DNA significantly influences the quality of life, and while its sequence is mapped, it can change over time and affect vital factors like how we age and anticipate diseases. Imagine what advanced epigenetic testing can do for you.
Intrigued to find out what epigenetic testing is all about? Get to know your biological age, other factors that affect your health and wellness – and what you can do to address concerns if there are any.
What is epigenetics?
Gene and lifestyle come together for epigenetics. Our epigenome sits on top of our DNA, managing how shifts in behaviour or surroundings can alter how our genes operate . The epigenome also affects specific processes like cells producing certain proteins or chemical caps that prevent DNA from being read.
Determining epigenetic age
As you age, your epigenome links to your DNA and gives it instructions. Every time this happens, it .is called a “mark”. These marks don’t change the DNA sequence. Instead, they influence how cells read the DNA.
One example of a mark is methylation, which can help you understand your genetic age by identifying and tracking it. As mentioned, this mark is one illustration of epigenetics in action. It represents the addition of a chemical cap or a methyl group, which can prevent specific genes from being expressed.
Other samples are histones, which are proteins that DNA wraps around. DNA would be too long for cells to accommodate without them. If histones compact DNA too tightly, it can stop them from being read. Interventions which relax the histones can make DNA more readable.
It’s crucial to note that genetic ingredients remain the same, but the overall epigenetic formula can change. In addition, epigenetic markers can also be acquired from cell to cell and often from parent to child.
They also measure a full suite of aging-related metrics, including:
- Immune cell subset deconvolution
- Intrinsic and extrinsic age calculations
- The current pace of aging
- Telomere length measurements
TruAge personal epigenetic testing
The TruAge collection from TruDiagnostic offers epigenetic aging reports and aging algorithms to give you a more detailed image of biological aging .
For anyone wanting to quantify how your lifestyle changes biological aging, there’s DunedinPACE. On the other hand, DunedinPoAm can be used both in individual and clinical trials and in individuals, as it can check diet, medication, lifestyle changes and how they’re affecting your rate of aging.
The TruAge Complete Collection offers a suite of epigenetic aging reports and aging algorithms to provide a more comprehensive picture of biological aging. Also included in the kit is a new blood spot collection card, making it easier to take a sample – as letting a few drops fall onto paper.
The kit includes the following reports:
Core Age Tracking
- Epigenetic Biological Age: Your Whole-Body Summary
- Telomere Length: Aging based on cellular replication
- Dunedin PACE: A speedometer for your current rate of aging
- Extrinsic Epigenetic Age: Immune System Impact on Age
- Intrinsic Epigenetic Age: Aging Independant of Immune System
- Immune cell-type ratios and CD4:CD8 ratio
- Your weight loss response to caloric restriction
Taking the epigenetics test
The biological age test kit arrived from the post and came in a sturdy box and a built-in slot to keep the vial if needed, which is a handy design. Inside, it contained the standard instruction leaflet, plasters and swabs.
Before taking the test, it’s required to register the kit so that TruDiagnostic knows who the sample belongs to when they receive it back in the post.
You will also be prompted to finish a small questionnaire about yourself and the kit’s details – with questions ranging from niche supplements (NAD boosters, resveratrol, rapamycin and the like), anti-aging interventions (exosome, senolytic therapies and stem cell). None of this data is used to determine your epigenetic age, but if you opt in, it can be used for research and analysis.
Inside the kit a Tasso+ blood collection device (which usually costs $30 extra). With this device, instead of dripping blood from a finger prick into a vial, you attach the vial to the device.
Remove the sticky tape and attach it to your arm, then with a firm press of the big red button (it’s painless), it will initiate the blood drawing process. After collecting your blood sample and shaking it to activate a stabiliser, the kit is ready for sending back to TruDiagnostic.
My test results vs chronological age of 54
Epigenetic age is classified into two:
Intrinsic: Intrinsic epigenetic measures “pure” epigenetic aging effects. Differences in blood cell counts do not complicate these effects.
Intrinsic epigenetic age (IEA) is established by controlling for chronological age and different blood immune cell counts (naïve CD8+ T cells, exhausted CD8+ T cells, plasma B cells, CD4+ T cells, natural killer cells, monocytes and granulocytes). The IEA is an incomplete measure of the age-related functional decline of the immune system because it does not follow age-related changes in blood cell composition, like the decrease of naïve CD8+ T cells and the increase in memory or exhausted CD8+ T cells.
