Predict Your Biological Age With 5 Deep Biomarkers

A new study on deep biomarkers found five that can predict your biological age with 81.5% certainty.  See what they are and what to do to make them slow down your aging rate and decrease your biological age.

5 biomarkers that predict age

WHAT IF you could know with 81.5% accuracy what predicts your biological age?

Now, before you say, “Well, that’s dumb… I already know my age with 100% accuracy, unless my Mama lied to me”, spend a few minutes here to find out what I’m yapping about.

I’m going to translate some scientific jargon and suggests how you can actually use some brand new information from a recent scientific study to get a handle on how well you’re aging.

If the jargon is a turn off, scroll down to the table entitled, Five Vital Biomarkers That Predict Your Biological Age.

What you’ll learn in this article:

  • What are the five biomarkers that accurately predict age;
  • Why biomarkers that predict your chronological age also indicate your biological age; and
  • Given that these biomarkers are difficult to measure, what can you do to improve them.

Let’s dig in…

 

The New Research: “Deep Biomarkers Can Predict Your Biological Age

Because aging is a complex process affecting all biological systems at every level of organization, it is extremely difficult to understand how to slow down the process or predict chronological age from various biological markers, say telomere length, for instance.

According to a research paper recently published on the website Aging, several “aging clocks” able to predict human chronological age using various biomarkers.

A “biomarker” is a measurable substance in an organism, like us, whose presence is indicative of some phenomenon such as disease, infection, or environmental exposure.

The study asserts that methylation-based biomarkers such as epigenetic aging clocks are currently the most accurate.

Perhaps a translation is in order to discern what that means.

Translation:

Methylation” typically refers to DNA methylation, a process by which methyl groups (stable, hydrocarbon groups) are added to DNA.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the self-replicating main constituent of chromosomes and a carrier of genetic information that’s present in nearly all living organisms.

DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism used by cells to control gene expression.

Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms (like us) caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.

Further Translation:

Which genes in your DNA are expressed (“turned on” and thereby having a biological effect) are not fixed, but can be modified.

The research paper further asserts that telomere length is commonly used to measure senescence but has lower predictive ability of human chronological age than IgG N-glycans, immunoglobulin G glycosylated at conservative N-glycation sites.

Translation:

Telomeres are short DNA sequences on the end of chromosomes that act as “caps” to protect our vital genetic code from harm from the process of cell division, whereby telomeres can become shorter. Measuring their length is a way of assessing cellular aging.

(More about telomeres here.)

Senescence is the condition or process of cellular aging, whereby their ability to divide and grow is diminished. Immunoglobulins are the antibodies in your blood, which make up the body’s immune system.

(More about senescence here.)

IgG N-glycans are one of a number of glycans (a type of carbohydrate or sugar) that can be attached to a wide variety of biological molecules to augment their function.

Immunoglobulin G glycosylated (IgG) is one of five major types of antibodies, and is found in all body fluids. They are the smallest but most common antibody (75% to 80%) of all the antibodies in the body. IgG antibodies are very important in fighting bacterial and viral infections.

Further Translation:

Heretofore, telomere length was thought to be strongly predictive of cellular age and longevity, but now it’s thought that biomarkers associated with immune function and cellular energy are more reliable predictors.

The problem with these biomarkers that predict aging is that they’re hard to measure, and if measured, difficult to target with specific, so-called, anti-aging interventions.

The five most important biomarkers identified for predicting human chronological age are:

  1. Albumin,
  2. Glucose,
  3. Alkaline phosphatase,
  4. Urea, and
  5. Erythrocytes

But how do you measure them?

As the paper’s abstract put it:

One of the major impediments in human aging research is the absence of a comprehensive and actionable set of biomarkers that may be targeted and measured to track the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

The kind folks who did the research developed an online system available at Aging.ai to allow for public testing and evaluate real-life performance of the predictor. But, again, nearly no one has been tested for the five biomarkers listed above.

I certainly have not.

I checked the most extensive blood test I’ve done, Life Extension Foundation’s Male Hormone Panel and found only one of the biomarkers tested. I don’t know of any one test that will measure all five.

(To learn more about LEF’s extensive list of blood tests, check out their Laboratory and Blood Testing Services.)

So, what do you do?

You can go take five separate tests and enter the results in the Aging.ai test, which looks like this:

Aging.ai age prediction model(Click the above pic to enlarge it.)

Or you can get a sense of what each of these five biomarkers reveal, and go about tweaking your diet and supplement regimen to improve them.

That’s what I’m going to show you next.

 

Proxies for Deep Biomarkers of Human Aging

OK, what I’m going to take a closer look at each of the five biomarkers that have an 81.5% predictive capacity for determining your age.  These five can be epigenetically expressed and deal with immune function and cellular energy, as presented above in that “translation” bit above.

Remember that although you know your chronological age, you’re unlikely to know your biological age.

If you got them tested, these five biomarkers would give you a very accurate measure of how you’re aging biologically because if they predicted, say, a chronological age of 55, but you are actually 65, then you get to strut around like a peacock chirping that you’re biologically 10 years younger than your actual, chronological age.

But no blood test that I could find measures all five biomarkers, and it would be a hassle and expensive to do five separate tests, one for each of these biomarkers.

The workaround is to examine what these five biomarkers measure or indicate, and what we can do to either increase or decrease their expression, depending on which direction will help us healthier and reduce our biological age.

The table below lists what each biomarker does, whether we want it expressed high or low and what we can do to drive it in the right direction.

 

Five Vital Biomarkers That Predict Your Biological Age
Biomarkers

What Is It

High or Low

What You Can Do

Albumin A protein found in the blood that indicates if protein intake is adequate. You want albumin to be high.

Low levels are caused by acute and chronic inflammatory responses.

