You try to live a healthy lifestyle, and in looking over your family’s medical history, you worry about whether you might carry a gene for one disorder or another. How well will you age, and will you develop any of the diseases associated with aging along the way? These issues concern us all, and an epigenetic blood DNA test can put them to rest.
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In this article:
- What Your Body Is Doing: Not What It Can Do
- DNA Expression
- What Epigenetics Measures
- Whether Your Biological Clock Is Running Faster or Slower
- DNA Methylation
- If Your Behavior Is Doing What You Think
What You Can Learn From A Blood DNA Test
What Your Body Is Doing: Not What It Can Do
A DNA test can give you a lot of information about genes you have, but it can’t tell you whether those genes are expressing. It’s not enough that something is written into our DNA. It has to actually express if it’s going to have any effect.
The information stored in our DNA has to be converted into a usable message that our body can work with if it’s going to affect us. This is why, for example, two siblings can both carry a gene for a particular disease, but only one actually develops it. In one sibling, the faulty gene expressed, while in the other sibling, it did not.
Gene expression happens when the information in our DNA is converted into an instruction for making a specific protein. This protein goes out and instructs and enables our cells to do things in response to their environment. We can think of gene expression as something like on/off switches for the cells.
What Epigenetics Measures
A regular genetics test can only tell you what
your body can do. It doesn’t tell you if it’s doing it or not.
An epigenetics blood DNA test lets you know if genes are expressing so you can take actionable steps.
Whether Your Biological Clock Is Running Faster or Slower
It’s never been more true that age is just a number, and what should interest all of us
isn’t the number written on our birth certificates but the speed of our biological clock. Specifically, an epigenetic test can tell us how quickly that clock is running in comparison to our chronological one. One of the key ways of measuring the biological clock is by looking at something called DNA methylation.
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This is a chemical change in our DNA that can tell us how our tissues and cells are aging. DNA methylation happens when a small group of molecules, called a methyl group, attaches to a gene, effectively blocking it from expressing. This in itself is neither good nor bad: we need some genes to be turning on and off all the time. When methylation patterns are healthy, the right genes are doing the right things, but when patterns become unhealthy, genes can stay on that should be going off and vice versa.
Scientists have been able to pinpoint sites in the “methylome” that predict biological age. The methylome is the site on the genome where the chemical methylation changes happen. An epigenetic test can find these sites and use them to see how DNA information is being read and the effect this is having on cells and tissues.
If Your Behavior Is Doing What You Think
All kinds of things can influence your biological age, from the toxins you ingest to
patterns of sleep and exercise, diet and alcohol consumption, the state of your relationships, and even your mother’s health while you were in the womb. Some of these issues are out of your control, but many are not. How motivating it would be to have some actual insight into how well changes are working to turn back the clock!
That’s what you get with an epigenetic test. You can find out what your body is doing, meaning you can take actionable steps and then see how they are affecting you going forward.
This is a key influencer of epigenetics. It’s so important that it even has its own branch of science known as nutrigenomics: the study of how food influences the genome. Studies have shown that macronutrients (like protein and fat), micronutrients (like minerals), and bioreactive chemicals (like flavonoids, a type of nutrient that gives color to vegetables and fruit) all regulate gene expression in different ways. A healthy diet that is not deficient in anything and rich in various bioreactive chemicals facilities cell maintenance and lowers the risk of developing certain diseases.
Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere, and they affect gene expression. Metals, air pollution, and the chemicals found in common household cleaners or organic pollutants found on many fruits and vegetables can all disrupt important body systems and cause epigenetic changes that speed up the biological clock. By learning where these toxins are and how to avoid them, you can change gene expression within yourself and slow that clock down. An epigenetic test lets you know how well those changes are working.
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Exercise is known to have multiple benefits on nearly every level of physical and mental health, but we’re learning that exercise even affects the epigenetic level. In one study, for example, a six-month exercise intervention showed significant changes at the epigenetic level, turning off “obesity” genes and genes associated with Type 2 diabetes and changing the way fat tissue functioned within the participants. Again, with an epigenetic test, you’re able to see how your exercise choices are making a positive effect and even which exercises work best to influence your unique biological clock.
Our hormones are another thing that can affect the biological clock at the deepest levels. There’s not much we can do about how our mother’s hormones may have triggered certain epigenetic changes during our earliest development. Still, we can do something to mitigate our stress levels, and studies are showing that cortisol–the stress hormone–causes epigenetic changes in the brain. How seriously are you taking your yoga?
What’s Your True Age? If you’re ready to find out how your biological clock is really running, visit TruDiagnostics today and ask about the TruAge test kit. There’s a lot you can learn from an epigenetic blood DNA test, so start taking charge of your future today.
What are your thoughts on aging? Let us know in the comment section!