The main principle behind biological aging is that aging happens gradually as damage to various cells and tissues in the body accumulates.
Biological age, also known as physiological or functional age, varies from chronological age in that it considers things other than the day you were born.
Your biological age, a term used to describe the age at which your body functions at total capacity, is an integral part of understanding your health profile. Tracking it is also vital, as it can shift over time and affect your lifestyle choices.
One method of determining biological age is analyzing chemical changes to your DNA and DNA methylation. This process turns genes on and off throughout your lifetime.
Your biological age is based on how many different biomarkers are present in your body, such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and the kinds of cells and organs you have. You test for biological age by taking a sample of your skin, saliva, or cheek swab.
While many studies have used blood-based biomarkers, such as circulating proteins and fats, there are several other ways to determine your biological age. Some biomarkers, like DNA methylation levels, aren’t measured by traditional clinical methods and can be gathered from an epigenetic test. For example, this gene expression study uses the chemical methylation changes in your cells to determine your biological age.
Biological age, the decline in organ and tissue function characteristic of aging, is the most significant risk factor for many chronic diseases, including frailty and dementia. Although biological aging is inevitable, particular lifestyle and health interventions can slow its rate and prevent disease.
Currently, people around the world are living longer. The ratio of the population aged 60 and more is increasing by the day, with more than one billion individuals predicted to live into their sixties by 2030.
These trends accompany globalization, technological developments, urbanization, and changing gender norms. Consequently, public health professionals must keep track of these changes and frame policies accordingly.
The emergence of new and old diseases, the increasing prevalence of ageist attitudes, and the lack of adequate resources to support older adults contribute to the need to address the issue of aging. The challenge is to find ways to support healthy aging and reduce the number of elderly unable to live independently.
Aging is a complex, dynamic process that affects all aspects of a person’s life. It can lead to a decline in physical and mental abilities, increase the likelihood of illness and death and cause social isolation. However, it can also influence a person’s quality of life and make it harder to meet their needs.
Genes are the chemical units in our DNA that pass information from one person to another. For example, they determine the type of eye color a child will have, whether they’re born male or female, and many other traits. Genetics studies these genes and how they’re passed from parent to child.
There are about 20,000 genes in each of our cells. The DNA that holds the codes for these genes is called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Most people have 22 pairs of chromosomes, which make up the human genome. The 23rd pair of chromosomes is the sex chromosome, which determines whether you’re a male or a female.
Our genetics can also affect how we age. Scientists have found that some people are more susceptible to disease or suffer from a shorter lifespan than others, which is why they’re interested in the relationship between our genetic makeup and how we age.
Biological age is also affected by lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and disease. Studies with long-lived families show that longevity is mainly heritable, but the complex interplay of these factors and random genetic variations can cause differences in how much we age.
Epigenetic clocks, which assess how your DNA changes over time, are the most reliable approach to determining biological age. These changes include methylation and other chemical modifications that influence your cells’ function.
Your biological age is based on the rate at which your cells and tissues lose their ability to function over time. It is a process that your lifestyle choices and genetics can influence.
The pace of aging can be measured in several ways, including using blood samples to measure methylated DNA – DNA with a chemical ‘tag’ known as a methyl group. In addition, various algorithms – known as ‘epigenetic clocks‘ – are available that estimate your biological age based on the level of DNA methylation in your blood or tissue.
Horvath’s and Hannum’s clocks use this method to calculate your biological age. These at-home tests typically take two to six weeks to produce results.
Another method for calculating your biological age is by looking at the levels of methylated DNA – DNA with ‘tags’ that can switch genes on and off – in blood or other tissue. In addition, scientists have developed ‘epigenetic clocks’ algorithms that can accurately measure your biological age based on the level of methylated DNA in your blood or tissue.