Biological age may slow down by more than three years in just eight weeks through DNA methylation, new research shows.
DNA methylation is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. DNA methylation prevents the expresseion of certain genes, such as those that cause tumors to grow, potentially preventing the development of diseases and, in this case, cancer.
Slowing down the biological age may be possible through diet and lifestyle, says the research, a first-of-its-kind peer-reviewed study, It offers scientific evidence that changes in both lifestyle and diet can lead to a faster way to slow biological age.
The research may offer the first understanding into the plausibility of using natural modifications to target epigenetic processes in which cells grow into organs. The natural modification may enhance wellbeing and probably prolong lifespan.
According to a Medical Xpress report, the reduction in age through diet and lifestyle was based on data measured by the Horvath 2013 DNAmAge clock which determines biological age according to indicators in the DNA.
An 8-Week Treatment Program
The study, Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial, was published in the journal Aging.
The study involved 43 healthy male adults with ages ranging from 50 to 72. They participated in an eight-week diet, exercise, sleep, and relaxation program with supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients in their diet. According to the study, it led to a statistically substantial decrease in biological age, more than three years younger, compared to those who did not participate in the guided program.
This was independently piloted by the Helfgott Research Institute in collaboration with the Yale University Center for Genome Analysis laboratory. The results were independently examined at McGill University and the National University for Natural Medicine, Portland, Oregon.
The combined intervention program was developed to target a particular biological mechanism identified as DNA methylation, and the DNA methylation patterns, in particular, that have been identified as significant indicators of biological age, said Kara Fitzgerald, a naturopathy doctor (Institute for Functional Medicine Certification Program), the study's lead author.
The research adds to the few studies that have investigated the potential of slowing down biological age, she said.
In a similar report from Newswire, Fitzgerald explained the study is distinctive in its "use of safe, non-pharmaceutical dietary and lifestyle program", control group as well as the degree of age reduction.
Fitzgerald and co-researchers are now enlisting participants for a larger study which they expect to validate the findings.
The uniqueness of Dr. Fitzgerald's approach is that the research developed a natural way to target the human body's methylation system, said Moshe Szyf PhD, a leading epigeneticist at McGill University and the study's co-author. An epigeneticist studies how the cells develop into organs.
DNA methylation patterns aid researchers analyze and track biological aging, a term usually used for the description of damage accumulation and function loss to the human organs, cells, and tissues.
Such damage is what's driving diseases related to aging. What is very exciting is that dietary and lifestyle changes include specific food and nutrient compounds known to selectively modify DNA methylation and indicate patterns known to predict aging and age-related illness, Fitzgerald said.
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