Can you imagine living over 100 years in a future world with advanced medical technology? Biological age has captured growing attention from the scientific community and the general population due to its potential implications for extending youthfulness.
As interest in this new health indicator surges, the concept of biological age testing has become a sought-after topic. People are eager to use these tests to gain insights into their aging journey and understand how their lifestyle choices impact their biological age.
So what is a biological age test, exactly? And how, by unraveling the mysteries of our actual age, can researchers pave the way for interventions that promote longevity?
Time May Not Tell Your Real Age | Biological Age Test as a Better Health Indicator
How Old Are You, Exactly?
The Aging Disparity
Why do some people not seem to age, ever? As I wondered about the curious phenomenon of age-defying individuals like celebrities and biohackers, it became clear that the passage of time is not always an accurate indicator of a person’s health.
Indeed, each person’s aging process is unique due to many factors that co-influence our pace of reaching the later stages of life. While most people appear age-appropriate, some look younger (or older) than their chronological age, as indicated in their IDs.
Biological age can vary significantly from chronological age. In other words, they do not always align with each other.
The Aging Factors
Lifestyle choices are vital, with factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management affecting the body’s cellular and overall health. Regular physical activity can keep our heart robust, muscles strong, and joints agile, contributing to increased longevity.
A well-balanced diet rich in nutrients can combat oxidative stress and inflammation, both associated with aging. Meanwhile, stress management techniques like meditation can reduce the impact of psychological stress, which can otherwise accelerate aging.
Of course, genetics play a significant role in how we age.
Some individuals may have inherited advantageous genetic variations that protect against age-related diseases and slow aging. In contrast, genetic predispositions can make some more susceptible to premature aging or age-related conditions.
What Is a Biological Age Test?
A ‘Real Age’ Test
Fortunately, in the pursuit of extending human life expectancy, numerous research labs have been diligently developing tools to determine how we age from within – the biological age test, also known as the real age test.
This cutting-edge assessment goes beyond chronological age and delves into the intricate molecular processes that shape our aging trajectory.
One of the most crucial factors influencing our aging is gene expression, which refers to how our genes are activated or silenced in response to internal and external stimuli.
Over time, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and other influences can lead to alterations in gene expression, impacting the overall aging process.
- PhenoAge: evaluates a comprehensive set of aging-related biomarkers to estimate an individual’s biological age accurately. This sophisticated assessment considers various blood-based markers, including C-reactive protein, albumin, and hemoglobin, to provide insights into overall health and aging status.
- GrimAge: goes further by incorporating DNA methylation patterns into its analysis. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that influences gene expression. GrimAge utilizes these patterns to assess an individual’s risk of age-related diseases, providing a bigger picture of their biological age.
How Does a Biological Age Test Work?
A typical procedure involves the user providing a sample of their biological material, either a saliva or blood sample, which contains essential genetic information that allows experts to analyze epigenetic modifications through gene expression patterns.
Once the sample is collected, it undergoes a comprehensive analysis. The data is then compared to a vast reference database of biological age markers. This comparison allows experts to estimate the individual’s biological age accurately.
The results can be presented as a numerical value or through a graphical representation, illustrating how the biological age compares to the traditional chronological age.
The final report generated from the test includes the person’s biological age and may offer personalized recommendations to promote healthy aging. These often revolve around lifestyle changes that can positively impact gene expression and aging.
Some Popular Tests
One example of biological age tests is the myDNAge test kit, built upon Dr. Steve Horvath’s epigenetic clock.
Based on cutting-edge Next-Generation Sequencing Technology, the test scans over 2,000 biomarkers in the human genome, susceptible to epigenetic changes. By analyzing these markers, it accurately calculates an individual’s biological age.
Some other biological age tests that are currently available include the following:
- NOVOS Age by Novos Labs
- Index by Elysium Health
- TallyAge by Tally Health
- TruAge COMPLETE by TruDiagnostic
What Does a Biological Age Test Result Mean to You?
More Than a Number
The significance of a biological age test extends far beyond simply informing individuals of a number representing their actual age.
It is a powerful tool enabling experts to map out a comprehensive action plan, addressing various aspects of a person’s health to optimize well-being and increase lifespan.
For instance, the myDNAge test report goes beyond revealing biological age and offers a tailored improvement plan. This plan incorporates beneficial practices related to nutrition, lifestyle modifications, stress and weight management, and physical activity.
By implementing the recommendations provided by the myDNAge test report, individuals can proactively address health concerns and change their daily routines.
Moreover, the biological age test report highlights specific biomarkers for overall health. Understanding the status of these biomarkers empowers individuals to take targeted actions to maintain them at optimal levels.
What Can Affect Your Biological Age Test Result?
