How turning back the clock in a person’s DNA can help them stay healthier and live longer.
Your body has the resilience and intelligence to become biologically younger through diet and lifestyle changes. In a clinical trial, scientists discovered that by balancing DNA methylation, participants reduced their biological age by over three years in just eight weeks.
The program included diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients and was conducted among 43 healthy adult males between the ages of 50-72.
Rebalancing DNA methylation
Basically, DNA methylation is the process that switches gene off. It is the pattern of accumulating damage leading to greater and greater loss of cell function. This damage comes from the stress and strain of aging and disease. Therefore, aging is strongly correlated with changes in DNA methylation.
“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,” study leader, Dr. Fitzgerald.
Now that we know how positive lifestyle and eating habits can actually reduce your biological age, how are some ways you try to reverse your own biological clock?
1. Trigger Autopaghy
Autopaghy is the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. The process is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can remove dysfunctional cells and recycle parts of them toward cellular repair and cleaning.
Through this process, research have shown that autopaghy may lead to a decline in neuro-degenerative diseases, increased longevity, an improved immune response, and better blood sugar regulation.
Essentially, autopaghy gives the body a reboot and allows it to function more effectively.
While it is difficult to ascertain the hour of fasting our unique individual bodies go into autopaghy, experts agree that the process initiates after 18 - 20 hours, with maximal benefits occurring after the 48 - 72 hour mark.
While there are numerous benefits of prolonged fasting, the effectiveness of fasting varies on the biology of each person. Please contact your health practitioner before jumping into anything extreme.
And if you're a woman of reproductive age, learn when's the most optimal time to fast based on your menstrual cycle.
2. Nutrition and Lifestyle
Life, how and what we eat, aging processes, environmental influences and lifestyle factors all trigger DNA methylation
Fatigue is perhaps the most common symptom of problems with methylation. Other symptoms can include anxiety, IBS, and muscle pain.
Apart from a meal plan based on their nutritional deficiencies and food sensitivities, our members also receive guidance on sleep, exercise, relaxation guidance based on their body stress assessment.
Sleep is affected by several different systems in the body. And if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, maybe it's time to re-evaluate your sleep hygiene and figure out what's behind your sleepless nights.
One of our clients came to see us with chronic insomnia. Testing showed a strong sensitivity to dairy and eggs - something she ate almost daily. She was exhausted in the day but was wide awake and wired at night, and so even though she was burnt out at the end of the day, she was unable to switch off and get into sleep.
By cutting out the foods on her sensitivity list, her energy levels got better in the day. We also gave her adaptogenic herbs that were timed based on her energy ups and downs -- specific ones gave her energy in the day while others calmed her for the evening.
We topped up her levels of Vitamin D, B6 and magnesium and started her on a 10 minute deep breathing practice at night. Together these lifestyle and diet strategies worked to fix her insomnia within a month. This was what worked for her and what works for one person might not work for the other.
But as a rule of thumb, prioritize dark leafy greens and build up your plate with quality protein. And look for organic where possible. Need a guide for healthy eating on a budget? We have you covered here.
Want to know how we can help you reach your health goal and make your way to a feeling your best everyday? Send an enquiry or book a 10-min consultation here.