When someone asks for your age, what do you say? When we think of age, we usually think of how many years we have been alive based on the date on our birth certificate. It is the age on our driver’s license. This is referred to as chronological age and is most commonly used. However, there is another type of age, biological age, and although it is not celebrated as much, it is very important to understanding your health and wellness.
Biological age has become a hot topic. Gwenyth Paltrow, the founder of goop, had helped make the science more mainstream when it appeared on her website as well as in her Netflix show, The goop Lab. With greater public awareness, more people are looking at for how to calculate biological age and where to take a test.
Biological age is the age your body is functioning at. You could be fifty years old (chronological age) with a biological age of sixty or forty-five. There are various factors that affect your biological age, such as environment, lifestyle, and longevity protocols. With biological age, you get a better understanding of your likelihood of acquiring an age-related disease.
It is widely understood that chronological age is the most significant risk factor when it comes to age-related disease and death. That said, your biological age can give more detailed information and provide insight into different interventions that could slow the effects of aging, age-related diseases, and even death.
Biological age may also be referred to as your Phenotypic Age or PhenoAge. This compares your biological age to your chronological age. A UCLA analysis looked at the data from 11,432 adults between the ages of twenty and eighty-four and developed a calculation method. The scientists used a three phased approached to create a DNAm PhenoAge calculation. Using NHANES III training data and a proportional hazard penalized regression model, they narrowed it down to 9 biomarkers. The phases were as follows:
- Develop a multi-system estimate of “phenotypic Age” based on clinical markers and validate associations with all-cause mortality, cause specific mortality, co-existing disease count, and physical functioning.
- Train as composite epigenetic predictors of PhenoAge, called DNAm PhenoAge, and validate associations with those mentioned in phase one as well as disease free status, age at menopause, lung and breast cancer incidence, familial longevity, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease prevalence, down syndrome, HIV positive status, chronological age in 35 cells/tissues, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, diet, physical activity, metabolic syndrome, smoking habits, and obesity.
- Identify the underlying biology of the DNAm PhenoAge CpGs and the composite score. This includes GO enrichment, pathway enrichment, LT correlation, differential gene expression, CpG island enrichment, heritability analysis, immune cell associations, CpG overlap with existing clocks, loci-specific DNAm vs. transcription, polygroup group protein targets, chromosomal locations, and longitudinal change.
This information is gathered from a blood test. Your phenotypic age can be calculated by entering the values of your nine biomarkers from your blood test into a calculator. The nine biomarkers include albumin (liver function), alkaline phosphate (liver function), creatinine (kidney function), glucose (metabolism), C-reactive protein (inflammation), lymphocyte (immune system), mean cell volume (immune system), red cell distribution width (immune system) and white blood cells (immune system).
Science has demonstrated that DNAm Phenoage is a significant predictor for mortality and morbidity outcomes which is beneficial for longevity.
Where to take a biological age test?
Thanks to modern science, you can now take a biological age test at home. There are some companies that say they can calculate your biological age through saliva; however, they are not as accurate nor scientific as those that use a blood sample. When looking for a biological age test, it is best to go with an organization focused on longevity science that uses the nine biomarkers from your blood test.
AgelessRx.com, a telehealth subscription service specializing in longevity, offers two options for biological age testing using the science discussed here. The first option is to use an existing blood test. This is a free option where you use previous doctor-ordered blood test results and plug in the values of your nine blood markers. This calculator will then calculate your phenotypic age. For more accurate results, ensure you are using a recent blood test.
If you do not currently have a blood test, that is not a problem – you can select the second option. By visiting one of the 2000+ Quest Diagnostic Lab locations, you can get a blood test that is guaranteed to have all nine required blood markers. An appointment can be made online in advance, or you can look for a location near you and walk in. Once you have the blood test results, you can input them into the calculator on the AgelessRx website.
Scientists have found that your biological age is associated with the likelihood of acquiring certain diseases and even early mortality. Unlike a genetic test, where you can’t change the results, with a biological age test, you can adjust your behaviors to help your body get into a younger state, or at the very least, slow aging.
Many recommendations following a biological age test include adding on more healthy behaviors like sleep and a balanced diet and stopping unhealthy behaviors like smoking. Longevity therapies can also help individuals age less and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
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The use of epigenetic clocks or biological age tests is on the rise. Early this year, it was announced that the life insurance industry would begin using them. We all know people who act and look younger than their age and those who look and act older than they are. This is a reflection of their biological age, but there is also a lot going on under the surface that you cannot see. If you want to live a longer, healthier life and feel younger, then you should take a biological age test. From there, you can make the necessary lifestyle changes and health modifications to help you age less.