Perhaps you’ve read the New York Times bestseller Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair, PhD, a genetics researcher at Harvard Medical School. This is a brilliant book that reviews in depth what’s been learned about aging and how we may be able to slow the process. Recommendations are given about diet and lifestyle factors that research shows to impact aging. Viewing aging as a disease is a hugely popular paradigm shift in wellness medicine, and we’re excited to navigate this growing field with our patients.
Some of the highlights of anti-aging medicine that we can help you implement right now are understanding your genetic risk, monitoring your DNA, and implementing lifestyle changes. In this post, we’ll briefly review some of the latest options.
- Understand your genetic risk. Genetic risk is discussed in detail in Lifespan. If you’ve done 23andMe, you can check a gene that is associated with longer life right now. This gene is called FOXO3, and is known to be associated with longer lifespan in certain communities. It’s thought to be activated when our body needs to turn on its defenses against aging. Check it by logging into your 23andMe account, choose your account, and visit the Browse Raw Data page. Type “rs2764264” into the search box. This will tell you your genotype for the FOXO3 genes, on the far right. Everyone has two copies, and these are either Cs or Ts. The C variant is associated with longer life. Now, if you have one or two Ts, this certainly doesn’t mean you are going to die young or age rapidly… but it is a sign that you may benefit from more attention to your diet and lifestyle, and perhaps from monitoring your DNA.
- Monitoring your DNA. Much aging research focuses on the Horvath clock, a measurement designed by a UCLA researcher to estimate biologic age by measuring methylation of DNA, which is also known as epigenetics. Several studies have confirmed that epigenetic test results correspond to adverse childhood events (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31918390), cancer (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31900199), brain health (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31796892), and more (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876109/). Of course, research into the implications of measuring these markers is ongoing, but it can undoubtedly be used cautiously as a marker to track the benefits of lifestyle changes you implement. We’re excited to announce that we are now working with a company called My DNAge (link: https://www.mydnage.com/), which offers direct-to-consumer testing of DNA methylation and epigenetic age. The test measures DNA in urine or a blood draw and gives you a report of your genetic age, which can be tracked over time. This isn’t some panacea that is going to make you live forever, but it is a well-tested, modern, scientific way to track your genetic age and assess the impact of lifestyle changes you make. Through our partnership, we are able to offer the test directly to our clients at 10% off retail, and 20% off retail for our members. No physician visit is needed; you will receive the results directly at your home and can use them to track the efficacy of any lifestyle changes you make. We have kits in stock, so call or stop by today if you’re curious!
- Implementing lifestyle factors known to affect genetic aging. Strategies such as intermittent fasting and calorie restriction, targeted supplementation, and exercise all provide significant benefit. Our providers and health coaches are here to help. We’re also pleased to offer access to pharmaceutical grade supplements at a discount for our members, such as Quicksilver’s new liposomal NAD+ gold, one of the supplements discussed in Lifespan as likely to be a significant contributor to slowing down aging. This is a safe supplement available to all of our patients; call us if you’d like to try it!
Ultimately, for most of us, it’s not about longevity, or lifespan, but healthspan. Whatever changes we can make that allow us to feel better now and feel well for longer are worth discovering. At IHM, we are thrilled to be on your health journey with you.