In April 2021, a study showed that people were able to reduce their biological age by 3.2 years by following a simple 8-week program. This remarkable benefit was achieved through just six small changes to diet and lifestyle aimed at altering their epigenetics, which refers to human adaptations in response to life conditions.
Epigenetics explains how humans can adapt to changes like the people who live in high-altitude communities and those who become pearl divers. Epigenetics can also accelerate or slow down the aging process.
The six lifestyle changes included :
- Guidance for improved sleep quality of at least 7 hours.
- Phytonutrient powder supplements containing polyphenols and curcumin.
- A 10-minute meditation or breathing practice done twice daily.
- A 12-hour eating window (7 am to 7 pm).
- A probiotic consisting of Lactobacillus plantarum.
- 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days a week. at 60-80% of maximum heart rate.
The study was significant because life expectancy in some countries, like the U.S., has been decreasing, especially in the last couple of years, for the first time since WWII. This has scientists quite alarmed because the trend toward a longer lifespan was steady until the beginning of 2022 when it took a sudden and steep dive back down.
The researchers of this study focused on altering epigenetics through methylation, which involves attaching methyl groups to specific areas of DNA-containing chromosomes. Methylation patterns are reliable markers of an individual’s age and can better predict mortality risk than chronological age.
The study prescribed a balanced diet of lots of vegetables, some animal products, and reduced carbohydrate intake. General guidance and personalized recommendations were given, and emphasis was placed on choosing low-glycemic fruits and nutrient-dense protein options.
Participants found the simplicity of the dietary interventions to be achievable. The probiotic and phytonutrient supplements were easy to incorporate, as were the exercise and meditation requirements. While meditation seemed mundane for some, the benefits of reducing biological age by 3.2 years made it worthwhile.
Note that the astonishing improvements seen in this study were in subjects of an older population. Other studies confirm the vast importance of improving muscle quality through exercise, especially as it relates to anti-aging and disease prevention, both being obviously important to a longer and better life.
Bottom line: We can try all the “easy fix” promises we see on TV, but it still comes down to eating healthy, regular exercise, and staying active. That is the only true “fountain of youth,” and research keeps confirming it.
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