Food sources include high quality protein, such as chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout, Greek yogurt and tofu. (1)

 

Glucose

 

Blood sugar, which is a major source of fuel for most cells in the body. You want glucose to be low.

High blood sugar that is not adequately handled by insulin can lead to diabetes. Carbs are the main source of glucose. “Simple” carbs, like dietary sugar, require an immediate and fast insulin response, which over time impairs its function.

 

Consume “complex” carbs that are those that cause a slow blood sugar reaction and insulin response. This site lists complex carbs.

Low glycemic carbs (complex) include slow-cooked oatmeal, lentils, beans, Greek yogurt and plums, among others. (2)

Take three supplements: Berberine, Fenugreek and Indian Gooseberries, which I’ve written about here and here.

Alkaline phosphatase These are enzymes produced mainly in the liver and bones and are responsible for splitting off the acidic mineral phosphorus, creating an alkaline pH balance. (3) You want Alkaline phosphatase to be low.

High levels are indicative of vitamin D, C, zinc and/or folic acid deficiencies.   Correspondingly, low levels are the opposite and include copper deficiency.

Eat fish high in vitamin D, such as salmon and sardines, supplement with vitamin D3, eat Brazil nuts for zinc, cashews for copper and citrus fruit for vitamin C, or supplements.
Urea Is a compound occurring in urine and other bodily fluids as a product of protein metabolism. You want Urea to be low.

The body works hard to get rid of urea. The kidneys filter out urea from the circulation and send it to the bladder along with water and excrete it in the form of urine. Too much of it and serum creatinine, which often accompany high urea levels, can compromise kidney function and lead to dialysis.

 

Eat foods and supplements that heal and support the kidneys.

Foods include cranberries, kiwi, blueberries, cucumber, red bell pepper, onions, dandelion root tea, nettle root tea and cinnamon. (4)

An Ayurveda remedy is a combination of herbs in a product called Mutrakrichantak Churna.

Erythrocytes

 

Are red blood cells that contain the pigment hemoglobin, which imparts the red color to blood, and transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the tissues. As such, they carry oxygen from the lungs to the body, and bring carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled. You want your red blood cells to be plentiful and healthy.

The eight basic reasons that red blood cells are so important (5):

1. Carries Oxygen To Your Entire Body

2. Keeps The Lungs Healthy

3. Keeps Your pH (alkaline/acid) Balanced

4. Important For Brain Function (ever needed fresh air to think? outdoor air is much less polluted than indoor air.)

5. Important For All Cardiovascular Function

6. Important For Digestive Health (Metabolism)

7. Healthy Red Blood Cells Prevent Cancer & Respiratory Failure

 

MDHealth advices these foods to boost red blood cells:

Iron. Food rich in iron, such as lentils and legumes.

Copper. This vital mineral can be found in many foods, including shellfish, poultry, liver, whole grains, beans, cherries, chocolate and nuts.

Folic Acid. Foods that contain folic acid include lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, black-eyed peas and cereals fortified with folic acid.

Vitamin A. Found in a multitude of fruits, including grapefruit, mango, watermelon, plums, cantaloupe and apricots.

Vitamin B12. Meat, eggs and fortified cereals are a great way to get plenty of B12 in your diet. Vegetarians/vegans should supplement with vitamin B12.

Vitamin B6.  This vitamin is found in a wide variety of foods, including meats, whole grains and bran, nuts and seeds, fish, vegetables and legumes.

Exercise makes the body use more oxygen, which demands more red blood cell production.

 

Your Takeaway

What we discovered is that five specific biomarkers can, in effect, predict your biological age, but they are hard to measure because right now no single blood tests measures them all.

But we found a straightforward work-around, which is to do the things that boost those biomarkers we want to be high, or repress those we want to be low.

If you examine the above table and summarize the suggestions in the last column, “What You Can Do”, you’ll wind up with these five action items:

  1. Get enough protein from good sources. If it’s meat, make it animals that have been grass fed and not given hormone and antibiotics. If it’s fish, pass on the farm-raised and focus on low-mercury, high-fat fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. If it’s protein powders, consume those made from hemp, peas, whey and sprouts. Vegetarians (and meat-eaters too) can consider Greek yogurt, lentils and beans. Check out this article about protein sources I wrote.
  2. Keep your kidneys healthy. Consume a variety of fruits, vegetables and teas, such as nettle and dandelion root. Flush the toxins from those kidneys by drinking lots of pure water (not contained in plastic water bottles) throughout the day.
  3. Make sure you either eat foods with, or supplement for vitamins C, B12 and B6, zinc, folic acid and copper. It’s unlikely you need to supplement with iron, unless you’re a women who menstruates and does not eat meat or other iron-containing foods. You may however need to supplement with vitamin D3, as many people are low in this vital hormone. (Yes, vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but a hormone.)
  4. Eat low glycemic, complex carbs. Favor the carbs that slowly give you energy, rather than those “simple ones” that spike blood sugar and wear out your insulin and the pancreas that produces it. Slow-cooked oatmeal, lentils, beans and cinnamon are all good candidates.
  5. Exercise! Get that heart pumping and you’re amazing body will produce more red blood cells for you.

Unfortunately, until we can actually test for the five biomarkers and input the results in the predictive model at Aging.ai, we won’t know how well we’re aging biologically, at least not from this perspective.

I’m hopeful that as this study gets more popular, some lab will come up with one test for all five biomarkers. Once that happens, we’re in business.

 

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Francis Loziere - June 16, 2016

Joe,

I read your report on the 5 biological age markers. Very interesting, good practical and common sense info.

Well done.

Francis

Reply
Joe Garma - June 19, 2016

You’re a living example of what to do, Francis. Keep it going on!

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