Healthy Aging

How To Know If You’re Aging Well

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Telomere Activation Complex And Mitochondrial Enhancement Matrix.


How To Know If You’re Aging Well about Genesis

You want to age well, but how can you know if you’re achieving that?

Looking in the mirror gives you one clue, but you need something more scientific than peering at unwelcome age spots and crow’s feet to shed light on your biological age. And good news, that’s just what scientists have come up with.

They found various factors in a person’s blood can predict biological age. We’ve written about many of these in the past from markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, to psychological health and telomere length, even levels of certain nutrients.

Now we’ve got three new biomarkers to add to the list. Here’s what you need to know…

What drives differences in biological age?

“Age is more than just a number,” says Aditi Gurkar, assistant professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Imagine two people aged 65: One rides a bike to work and goes skiing on the weekends and the other can’t climb a flight of stairs. They have the same chronological age, but very different biological ages. Why do these two people age differently? This question drives my research.”

Dr. Gurkar and her team recruited 196 Pittsburgh residents classified as healthy or rapid agers. Healthy agers aged 75 and older could walk up a flight of stairs or walk for 15 minutes without resting. Rapid agers were younger, aged 65 to 75, who couldn’t complete these tasks without stopping for a rest.

The team chose walking as a task because it’s an all-round measure of cardiovascular, muscular, and neurological health and is considered the single best predictor of hospitalization, disability, functional decline, and death in older adults.

Rapid agers, being younger than healthy agers, allowed the researchers to home in on blood markers of biological rather than chronological age. They focused on metabolomics. Metabolomics is a growing field of study of small molecules, known as metabolites, within cells, biofluids, tissues, or organisms. These metabolites reflect the underlying biochemical activity and state of cells or tissues and can reveal aging status.

After measuring metabolites of study participants, Dr. Gurkar and her team created the Healthy Aging Metabolic (HAM) Index as a benchmark for measuring the way your body ages.

HAM measures biological aging

“Other studies have looked at genetics to measure biological aging, but genes are very static: the genes you’re born with are the genes you die with. We chose to look at metabolites because they are dynamic: They change in real time to reflect our current health and how we feel, and we have the power to influence them through our lifestyles, diet, and environment,” explained Dr. Gurkar.

They found clear differences in the metabolomes of both groups, indicating that metabolites in the blood could reflect biological age.

Their analysis also identified 25 metabolites they termed the Healthy Aging Metabolic (HAM) Index. This proved better than other commonly used distinguishing healthy from rapid agers. They validated the new index in a separate group of older adults by correctly predicting which ones could walk for ten minutes without stopping. It had an accuracy of about 68 percent.

“We took a very different cohort of people from a different geographical region, and we saw the same metabolites were associated with biological aging,” said Dr. Gurkar. “This gives us confidence that the HAM Index can truly predict who is a healthy ager versus a rapid ager.”

In further analysis using AI, the team identified three metabolites most likely to promote healthy aging. The first is eicosadienoylcarnitine, a molecule that transports fatty acids into mitochondria to produce energy.

However, the other two are of more interest because what we eat can influence our blood levels.

Butternut squash and bone broth

The second metabolite is beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables that’s “potentially causal to healthy aging”, the research team wrote in a paper published in the journal Aging Cell in March.

This carotenoid has previously been linked to a reduced risk of multiple age-related diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and other degenerative diseases. Supplementation increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and suppressed inflammation. The best source is butternut squash. Other good sources of beta-cryptoxanthin are tangerines and red peppers.

The third metabolite is prolyl-hydroxyproline, formed from the ingestion of collagen peptides.

We produce collagen from protein-rich or collagen-rich foods like bone broth, meat, and fish. Collagen breakdown is a marker of aging and prolyl-hydroxyproline has been shown to help reduce wrinkles and improve skin moisture content. “However, whether inhibition of such collagen degradation can promote healthy aging,” the researchers write, “is not yet well-understood.”

Nevertheless, since it was selected as a key metabolite, including collagen-rich foods in the diet seems like a good idea.

Dr. Gurkar and her team are hoping to extend their work to encompass younger folk as well as seniors. Ultimately, Dr. Gurkar hopes the science will help new anti-aging strategies.

Uncovering new strategies to prevent aging

“While it’s great that we can predict biological aging in older adults, what would be even more exciting is a blood test that, for example, can tell someone who’s 35 that they have a biological age more like a 45-year-old.

“That person could then think about changing aspects of their lifestyle early — whether that’s improving their sleep, diet, or exercise regime — to hopefully reverse their biological age.

“Today, in medicine, we tend to wait for a problem to occur before we treat it,” she added. “But aging doesn’t work that way — it’s about prevention. I think the future of medicine is going to be about knowing early on how someone is aging and developing personalized interventions to delay disease and extend healthspan.”

Our takeaway

Measuring biomarkers is really the wave of the future in anti-aging medicine. Over the years, we’ve reported on a number of metabolic profiling tests, including at-home tests, to help you measure various biomarkers and assess your biological age. For this new research, you can ask your doctor to measure each of the three biomarkers Dr. Gurkar’s team uncovered: eicosadienoylcarnitine, beta-cryptoxanthin, and prolyl-hydroxyproline.

Be warned, however, that you may need to find a laboratory that offers metabolomic testing. Some specialized labs and clinics focus on metabolic and nutritional testing and will use mass spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) or similar analytical techniques to measure the levels of these biomarkers in your blood.

This type of testing can really help you in your fight against aging. Understanding your metabolic profile can provide information about cellular damage, oxidative stress, inflammation, and other processes associated with aging. This can help you and your doctor establish personalized dietary changes, supplements, or lifestyle modifications, to promote healthy aging and help reverse your biological age.

UPMC news New Study Reveals Molecular Fingerprint of Biological Aging 3/11/2024

Hamsanathan S, et al. A molecular index for biological age identified from the metabolome and senescence-associated secretome in humans Aging Cell. 2024 Mar 7:e14104.



Telomere Activation Complex And Mitochondrial Enhancement Matrix.


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