HOW OLD ARE YOU?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
- People age at different rates. Some “look” and “feel” older than their chronological age while other look younger than their chronological age.
- Our biological age is a better parameter of our health well being and life span than our chronological age.
- DNA is the hard ware, genetics is the operating system and DNA methylation and other epigenetic factors are the software that programs the genome.
- A paradigm shift in the search for biological age markers occurred with the discovery of the “epigenetic clock” by Horvath, which is based on measurement of DNA methylation status at 500 strategic positions in DNA.
- Studies suggest that accelerated “epigenetic clock” might be associated with increased risk for several age related chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer at later age. This is however still an open field and more studies are needed.
- Importantly, “epigenetics” in different from “genetics” is potentially reversible by dietary interventions and lifestyle changes.
- Preliminary studies are coming up that show that dietary changes can cause deceleration of epigenetic clock in certain people, however this is still an open life.
- Lifestyle changes including exercise and change in dietary habits have been recommended by national medical associations for some time, however we need more data about the most advisable changes and they should be personalized.
- One way for us to learn about advisable life style changes is sharing our experiences with others and analyzing the impact of differences in life style. This is now possible using sharing technologies such as Apps as well as artificial intelligence.