A groundbreaking new study just made a group of people biologically younger by switching on certain genes. You can do it too.
There’s no such thing as death by old age; we all must die of something. The inevitable process of ageing is the strongest determinant in your becoming ill and ceasing to be.
Ageing is a biological thing. Death cares not a jot about your ‘number’. That’s why someone can live to 115, side-stepping the flu each season while an 85-year-old might not be so lucky. Physiological markers can be assessed by the wonders of modern technology presenting a ‘biological’ age. You may be delighted to hear that your biological age is lower than your actual one, bravo! But you might also discover the opposite.
As many scientists grapple with the theories of ageing, one group has gone ahead and reversed it, kind of. Is your time written in the stars steadfast and immutable? Or can you do something about it, and if so, what? Well, quite a lot, it turns out, and the funny thing is, you already know how.
‘Whilst the control group left the study a little older than they went in, the lucky intervention group had become an average 3.23 years younger..’
This is the Captain speaking.
To some extent, you can reverse your biological age and possibly extend your life by flipping the right genetic switches. You are the pilot of your life. Your decisions in the cockpit will determine whether you switch on your health and longevity genes or those that will create dysfunction and disease. Buckle up, and remember, no smoking.
Hot off the press, a team of scientists led by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald ND has — amongst the doom and gloom of Corona — revealed a ray of sunshine. They put together a rigorous little randomised control trial (RCT) of 43 grownups aged between 50 and 72. All men, I’m afraid. The trial lasted eight weeks, during which time the researchers recommended specific dietary and lifestyle changes to the lucky intervention group.
Dietary advice centred around a nutrient-dense, low carbohydrate, intermittent fasting diet consisting of quality animal foods, liver and eggs, and heaps of plants with distinct benefits. The focused scientists added a specific probiotic and polyphenols (natural plant chemicals) to the regime because they had a target in sight; our methylation pathways.
Very simply, methylation is a process by which our body turns on and off genes. In other words, it’s phenomenally important for health and ageing and is also well studied. Markers that allow scientists to gauge someone’s biological age are based on patterns of methylation. The well-established chemical step forms the thesis for one of the theories of ageing, which was the catalyst of the study discussed here.
The study’s lifestyle guidance included a minimum of half an hour’s walk five days a week at a perceived exertion rate of between six and eight out of ten. Relaxation techniques were also directed, including breathing exercises twice daily for twenty minutes. Pampered participants prioritized sleep, giving up at least seven hours of their time each night to push out quality zeds.
After eight weeks of this targeted diet and lifestyle approach, the markers spoke for themselves. Whilst the control group left the study a little older than they went in, the lucky intervention group had become an average 3.23 years younger, biologically speaking. Leading epigeneticist and co-author, Moshe Szyf Ph.D., told a reporter:
‘The uniqueness of Dr Fitzgerald’s approach is that her trial devised a natural but mechanistic driven strategy to target the methylation system of our body. This study provides the first insight into the possibility of using natural alterations to target epigenetic processes and improve our well being and perhaps even longevity and lifespan.’
Take the controls
What I love about this study is that these interventions, for the most part, can be started right now. Yes, by you sitting in your cockpit flicking switches. A diet bursting with nutrients, flick. Daily exercise, flick. Good sleep, flick. Dealing with chronic stress any way that works for you, flick. Getting outside more, flick. These things will get you most of the way there. The last thing you want is to fly yourself into the side of a hill because you’ve spent decades flicking the wrong switches in your cockpit.
We all know the ones to avoid, those that only a crazed pilot would activate too often. Smoking, excessive booze, prioritizing Netflix above sleep, stimulants to get you through the day, crappy food, snacking on junk, sweating the small stuff, not enough me-time, avoiding exercise, and hiding from the sun like it’s out to get you. Flick, flick, flick, flick, flick.
You have the controls; fly right, Captain.