Age is not just numbers, but speed, withwhich cells, tissues and organs wear out depending on the state of health. Aging is known to be a major risk factor for the development of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, osteoporosis and cancer, more so than smoking, lack of physical activity and the number of years lived. However, while increasing the risk of developing numerous diseases by a thousand times, aging is not a reliable indicator of how quickly a person will reach old age. Researchers believe that this is due to the difference between chronological age (number of years lived) and biological (physical and functional abilities). For this reason, determining biological age is critical to health by delaying, reversing or even reversing the aging process.
biological age is a more accurate indicator of lifespan than chronological age and does not directly correlate with wrinkles and gray hair.
- 1 Factors of aging of the body
- 2 How to determine the biological age?
- 3 How to prolong youth?
- 4 Epigenetic tests
Factors of aging of the body
Throughout history, people have soughtfountain of youth. And while there is still no elixir of youth, numerous studies show that delaying aging is one way to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. Habits, environmental conditions, sleep and exercise allow us to stay healthy longer.
As shown by the results of previousstudies, the main enemy of old age is also loneliness - social connections are necessary for well-being throughout life. However, maintaining them over time can be difficult due to the loss of family and friends, depression, chronic illness, or other factors. Several studies have reported strong associations between social isolation and stress, morbidity and mortality.
We talked about whether it is possible to reverse aging in this article, do not miss it!
Diet and exercise are similaraffect biological age. The blue zones are areas where centenarians live, explaining the respite from aging through nutrition, exercise and social connections. Eating a predominantly plant-based diet and being active throughout the day are well-known “secrets” to health and longevity.
How to determine biological age?
When discussing biological age, it is importantconsider human health and resilience and not focus solely on illness. Vitality refers to the adaptation and recovery of the body after illnesses, which often make it possible to determine the general condition of the body. However, the best way to cope with this (and prevent the development of deadly diseases) is with the help of molecular markers - a kind of imprint of biological age.
The molecular fingerprint of aging can becomea tool that can be used to identify people with chronic diseases and poor health. Such people, as a rule, need observation and early medical intervention to maintain their health and reduce mortality, experts say.
One of these markers is epigenetic clock is the totality of epigenetic DNA marks, withwhich can be used to determine the biological age of cells, tissues or organs. Simply put, epigenetics is the chemical modification of DNA that controls the function of genes. Thus, age-related changes can be detected due to the “imprints” in DNA that appear as the body ages.
Read even more interesting articles about the fight against aging and a healthy lifestyle on our channel in Yandex.Zen - articles that are not on the site are regularly published there!
However, it should be noted that epigenetichours do not equate to biological age. In addition, it is not clear exactly how these "fingerprints" work or contribute to aging. In addition, to date, there is no effective test for predicting human health at an early stage of life. For this reason, scientists are looking for specific molecules, a kind of "fingerprint" to determine biological age.
How to prolong youth?
Another well-known marker of biological age is the accumulation in the body of special dysfunctional cells that age due to severe stress and are damaged so much that cell division stops, releasing molecules that cause chronic inflammation and numerous diseases.
Animal studies have shown that disposalfrom senescent cells can increase lifespan. However, the factors that clearly define dysfunctional cells in humans are still unknown. For this reason, it is not easy to measure biological age, even with the help of special tests.
See also: Can cell aging be prevented?
The situation is also complicated by metabolic products(metabolites), which play an important role in the functional health of the body. Today, a huge number of scientists are working to determine the exact composition of these chemicals in order to understand which ones can best measure biological age. As you can see, scientists have a lot of work ahead, but one thing is known for sure - proper nutrition and physical activity. successfully slow down the biological aging of the body.
You have probably heard more than once about specificDNA tests (23andMe and Ancestry), with which you can not only find distant relatives, but also determine the risks of a number of diseases, for example, a tendency to develop cancer or other dangerous illnesses. Today, there are several startups in the world that sell tests that can be used to determine biological age. To do this, it is enough to take a blood, urine or saliva test.
More on the topic: How do DNA mutations affect the aging of the body?
Similar tests measure epigenetic changesin the body that influence the behavior of genes. In addition to specifying the age of each client, many companies provide an action plan with personalized recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. As a rule, they relate to sleep-wake patterns, proper nutrition and physical activity.
We think that some people age more slowly andlive longer, while others experience chronic diseases earlier and age faster. Biological age is a way of trying to summarize these differences between people, says Daniel Belsky, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University who studies aging.
But despite the popularity of epigenetictests, scientists do not yet have enough knowledge about whether they are sensitive enough to detect changes in lifestyle and predict aging. But while more research is needed, epigenetic testing can be beneficial today by inspiring people to form healthy habits.