Various factors can negatively influence a person’s biological age test result. Understanding these elements is crucial to make informed decisions about health and well-being.
Factors negatively affecting a biological age test result include the following:
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity accelerates aging processes and raises biological age.
- Poor Diet: Unhealthy eating habits, high in processed foods and sugars, contribute to premature aging.
- Chronic Stress: Prolonged stress increases inflammation and negatively affects cellular health, leading to an older biological age.
- Sleep Deprivation: Insufficient sleep disrupts bodily functions, contributing to an older biological age.
- Obesity: Excess weight can strain organs, leading to age-related health issues and an elevated biological age.
- Smoking: Tobacco use accelerates cellular damage, increasing biological age.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Heavy drinking harms organs and promotes aging, impacting biological age negatively.
Real-life Success Stories Through Biological Age Testing
Anna Medaris From INSIDER
Anna Medaris, a health correspondent at Insider, took a biological age test and embraced the subsequent lifestyle changes to safeguard her health.
Anna’s curiosity led her to take the TallyAge test, which employs DNA methylation analysis to determine biological age. The results were surprising and disheartening, revealing that her biological age was six years older than her chronological age (42 vs. 36).
Despite initial shock and dismay, Tally Health’s team encouraged Anna to view knowledge as empowerment and to take action.
The report provided recommendations based on a lifestyle survey Anna completed, urging her to focus on enhancing her social life and a sense of purpose. Other suggestions included adjusting her diet, improving sleep, reducing alcohol, and incorporating meditation.
Anna appreciated the recommendations, offering flexibility in implementing lifestyle changes. Reflecting on her experience, she realized nothing could outweigh the significance of understanding and improving her biological age for a healthier future.
Renée Onque From CNBC
Renée Onque, a health reporter at CNBC, also tried the TallyAge test to explore how it could provide insight into her aging process and help her stay behind the passage of time.
Despite a healthy lifestyle, Renée’s biological age turned out to be just one month older than her actual age. Similar to the report found by Anna, this result revealed that her plant-based diet, good-quality sleep, and social fulfillment positively influenced her biological age.
Furthermore, Tally Health emphasized that more than 90% of aging is influenced by lifestyle choices and the environment, encouraging individuals to adopt healthier habits and track their progress over time.
Challenges and Limitations of Biological Age Testing
Long Turnaround Time
Despite its potential benefits, biological age testing has several disadvantages. One of the main hurdles is the long turnaround time for receiving results. Most test kits take 4-6 weeks to return data, leaving individuals anxious and uncertain during the waiting period.
Another drawback is the generic nature of lifestyle and diet recommendations some tests provide. Many results need more customization and consider an individual’s unique needs and circumstances.
This limitation can hinder the effectiveness of the advice offered, as personalized approaches are crucial for optimal health outcomes.
Difficult Data Interpretation
Interpreting the data can also be challenging, especially for individuals who do not have a scientific background. Understanding complex genetic information and epigenetic changes may require additional resources or expert guidance.
Limited Health Evaluation
Moreover, current biological age tests often provide numerical data about age but lack detailed insights into the physical function of organs and bodily systems.
A comprehensive health evaluation goes beyond age alone, and a lack of such details can limit the holistic understanding of one’s well-being.
The most significant limitation is the cost of biological age testing. With kits ranging from $200 to $500, many individuals may find access to these tests unattainable.
This financial barrier prevents a broader demographic from benefiting from the valuable insights and recommendations that these tests can offer.
Bottom Line: Which Future for Biological Age Testing?
In essence, the biological age test is a transformative tool that goes hand-in-hand with actionable recommendations, helping people proactively take charge of their well-being. Armed with this knowledge, individuals can pave the way for a healthier, more fulfilling life with the potential to increase longevity and enjoy a higher quality of life.
In the years to come, as these assessments continue to evolve, biological age tests hold the promise of revolutionizing regenerative medicine, empowering scientists to tackle the difficulties never solved before. Who knows, perhaps doctors and healthcare providers will be able to take advantage of our ‘real age’ to help us add more years to our life.
McCrory C. et al. (2020). Grimage Outperforms Other Epigenetic Clocks In The Prediction Of Age-related Clinical Phenotypes And All-cause Mortality. The Journals Of Gerontology.
If you have questions about the biological age test or any health problems discussed here, contact us and learn more.
At Peak Human, our team of healthcare professionals helps you reach your ‘peak’ health with a custom whole-person approach. Using the most cutting-edge, science-backed biohacking and aesthetic tools available today, we help you achieve the highest physical/cognitive performance state, improving your overall quality of life.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for questions or to book an appointment. Get personalized support and insight from expert physicians.