Summary: Simple dietary changes and adopting lifestyle alterations, including improved sleep schedules, taking probiotics, and exercising, can reduce signs of biological aging by three years in just eight weeks, a new study reports.
Source: Impact Journals
A groundbreaking clinical trial shows we can reduce biological age (as measured by the Horvath 2013 DNAmAge clock) by more than three years in only eight weeks with diet and lifestyle through balancing DNA methylation.
A first-of-its-kind, peer-reviewed study provides scientific evidence that lifestyle and diet changes can deliver immediate and rapid reduction of our biological age. Since aging is the primary driver of chronic disease, this reduction has the power to help us live better, longer.
The study, released on April 12, utilized a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted among 43 healthy adult males between the ages of 50-72. The 8-week treatment program included diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients, resulting in a statistically significant reduction of biological age–over three years younger, compared to controls.
The study was independently conducted by the Helfgott Research Institute, with laboratory assistance from Yale University Center for Genome Analysis, and the results independently analyzed at McGill University and the National University of Natural Medicine.
The study’s lead author, Kara Fitzgerald ND IFMCP, stated that “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. 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. We are currently enrolling participants for a larger study which we expect will corroborate these findings.”
Leading epigeneticist Moshe Szyf PhD of McGill University and co-author on the study adds, “The uniqueness of Dr Fitzgerald approach is that her trial devised a natural but mechanistic driven strategy to target the methylation system of our body. 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.”
DNA methylation patterns have become a leading means by which scientists evaluate and track biological aging, a term used to describe the accumulation of damage and loss of function to our cells, tissues and organs. This damage is what drives diseases of aging.
“What is extremely exciting,” commented Dr. Fitzgerald, “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. 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.”
About this aging and diet research news
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Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial
Manipulations to slow biological aging and extend healthspan are of interest given the societal and healthcare costs of our aging population.
Herein we report on a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted among 43 healthy adult males between the ages of 50-72. The 8-week treatment program included diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients. The control group received no intervention.
Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis was conducted on saliva samples using the Illumina Methylation Epic Array and DNAmAge was calculated using the online Horvath DNAmAge clock (2013).
The diet and lifestyle treatment was associated with a 3.23 years decrease in DNAmAge compared with controls (p=0.018). DNAmAge of those in the treatment group decreased by an average 1.96 years by the end of the program compared to the same individuals at the beginning with a strong trend towards significance (p=0.066). Changes in blood biomarkers were significant for mean serum 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (+15%, p=0.004) and mean triglycerides (-25%, p=0.009).
To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled study to suggest that specific diet and lifestyle interventions may reverse Horvath DNAmAge (2013) epigenetic aging in healthy adult males.
Larger-scale and longer duration clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings, as well as investigation in other human populations.