It’s easy to forget that the aging process is attended by more than one principle. When someone asks you your age and you’re in the mood to respond, you’ll more than likely do so with your chronological age, i.e the number of years you’ve been alive. There are in fact truer measures than this one, namely the epigenetic clock which refers to the biochemical standard that determines the lucky few that get to grow old gracefully. This molecular test belongs to a larger system known academically as our biological age: a clinical taxonomy of the physiological agents that lengthen human health and lifespan.
All of this to say, your chronological age is not the most reliable predictor of how many more blown-out candles stand between you and eternity. Over the course of a lifetime, our cells begin to replicate less and less faithfully, saying nothing of the manifold series of DNA changes, that leaves us vulnerable to degenerative maladies. The discrepancy of terms leads many to exclusively attempt to attenuate the cosmetic consequences of aging, in rueful dismissal of the epigenetic ones.
So exactly how much older than your physiology are you? A new study published in the journal Current Biology presents fascinating intimations.
The finds come courtesy of a team of researchers from the Universities of Glasglow and Edinburg. Analyzing data from 1,000 elderly participants, the authors uncovered a somatic mutation that widens the gap between our chronological and biological age. Individuals that exhibit this DNA aberration are generally four years older biologically than they are chronological. What’s more, these also express an increased risk for blood cancer, heart disease, and dementia. These uniquely shared mutations in cells belong to a process called clonal haemopoiesis. Thankfully there are effective methods of protecting our genes, and dually decreasing instances of somatic mutation. The key seems to be curtailing inflammation.
Inflammation leaves us vulnerable to chronic illnesses and toxicants in our environment. A good source of inflammation-fighting phytonutrients are foods like kale, arugula, tomatoes, and nuts. Also, consider supplements and components that promote cellular regeneration.
“We should increase consumption of anti-inflammatory foods such as dark leafy greens, sprouts, cruciferous vegetables, and seeds and avoid foods that are pro-inflammatory,” Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D., an integrative neurologist of the mbg Collective explains. “Nicotinamide riboside is a member of the vitamin B3 family and is a precursor of NAD+, which is an important component of a variety of cellular and metabolic processes, and diminished NAD+ levels contribute to degenerative disease.”