How old are you, really? Find out if you care!

Jan 27, 2023News

How old are you?

It seems like a simple question. We determine our age based on when we are born. But is it the correct way? It looks like biological age is more accurate and telling about your longevity journey.

Let’s go through the “clocks” that can help us to evaluate our real age.

Chronological age

Chronological age is the total time that has passed from birth to a specific date. Chronological age is the most common way of defining age.

Yet we all know people who are the same age but look different. Some look much younger their age, while others seem to age too fast. Sometimes it is referred to as an Appearance age.

Psychological Age

 

Psychological age is how old you feel, act, and behave and is thus not necessarily equal to your chronological age.

Different age groups have different behaviors and thought processes. Some people might “act young” or “act old” regardless of age. This is where the concept of psychological age comes in. Do you enjoy life? Are you emotionally mature? Do you fill optimistic about your future? Various factors affect our psychological age. It is believed that most people feel about eight years younger than their age.

Spectacular Salsa - Paddy & Nicko | Britain's Got Talent 2014

Spectacular Salsa – Paddy & Nicko | Britain’s Got Talent 2014

(At the moment, Paddy was one week before her 80th birthday!)

If you are interested in the latest YouTube videos, publications, and events related to longevity, just click on the corresponding words, and you will be redirected to the associated web pages.

There are many free online tests using various scoring algorithms that can help you to evaluate your psychological age. We are listing just a few of them:

Social age

Social age is similar to the psychological age. However, psychological age is based on emotional development and logical abilities, but social age is based on behaviors based on social interactions.

The social age is a reflection of the place occupied by an individual at a particular point in time within the society to which he/she belongs. It is defined by change: changes in how we work, how we learn, how we lead, and how we connect and communicate.

Individuals whose social lifestyles are the same as those of their age peers would have a social age the same as their chronological age. If their lifestyles are more characteristic of those found in older individuals, their social age would be higher than their chronological age, and vice versa.

A simple-variable measure of social age was developed by regressing chronological age on a number of social correlates of age. The correlates tapped lifestyles relating to family, work, and retirement. The estimated age, in units of years, was taken as the social age. This concept is utilized during studies and society evaluations. We did not find any accessible tests online to determine our social age.

Often, social age is associated with mental age, a concept related to intelligence. You can find many tests for mental age by a simple engine search. An individual’s mental age is then divided by his chronological age and multiplied by 100, yielding an intelligence quotient (IQ).

Psychological aging, depression, and well-being

Social and Emotional Aging

Biological Age

Age is much more than the number of birthdays you have counted. Stress, sleep, diet, and many other factors influence how our organs cope with the wear and tear of everyday life. Factors like these might make you age faster or slower than people born on the same day. People of the same chronological age are not all at the same risk for developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying.

Biological age refers to the accumulation of damage at the biological level. It is what determines our health and, ultimately, our lifespan, and it has been observed to predict age-related diseases and overall mortality better than chronological age.

Biological age is a measurement of your age based on biomarkers which are the function of the body’s vital organs.  The aging process results in multiple traceable footprints on the molecular, cellular, organ, and functional level. These footprints can be tracked and quantified to estimate our biological age. Sensitive and quantifiable methodologies are required to precisely measure the rate of biological aging, especially since age-related changes primarily take place on the molecular and cellular level, gradually over the span of months and years.

Phenotypic Age

In general, a person’s phenotypic age signifies the age within the general population that corresponds with that person’s mortality risk. For example, two individuals could be 50 years old chronologically, but one may have a phenotypic age of 55 years, indicating that he/she has the average mortality risk of someone who is 55 years old chronologically, whereas the other may have a phenotypic age of 45 years, indicating that he/she has the average mortality risk of someone who is 45 years old chronologically.

There are several different aging calculators that have been developed using the results from a basic blood test. Phenotypic age evaluation is the most well-researched. It is developed by Dr. Steven Horvath and his team based on the epigenetic clock theory of aging.

Arguably, epigenetic clocks that measure DNA methylation in the blood are currently the most accurate and promising estimates of determining biological age.

Epigenetic alterations, which are one of the nine hallmarks of aging, have been widely studied over the past ten years. Their in-depth study has led to an understanding of age-related changes affecting different epigenetic mechanisms, namely DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodeling

DNA methylation is a process in which methyl groups (CH3) graft onto specific DNA sites, thus condensing chromatin and preventing gene expression (switching the gene off). The specific sites targeted by methylation are cytosines (one of the four DNA bases). Increased amounts of methylation disrupt the normal function of the cell so that it can’t efficiently do the job it’s designed for. This decline in efficiency is the underlying cause of what we think of as the signs of aging: changes in hair color, the appearance of wrinkles, joint pain, and so on.

These changes in the methylation state of a gene can be measured, thus constituting biological markers of aging. The variation of these epigenetic phenomena during aging is called the epigenetic clock and allows us to evaluate our biological age.

