Together, positive lifestyle and eating habits can actually reduce your biological age, new research finds.

By Nashia Baker
May 28, 2021
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Eating tasty, nutritious meals and staying physically fit are just a couple of wellness-related goals that studies have shown can support healthy aging. According to a new peer-reviewed study by Helfgott Research Institute scientists published in Impact Journals LLC, movement and a mindful diet don't just make you feel good—they can also reverse your biological age. The researchers explained that aging is what causes chronic disease, so making these subtle lifestyle changes can actually help you live "better, longer."

About 40 healthy adult males between the ages of 50 and 72 volunteered for the study's controlled clinical trial. Over the course of the eight-week treatment program, the research team tracked their diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients intake. The result? Scientists found that participants' biological ages—measured by the Horvath 2013 DNAmAge clock—decreased by three years. "The combined intervention program was designed to target a specific biological mechanism called DNA methylation, and in particular the DNA methylation patterns that have been identified as highly predictive of biological age," Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, ND IFMCP, the study's lead author, said. "We suspect that this focus was the reason for its remarkable impact. These early results appear to be consistent with, and greatly extend, the very few existing studies that have so far examined the potential for biological age reversal. And it is unique in its use of a safe, non-pharmaceutical dietary and lifestyle program, control group, and the extent of the age reduction."

Dr. Moshe Szyf, PhD, a leading epigeneticist from McGill University and the study's co-author, explained that this research is also singular since the trial was both natural and theory-based, revealing more about our body's methylation system. "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," the scientist added.

DNA methylation patterns, which track the accumulation of damage and loss of function to our cells, tissues, and organs, are one of the ways scientists understand aging. In turn, with even more research, the team believes they will be able to better decode aging-related diseases. "What is extremely exciting is that food and lifestyle practices, including specific nutrients and food compounds known to selectively alter DNA methylation, are able to have such an impact on those DNA methylation patterns we know predict aging and age-related disease," said Dr. Fitzgerald. "I believe that this, together with new possibilities for us all to measure and track our DNA methylation age, will provide significant new opportunities for both scientists and consumers."

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