 80 year olds who look 60 and vice versa. This is because everyone is aging a bit differently, on a biological level. Lifestyle, genetic predispositions, and experiences all affect cellular processes, those things also affect aging. Thus, we need a better way to measure age and the biggest risk factor for our ultimate health.
Biological aging is the process of your body gradually losing function. Healthy cells are always engaged in this incredibly complex dance of communication, functionality, and eventual destruction. These steps rely on other cells, proteins, and messages passed perfectly between systems. Since humans are incredibly complex and interconnected systems, there will always be small hiccups and mistakes made. A young, highly functional system will be able to quickly identify and deal with those mistakes.
When the body begins aging, cell functions break down faster than they can be identified and repaired. Messages are lost, incorrect messages are delivered, and old cells hang around long after they were supposed to be destroyed.
This molecular process of aging could be very slow, or it could progress rapidly. Everyone’s rate of aging is unique to them, customized by their rich and complex lives. Aging can appear outwardly in skin condition and hair color, and inwardly with increased frailty, lower immune response, and the loss of things like bone density and motor skills.
Accelerated biological aging is the #1 predictor of chronic disease morbidity and death.
The difference between rapid acceleration and the slowing of aging can mean the difference between a long and healthy life or premature onset of age-related chronic diseases. People with a younger biological age are at a lower risk of suffering age-related diseases. Therefore, an accurate measurement of biological age is a key tool for clinicians to judge whether age-reversal interventions are necessary, and to what extent.
The search for the best methods of testing biological age continue to improve. Several decades ago we could only rely on crude measurements, such as “the number of cigarette packs you smoked per day plus your chronological age”. However, most have followed the idea popularized in 1988 by Baker and Sprott: “biological parameters of an organism that either alone or in some multivariate composite will, in the absence of disease, better predict functional capability at some late age, than will chronological age”.
This search for the best biomarkers continues to progress. Telomere length was a popular marker for some time. In recent years, phenotypic epigenetic clocks seem to be the most widely accepted biomarker of aging. However, this search will continue as our ability to detect, test, and validate biomarkers continues to improve.
If you’re curious about your biological age, or are interested in a biological age test, get started here.
This blog was written in partnership with TruDiagnostic. TruDiagnostic is a Health Data company, specializing in epigenetic testing & research. They use a multi-omic approach to help scientists, physicians, and patients understand and benefit from the information found in the fluid epigenome.
The primary focus for TruDiagnostic is DNA Methylation – they offer a variety of algorithms and lab services for researchers, physicians, and consumers who want the most accurate and insightful longevity analysis from a CLIA-certified and HIPAA-compliant lab.
TruDiagnostic began with TruAge – a test that measures Biological Age by looking at Methylation. They now provide a full suite of aging related metrics. This includes telomere length measurements, intrinsic and extrinsic age calculations, immune cell subset deconvolution, current pace of aging, and more. It is available through AgelessRx here.
TruAge is trusted by clinical trials and academic research institutions across the world.
Note: The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.