Think you know how old you are? Think again.
Instead of measuring your chronological age (the amount of time since your date of birth), modern scientists and precision health experts are putting more emphasis on epigenetic age. Here’s what to know about this modern health metric and what epigenetic age can tell you about your longevity. Plus, how to improve your epigenetic age.
Epigenetics literally means “above our genes.” It refers to the modification of our DNA, RNA, or protein, which can change or regulate these molecules without altering the primary sequence of your DNA.
Until recently, science and the medical world believed that our genes were our destiny – you get what you get, so to speak. Today, that assumption has been debunked. We now know that our actions and lifestyle impact how our genes operate. From the food we eat, the environment we live in, how we think, and how we breathe, everything we do matters. Therefore, our choices affect how our genes behave.
Why does this matter? It gives you more autonomy over your own health. Epigenetic mechanisms play a crucial role in regulating biological processes as diverse as development, learning, metabolism, and in the progression of diseases such as cancer.
Epigenetic age is a new way to measure biological age. Instead of only looking at time, epigenetic age uses DNA methylation, the most abundant and best-studied epigenetic modification, as a reliable indicator of biological age. DNA methylation, remember, is the process your body uses to add methyl groups to the DNA molecule, thereby changing the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence.
So, can you use epigenetics to slow the aging process and increase your longevity? The research is promising, and precision health experts are best positioned to conduct an epigenetic age test and give you specific advice for using epigenetic to slow aging. Here are a few ways to get started:
Supplements: Numerous studies have linked nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), DHEA, and growth hormone to longevity. Talk to your precision health doctor about how to safely incorporate these compounds into your supplement routine.
Rapamycin: This common medication, used to help transplant individuals, has been shown to target a complex in our bodies called mTOR. More specifically it acts on MTORC1 within mTOR and optimizes many functions within the cell, leading to autophagy and a myriad of health benefits. Many researchers consider this the top longevity intervention.
Senolytics: A relatively new area of research, senolytics are intended to disrupt the aging process and eliminate senescent cells. Senescent cells are damaged cells in the body that send distress signals to surrounding tissues. This cascade of events is considered a hallmark of aging.
Sauna: Sweating it out in a dry heat to improve your epigenetic age? Say less. The sauna aids the longevity process by improving your cardiovascular risk and heat shock protein production. These help reduce inflammation, and they can fend off certain diseases.
Fasting: Intermittent fasting, extended fasting, and a fasting-mimicking diet have been linked to improved longevity. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition expert about how to approve caloric restriction without introducing disordered habits or becoming malnourished.
Lifestyle interventions: Sleep, exercise with HIIT and resistance training added, nutrition, and stress management can all influence your epigenetic age.
Want to improve your epigenetic age and your longevity? We include personalized recommendations and suggested lifestyle changes in your Wild Health Personalized Report. Learn more about how we can help you improve your longevity by booking a free coaching call.