While the field of genomic research has been around for decades, the term “epigenetics” was coined recently, and productized epigenetics is even newer to the public eye. Due partly to growing interest in personal health maintenance and quick access to information through the Internet, epigenetics is enjoying greater attention from the consumer market. To help you navigate this enthralling field, we compiled the best practices to mitigate your biological age markers.
The Epigenetic Clock and Why It Matters
It’s useful to know the history surrounding the modern implications of epigenetics and why specific phrases come up often. In the 1990s, researchers discovered that telomeres—sequences of repeated DNA at the ends of chromosomes—shorten with age. With additional study came the discovery that the length of one’s telomeres can predict future health outcomes. Around the same time, researcher John-Pierre Issa found that DNA methylation—the process of a methyl group being added to DNA—changes how cells read genes, which is considered a phenotypic gene change.
These discoveries largely led to Steve Horvath, a biostatistician and geneticist, identifying in 2013 what people often refer to as the Horvath clock test. Horvath discovered at least 350 DNA methylation sites and respective methylation levels that closely correlated with chronological age in various tissues. Subsequent studies revealed that younger Horvath clock test results indicated lower mortality rates across large samples. Thanks to these findings and continuing research, it’s EpiAging USA’s mission to provide biological age marker services that identify your current biological age and how to slow it.
What This Means For You
Epigenetics is relatively new for consumers, and it’s challenging to sort through the sheer volume of information. The good news is that your biological age consists of numerous biological age markers, all of which point to multiple simultaneous cellular processes. Since many factors influence biological age, there are various steps you can take to slow down or even reverse your biological clock.
Incorporate Exercise—Particularly Strength Training
Regular exercise consistently shows to have strong yields for staying young. Exercising often, and particularly with strength-oriented challenges, can reverse your biological age by a significant amount. Activities such as sprinting, pushups, planking, and squatting have shown to improve brain function, level moodiness, and decrease cellular wear-and-tear.
In today’s world of ubiquitous smartphones and computer screens, it’s easy to understand getting a good night’s rest isn’t as simple as it once was. However, not getting quality sleep each night can increase your cortisol—a hormone usually only released in response to stress. Focus on creating a rhythm for going to bed and waking up, and you’ll be creating a healthier body in no time.
Minimize Daily Stress
While it’s often impossible to prepare for various negative life events, this doesn’t mean you can’t mitigate your body’s daily stress responses. Some stress is normal, but just like exercise, your body should have a break from it. If you’re feeling unusually worn out or tired after a typical day’s work, this could be a sign you’re dealing with excess cortisol. A few methods for stress reduction include yoga, walking, intentional deep breathing, or getting a massage.