How to Live Longer

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski July 30, 2022

What is your Epigenetic age, and how can you improve it?

When you hear people talk about living longer, your mind may go to the term “biohacking.” It’s a popular way of discussing how to adjust in your everyday life to get big health dividends.

Knowing about longevity doesn’t mean you’re hacking your age. You might be younger, or in some cases, older than you think. Rather than measuring your age by your date of birth, you can look at your epigenetic age. Do you want to know how old you really are and how you can improve that number? Keep reading to learn about your epigenetic age and ways you can improve it to have more autonomy over your health.

Defining Epigenetic Age

Measuring epigenetic age considers more than one factor. It reflects different exposures and disease risks that don’t have anything to do with your chronological age. Scientists use it as a biomarker when considering risks for early disease detection and possible prevention.

To get your epigenetic age, your DNA methylation is studied as an age indicator. DNA methylation is the process your body uses when adding methyl groups to DNA molecules. When this happens, the DNA activity changes without modifying the sequence. (1)

Why It Matters

If you’re wondering why something that seems like such a scientific process matters to you, remember that DNA changes may predict your life expectancy. You may have heard the adage that age is just a number. In truth, age is much more than a number.

As we age, our DNA changes. Many of those changes are epigenetic, meaning they modify our DNA without changing the genetic sequence. Our epigenetic changes affect the turning off and on of genes and helps regulate how our cells use these genetic codes.

That means that your epigenetic age could help determine your health outcomes. It seems there is a direct relationship between mortality and epigenetic age. What this means for you is that you aren’t destined to get a disease that your mother or father had. You also don’t have to suffer with poor health as you get older.

Epigenetic patterns can be used to help determine age models in conjunction with chronological age. Factoring in things like blood cell composition, researchers can predict mortality from all causes for various sexes and ethnicities. (2)

Increasing Longevity

Can you use epigenetics to slow down the aging process? It turns out you may be able to increase your longevity with specific tools like supplements and lifestyle changes.

When you make these changes, it can change how our body reads your DNA. Your lifestyle behaviors will directly impact your epigenetics. Your epigenetics can change throughout your lifespan. It’s also interesting to note that these changes aren’t always permanent. As your lifestyle or environment changes, so will your epigenetics. (3)

An easy example of this would be smoking. Smoking cigarettes can cause epigenetic changes. Heavy smokers will have less DNA methylation than non-smokers. Yet, after quitting smoking, the same people may reach levels close to those of non-smokers. The length of time will depend on factors like how long they smoked and how much they smoked. That is exciting news because it means you can have more power than you may think over your health. Getting rid of some bad habits today can help you change your health outcomes for the future.

Practical Measures

When you want to change how long you may live or how healthy you could be during that time there are practical ways to do it. You don’t have to get bogged down and overwhelmed by too much scientific jargon. When it comes down to it, there are simple ways to change your health that you can start implementing today.

Supplements:

One of the easiest things you can do is take quality supplements that can improve your overall health and wellness. Before you go out and try different vitamins you see advertised, you need to be specific about what you need.

Your hormones always play a crucial role in longevity. Knowing your levels for hormones like DHEA and cortisol are critical. If you learn what deficiencies you have, you will know what supplements to take, rather than buying random products you may not even need. A simple hormone lab test can show you what measures you need to take to fight disease and improve your chances at a longer, healthier life.

Two supplements that stand out for epigenetic longevity are NAD and DHEA. Research has shown that NAD levels decline as we get older, and this decrease is associated with physiological aging. NAD is also a precursor that protects against age-related diseases. (4)

DHEA is a hormone that reduces anxiety and stress. It can restore a stable mood and maintaining your DHEA levels could slow the aging proses and improve your cognitive function.

Fasting:

You’ve most likely heard a lot about intermittent fasting lately. There are also other kinds of fasting, like water fasts and extended fasting. The easiest way to begin a fasting protocol is with intermittent fasting.

This kind of fasting keeps your cells and DNA healthy, which helps slow down aging. Time-restricted eating and limiting calories enhances energy production and lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. It also decreases cellular damage, which contributes to aging. (5)

Lifestyle Changes:

When it comes to how much ownership you have over your aging, some of the interventions you can make will improve your overall health. Getting enough sleep is crucial because your body repairs itself when you sleep. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you can’t get the cell repair you need to enhance epigenetic aging. Studies found that women who had babies and didn’t get sufficient sleep during early postpartum periods experienced accelerated biological aging. (6)

If you find you have trouble sleeping, opt for a natural remedy. Prescription sleep medications come with a ton of side effects and can be addictive. Natural sources can help you get quality sleep without any harsh effects.

Exercising is a tremendous way to increase your longevity. Even when you begin exercising later in life, the routine can slow down epigenetic aging in skeletal muscle. You don’t have to work out for hours on end to get healthy. Start slow and take a thirty minute walk several times per week. Try some resistance training. Do anything you enjoy that means being active and start moving your body. (7)

Healthy Diet and Gene Expression:

Consuming a diet high in healthy fats and low in carbs may also help increase longevity. A ketogenic diet includes the fats and low-carb veggies that contain sulforaphane, which is thought to prolong lifespan. It also may prevent diseases.

Switching to a healthy diet can help you with inflammation. When you have too much inflammation in your body, it causes diseases, which can lead to accelerated aging. (8)

Keeping Things Simple

There is a lot of science behind epigenetic aging. The most crucial information you need to take away from this is that you are not doomed to the same illnesses your family has had.

Epigenetics helps us understand that our genes don’t always determine our destiny. Our environments, lifestyles, and diets play equal roles in our health and wellbeing.

The way we live our lives can have a profound effect on our quality of health and longevity. There are things you can do now that will dramatically change your health and could increase your epigenetic age. We once thought age was only a number, but as we have learned, age is a combination of so many factors. If you’ve ever felt like it was too late to change, the science is showing more and more that is not the case. We have numerous resources and tools to help you on your health journey. To learn more, visit our site or contact us today for a consult. We offer individualized services to help with your unique needs.

 

References : https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318965#:~:text=Epigenetic%20aging%20is%20a%20novel,for%20early%20detection%20or%20prevention.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2011.00074/full#:~:text=DNA%20methylation%20is%20a%20biochemical,to%20biological%20health%20and%20disease.

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/dna-changes-predict-longevity

https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm#:~:text=Unlike%20genetic%20changes%2C%20epigenetic%20changes,the%20instructions%20within%20your%20genes.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163718300060#:~:text=Accumulating%20evidence%20has%20demonstrated%20that,in%20aging%20and%20longevity%20regulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826138/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00322/full

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/dhea/art-20045605#:~:text=What%20does%20DHEA%20have%20to,cognitive%20function%20and%20body%20composition.

https://www.bioagehealth.com/how-intermittent-fasting-can-help-to-fight-aging/#:~:text=Intermittent%20fasting%20triggers%20multiple%20changes,keeping%20cells%20and%20DNA%20healthy.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33903077/#:~:text=Self%2Dreported%20poor%20sleep%20quality,associated%20with%20accelerated%20biological%20aging.

https://www.genengnews.com/topics/omics/epigenetics/exercise-started-later-in-life-helps-keep-muscles-youthful-holds-back-epigenetic-aging/

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/625227#:~:text=lifespan%2C%20were%20upregulated.-,The%20results%20in%20this%20Aging%2DUS%20research%20output%2C%20indicate%20that,healthy%20aging%20and%20disease%20prevention.

https://www.whatisepigenetics.com/how-a-ketogenic-diet-may-change-your-gene-expression/

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski



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