Aging is a universal concern in our current society. Throughout the last century, life expectancy in most countries experienced a notable increase. This trend has continued in the first decades of the 21st century, thanks to advances in the health field and widespread access to medical care. A clear example of this progress is Spain, where the average life expectancy has gone from just over 34 years in 1900 to 83 years in 2021, placing it among the countries with the greatest longevity worldwide. While this achievement is cause for celebration, it is also important to highlight that this increase in life expectancy leads to an increase in diseases associated with aging, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. It is evident that we all want to live many years, but it is also crucial to ensure a senior citizen in optimal conditions.
What biological processes are key to promoting aging?
Although aging, in its broadest concept, has always been an area of social interest, at a scientific level it was not until well into the 21st century that the biological foundations of the same concept were laid. In 2013, a scientific review was published in the prestigious journal Cell in which a series of cellular and molecular characteristics associated with aging are proposed:
- genomic instability or accumulation of genetic variants that alter the genome
- wear and tear of the ends of chromosomes (telomeres)
- alterations of epigenetic marks in the genome
- loss of proper balance of proteins within the cell (proteostasis)
- deactivation of the degradation of damaged cells and cellular components (macroautophagy)
- alteration in the normal process by which the body detects and responds to the presence and availability of nutrients in the body
- dysfunction or decreased functioning of the mitochondria
- senescence or cell death
- stem cell depletion
- impaired intercellular communication
- chronic inflamation
- alteration in the composition and/or functions of the microorganisms that inhabit our tissues (dysbiosis)
These parameters are interconnected with each other, as well as with the general health of the person, which includes the maintenance of the body’s homeostasis and the appropriate response to stress.
Among all these characteristics, telomere shortening has become in recent years one of the most useful biomarkers to determine the state of cellular aging.
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are sequences of repetitive DNA that are located at the ends of chromosomes. Chromosomes are the structures that contain all of our DNA. They would become our instruction books that contain the more than 20,000 genes that the human genome has. It is evident that this information is something very valuable for the cell, so it has to be properly protected. The way the cell protects this information is through telomeres. To understand it, this protection would be something similar to the function played by the ends of a shoe lace, they are there to prevent the lace from fraying. However, with each cell division the chromosome loses a bit of this protection. This is how telomeres shorten as cells divide and, therefore, as we age. When the telomeres are too short to be able to go through another round of cell division without jeopardizing the integrity of the rest of the chromosome, the cell dies. In this way, telomere length has become one of the most obvious markers to evaluate the degree of aging of our cells.
How can I measure my biological age?
With the AboutMe Biological Agestudy, we can analyze the average length of your telomeres, which provides you with valuable information about your level of cellular aging. More than the absolute value of telomere length, what is important for our health is the rate of loss of this length. In this way, by taking the test regularly we will know if you age faster than what is considered average for your age, or if otherwise you enjoy a good aging rate.. Having this knowledge allows you to draw up a personalized anti-aging action plan to slow down the rate of shortening of your telomeres and, therefore, your rate of aging, as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.. Our team of experts will guide you and provide recommendations based on anti-aging science. Additionally, our other preventive medicine tests provide additional tools for healthy aging. We understand that it is not just about prolonging life, but about living in optimal conditions. For example, through our AboutMe Nutrigenetic test, we explore the relationship between diet and genetics, which will allow you to adapt your diet according to your specific needs.
Our team of professionals believes in the power of information to make informed decisions about your health. We not only help you live longer, but live with vitality and fullness. Harness the potential of science and discover how you can age healthily and actively. Make an appointment with our expert anti-aging professionals.
Know the difference between your chronological and biological age, check if the length of your telomeres is normal for your age, and benefit from the nutritional supplementation guidelines that we offer to reverse your rate of telomere shortening.