How is biological age determined by DNA
DNA methylation is the attachment of a methyl group to chromosomes. It is one of the most studied mechanisms that affect gene activity and aging. More than 20 million variants of this process (methylation sites) are associated with age-related changes in the body. Based on this, a tool was developed called DNAmAge – a “clock” that determines the biological age of a person by the state of chromosomes. In the study, this tool retells all-cause mortality and some diseases better than normal, chronological age.
The authors of the new study indicate that there is reason to believe that cumulative stress throughout life is an important factor in DNA methylation and aging. It was previously known that biological aging is accelerated in people with PTSD.
Biological rejuvenation with safe means
The new study, the first of its kind, involved 43 men aged 50-72. Scientists noted that at this age, pathologies associated with age usually begin to make themselves felt.
The study participants were divided into two groups. One was a control, and the other went through an 8-week lifestyle change program that included a healthy diet, normal sleep, exercise, relaxation advice, and supplements (probiotics and phytonutrients).
Before the start of the study and after its completion, scientists performed a DNAmAge test on the participants to determine their biological age. After eight weeks of a healthy lifestyle, the biological age of the people was 3 years less than it was on the eve of the study. In the control group, scientists did not find such an effect.
“The combination program was designed to influence DNA methylation patterns that predict biological age with a high degree of accuracy. Our results are consistent with several promising early studies attempting to reverse biological age, ”said Kara Fitzgerald of the Institute of Functional Medicine, co-author of the study. She added that the uniqueness of the method lies in the use of safe non-pharmacological effects.
Scientists are currently recruiting participants for a larger study to confirm the anti-aging effects of healthy lifestyles on biological age.
Commenting on the research, Moshe Szyf of McGill University said it provides the latest knowledge about the use of natural factors to influence superficial genetic changes, improve health and possibly prolong life.