Recently on the Blog, we discussed “What is Longevity Medicine?” . Longevity Medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the optimization and enhancement of aging processes, extending lifespan and healthspan. Longevity Medicine takes on a precision approach, which involves the use of big data and breakthrough technology to collect medical information about an individual’s health, allowing for personalized treatments and plans that target each patient’s needs. One such technology has been developed by researcher is The DNA Methylation Age Clock. In this article we will dive deeper into one of the topics related to Longevity Medicine: DNA Methylation Age Clock (DMAC).
WHAT IS DNA METHYLATION?
Our DNA is composed of four different nucleotides – Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine.
These nucleotide pairs form the basis of our genetic code, passing from generation to generation. The methylation process is part of a larger process called epigenetics, which refers to any biochemical changes made to DNA that do not alter the gene sequence yet still have an effect on gene expression. DNA methylation is a process in which the fourth building block of our DNA, cytosine, bonds with a molecule called Methyl Group (CH3). This connecting between cytosine and CH3 is known as “methylated” and it alters the functioning of our DNA, impacting gene expression. Gene expression refers to the level of activity a certain gene has. This is important as it can influence the risk of certain diseases, age-related decline in health and other aging processes.
Is methylation bad? No, not necessarily. The methylation process is important for the proper functioning of our cells and tissues. It is a natural progress that has evolved over millions of years to help regulate gene expression in an efficient manner. As we age, so does our DNA, which means that its methylation patterns can change as well. However, this process can be accelerated by a variety of different factors such as diet, lifestyle and environmental influences.
WHAT IS DNA METHYLATION AGE CLOCK?
The DNA Methylation Age Clock (DMAC) is an algorithm that can accurately measure biological age by analyzing over 350,000 methylation sites on one’s DNA. DMAC estimates the expected lifespan of an individual based on the age-associated changes in methylation levels. DMAC is an extremely precise measure of biological age, our age as measured by the clock of our own body, which is distinct from chronological age, providing information on how well an individual has aged compared to their chronological age. It also helps to identify any potential disease risk factors before they develop and suggests lifestyle modifications that can help slow down aging processes.
OTHER BIOMARKERS OF AGING
In addition to DMAC, there are many other biomarkers of aging used in Longevity Medicine. These include telomere length, IGF-1 levels and inflammation markers that help us measure how well an individual has aged compared to their projected age and other tests. With the increasing precision of these biomarkers of aging, physicians and healthcare professionals can accurately assess the risk for age-associated diseases and plan personalized treatments that take into account an individual’s epigenetic profile.
Epigenetics is a term that has recently been popular over the last few years due to its potential implications in the field of Longevity Medicine. Epigenetics refers to any biochemical changes made to DNA that do not alter the gene sequence yet still have an effect on gene expression. In simple terms, epigenetics can be thought of as the “switch” that turns certain genes on and off in response to environmental factors. This process is extremely important when it comes to aging, as epigenetic changes can lead to age-related decline in health, such as increased risk of diseases, and has been linked to our longevity. Studies suggest that epigenetics plays a significant role in the aging process, and understanding how it works can help us develop new treatments for diseases related to aging.
EVOLUTION OF MEDICINE
The field of Longevity Medicine has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. By combining the latest technological advancements in genetics, genomics, and epigenetics with our increased understanding of aging, we are on the brink of unlocking numerous new treatments that can help us slow down the aging process and delay age-related diseases. The DNA Methylation Age Clock is one of these advances, and by understanding how epigenetic changes affect aging we can better prepare for the journey ahead. As more knowledge is gained about this process, it will become increasingly easy to develop improved treatments targeted at slowing down the aging process and increasing our longevity.
At the Institute for Human Optimization, we are a Longevity and Functional Medicine Practice that specializes in helping individuals improve their health and increase their longevity. Our team leverages the latest technologies to evaluate each individual’s lifestyle, genetics and risk factors for age-related diseases. We then develop personalized programs tailored to each individual that can help them achieve optimal health and reversing biological age. Contact us today for our Longevity Medicine services.
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