What if the secret to live longer is hidden in your own body? For millennia, humankind has sought a “fountain of youth” that could guarantee a long life and good health.
Through all those many centuries, we’ve always looked outside ourselves for the answer but modern research beg to disagree.
RELATED: 5 Reasons To Get Epigenetic Testing
In this article:
- The Problem of Aging
- The Genetic Code
- Gene Expression
- Controlling Genetic Expression
- The Role of Science
- Your Role
- Take the First Step and Live Longer
The Real Secret in Living Longer
The Problem of Aging
The first thing to acknowledge is that aging is universal. We all experience it, though we don’t all go through it at the same speed or the same rate.
We’ve very aware that some people seem to retain their full mental and physical powers even into very old age while others go into decline early on in the process. What is it that causes some to age well—to be super-agers—and others to experience such significant declines in emotional, physical, and cognitive health?
The evidence now points to epigenetics as the answer to this question as we come to understand that the secret to how we age is inside us, written into our genetic code and controlled by gene expression.
The Genetic Code
Our genetic code is a lot like the blueprints for a building. It contains everything we need to “build” us, inherited from our parents, as well as every instruction necessary to run our physiological functions.
Our genetic code is static, however. We need something that can interpret this code and cause our genes to express the instructions.
Just having a gene means nothing if it doesn’t express itself. Genetic expression is what tells one protein to develop into a brain cell and another to develop into a liver cell, for instance.
It also explains why two siblings may inherit the same gene from their parents, and yet only one of them will develop a disease.
Genetic expression takes the codes that are written to in our DNA and allows them to be sent out as instructions. This is done primarily through DNA methylation.
DNA Methylation Definition: A chemical process whereby a group of atoms, called a methyl group, attaches to a molecule
When a methyl group un-attaches from a molecule, this is known as de-methylation. A healthy methylation pattern is like a series of switches constantly turning on and off our gene expression.
When that healthy pattern turns abnormal, all the disorders and diseases associated with aging can result. As a simple example, take cancer.
We have certain genes that signal to our cells to divide and replicate. We have other genes that send a signal for that process to stop when enough new tissue has been created.
When the second gene fails to express properly—when something turns it “off” while the cell-division gene is still “on”—the result is tumor growth.
Since DNA methylation is so important, it only makes sense that we would want to understand how to control it.
Rather than change our actual DNA code, which could have many unintended consequences, or simply treat the symptoms caused by gene expression, we want to be able to control these switches so we can turn them on and off as needed to stop unwanted processes, like tumor growth or metabolism changes that lead to diabetes, for example.
Controlling Genetic Expression
In the debate over which is more important, genetics or lifestyle, we’re coming to understand that lifestyle is the winner. That’s because we can contribute to healthy genetic expression by the way we live.
Current research suggests that our genetic code is, for most of us, only 25% of how long we live. The rest is up to us.
There are ways of measuring where we are in the aging process, and this can help us understand how our lifestyle choices are affecting our aging and whether changes we make are positive.
One thing we can measure is our DNA methylation. Another is the length of our telomeres, which are the caps at the end of our DNA molecules.
These caps protect our DNA from errors in copying, and the longer they are at any given moment, the longer and healthier we will live from that point. Telomere length is a very good predictor of longevity.
The Role of Science
Naturally, scientists are interested in developing interventions that can promote a healthy methylation pattern and protect, or even extend, telomere lengths. Perhaps even more interesting is finding the specific genes responsible for certain diseases, from individual types of cancer to genetic diseases that can be present from birth, and ways to switch these genes on or off.
But while we wait for science to isolate these genes and find ways to control them, is there a way for us to influence our own genetic expression?
Epigenetics research is showing us something exciting: that many of the behaviors and choices we already associate with a healthy lifestyle indeed do promote good health all the way down to the molecular level. All of the following behaviors are known to promote healthy DNA methylation patterns:
- Eating a diet rich in clean proteins, berries, and cruciferous and leafy green vegetables
- Getting regular exercise
- Managing stress levels
- Avoiding nicotine
- Avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
Epigenetics Definition: The study of gene regulation and expression
There are also certain supplements that can further improve our methylation health and even our telomere length. Nicotinamide riboside, for example, which is a form of vitamin B3, is hard to get from diet alone, but it supports healthy cell metabolism in ways that no other form of vitamin B3, such as niacin, can do.
Clinical trials show incredible promise with NR supplementation.
Take the First Step and Live Longer
Knowledge is power, and the first step to controlling your own aging and unleashing the secret power of your body to live longer is to understand your true biological age so you can take steps to improve it. You can do this through the TruAge testing kits.
Armed with that knowledge, you’re ready to turn back the epigenetic clock. To learn more and keep up with all the latest scientific research, visit TruDiagnostic today.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle for longevity? Share your practices with us in the comments below!