My intrinsic epigenetic age (or biological age) is 47.49
Extrinsic: Extrinsic epigenetic age (EEA) applies to whole blood and seeks to measure epigenetic aging in immune-related components. EEA has a positive relation with the amount of exhausted CD8+ T cells and plasma B cells and a negative correlation with the amount of naïve CD8+ T cells.
Blood cell counts were calculated based on DNA methylation data. EEA follows both age-related differences in blood cell composition and intrinsic epigenetic changes. It can often be a more helpful predictor of outcomes like death and is an overall reading of the strength of your immune system.
My extrinsic epigenetic age is 45.50
These two markers of epigenetic biological age which can tell us two very different things. One is aging in relation to the immune system, and the other is the intrinsic basic fundamental process of cellular aging
My EpiAge ratio is 0.88. Meaning, I age 88% for every year. If I lived 20 more years at this rate, my age would be 65 when I turn 74.
With an EpiAge ratio that’s lower than the chronological age, it means individuals whose epigenetic age is less than their chronological age (people exhibiting “epigenetic age deceleration”) are at a lowered risk for death from all causes, even after accounting for known risk factors.
My treatment framework
Fitness: I participate in flexibility exercises and according to my recommendations, it is important to get a diverse type of exercise in order to change methylation epigenetic markers in association with aging.
Alternating the types of exercise is suggested, as epigenetic markers of exercise are more changeable and predictive as you age. For older individuals, try and make sure to workout regularly.
I regularly have physical activities around 3-4 times a week. Epigenetic study data suggests that exercising 4 times weekly is best to reduce epigenetic aging.
Nutrition: I was advised to increase polyphenols consumption, such as trans-resveratol, sulforaphane, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), quercetin and genistein. My diet mostly consists of both meat and vegetables, but was advised to try fish and poultry, as they have been shown to lower epigenetic age.
Medications: I take supplements like Nicotinamide riboside (NR) and Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). I was advised to consult with my doctor about taking additional supplements and medications of these types, as they have been shown to slow the rate of aging. Note that I don’t engage in anti-aging interventions.
Drugs/Alcohol: Alcoholic drinks are consumed 3-5 times per week. I was advised to consume regular small quantities of wine and beer and to consult with my physician before making any major health changes.
I have not taken illicit drugs. Unfortunately, illicit drugs have not been studied in relation to epigenetic aging. Soon enough, research will be looking into this factor.
Psychosocial: I have mentioned that my stress level is a 7. Physical and emotional stress have been shown to increase epigenetic aging and I was advised to consider what I need to do to keep my subjective level of stress to a 2-3.
Comorbidities: I was advised to avoid behaviours that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Thankfully, I get to sleep around 6 to 8 hours at night.
Insomnia and low amounts of sleep have been associated with age acceleration, although aiming for at least 7 hours of shuteye is more beneficial. I was also advised to continue avoiding behaviours that increase my risk of viruses.
Exposures to toxins/pollutions: In terms of toxin exposure, it is advised to wear a mask in highly polluted areas. PM2.5 particle matter data for your zip code can be found online.
Creating a treatment plan with my physician is also suggested to avoid this type of pollution. In addition, avoid exposures to pesticides and pesticide-treated foods without washing them.
Epigenetic therapy and coaching for illness prevention
Epigenetics influences various conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. With this, epigenetic therapy can be utilised to reduce the risk of such conditions.
Researchers found that patients with cancer may have epigenetic components, which decrease the success of antitumor systems. Medications which change some of these differences can form healthier environments and bring back some cells to their pre-cancerous state.
Epigenetics coaching guides you on how to trigger or suppress gene expression. By changing lifestyle factors (diet and exercise), you can coach your genes to express themselves in specific ways and enhance longevity.
Considering factors like diet, detoxification lifestyle, sleep and supplements, you can influence how your epigenetics evolves. You can also reduce your risk of all types of conditions, from heart disease to cancer, anxiety and diabetes. Look at it from a viewpoint that doing so can keep your DNA fighting fit for a longer, healthier life.