Phenotypic age is calculated using chronological age and 9 biomarkers (see below) from your typical blood test. 

Few websites provide a calculator that you can use to determine your phenotypic age (it is free). I used the one from AgelessRX and found out that my phenotypic age is below my chronological one by more than 7 years. Good news for me. What about you?

A similar calculator is provided by Longevity Advantage.

Phenotypic age calculation from the blood test

9 Required Biomarkers (From Blood Test)

  1. Albumin – Liver function
  2. Alkaline Phosphatase – Liver function
  3. Creatinine – Kidney function
  4. Glucose – Metabolism
  5. C-reactive Protein – Inflammation
  6. Lymphocyte – Immune System
  7. Mean Cell Volume – Immune System
  8. Red Cell Distribution Width – Immune System
  9. White Blood Cells – Immune System

DNA methylation-based biomarkers and the epigenetic clock theory of ageing

Determination of Biological Age: Geriatric Assessment vs Biological Biomarkers

Metabolic Age

Your metabolic age is how your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or how many calories your body burns at rest, compares to the average BMR for people of your chronological age in the general population.

So, it counts the calories you burn without so much as lifting a finger. Though even when you are being a total couch potato, you are burning calories through things like breathing, digestion, and blood circulation.

BMR is not a factor in physical activity. This is important because about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn each day happen while you’re seemingly doing nothing. BMR is sometimes called resting metabolic rate (RMR).

In general, your metabolic age is your age according to your health status. What does that mean?

Basically, while you may be 45 years old, if you are in good health and take great care of your body, you may look and feel years younger—and your metabolic age could be 30 to 35.

But if you are 45 years old and in poor health with chronic conditions or you live a sedentary lifestyle and eat lots of processed and fast foods, your body may more closely resemble that of someone in their mid-50s or even older.

To estimate your BMR, you have to factor in your sex, height (in centimeters), weight (in kilograms), and age.

To get an idea, the most common formula is:

  • For Men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
  • For Women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Or you can use an online calculator.

 

Telomere length measurement

Telomere attrition is another hallmark of aging.

Telomeres, end caps of the chromosome

Telomeres are the protective end caps of chromosomes and play a very important role in the aging process. As cells divide, telomeres shorten, and we age. So, telomere length can be used as a biomarker of aging or related diseases in the body.

The presence of very short telomeres may lead to the onset of age-related diseases.

There are various methods to measure average telomere length that may vary in different organs, tissues, and cells; shortest telomere, which is an important influencing factor for aging and many related diseases; telomere length distribution to explore the telomere changes; and telomere length dynamic analysis to assess the effects of different self and external factors on telomeres on aging and mortality.

Many methods have been developed to measure telomere length, such as TRF, qPCR, Q-FISH, etc.

Determination of telomere lengths by TRF (terminal restriction fragments) is based on Southern hybridization of genomic DNA cleaved with one or multiple frequently cutting restriction enzymes which do not have target sites in telomere DNA using telomere specific probes. The technique has been established since 1995. TRF analysis is also proposed as an accurate technique; however, due to its limitations for scalability, TRF remains mostly for lab research projects as opposed to commercial telomere testing.

The Q-PCR method determines the average telomere length by measuring the ratio of the telomere signal to the reference single copy gene signal. It is an over-the-counter telomere length test that uses a tool called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The principle of this method is that the abundance of telomere signal per genome measured by qPCR represents the average telomere length in a given DNA sample.

Quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH) is a comprehensive method that allows the measuring of individual chromosome telomere length in a single cell with a resolution of 200 base pairs. The method is based on the use of a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) telomere oligonucleotide probe and appropriate digital image software for the capture and quantification of fluorescence signals. The length of the telomere is directly related to its integrated fluorescence intensity.

There are also some new methods under development, such as the Telomere length Combing Assay (TCA).

If you are interested in learning how long your telomeres are, companies like CD BioSciences, SpectraCell Laboratories, Cenegenics, and T.A. Science can help you with that. 

Comparison of telomere length measurement methods

Telomere Length: A Review of Methods for Measurement

Glycan Age

One of the newest, and possibly lesser known, methods is looking at your glycans.

Glycans are one of four building blocks of life (alongside proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids). They are complex sugars that are involved in almost every process in our body.

Every person in the world has a particular glycosylation pattern – a bit like DNA. But unlike DNA, we have the power to affect our glycans by improving our health and lifestyle.

Glycans are crucial for the functioning of our immune system. They surround and modify proteins in your body. More than half of all our proteins are glycosylated. In response to your lifestyle choices, glycans indicate the inflammatory state of your immune system, which in turn determines your biological age.

Glycans attached to the antibodies in our blood modulate their activity and determine if they will have a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory function.

As we age, the balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory glycans in our body changes. Various inflammatory effectors like excessive or unsuitable diet or fitness regimen, hormone changes, surrounding environment, ethnic background, etc., can cause an imbalance between pro and anti-inflammatory glycans. This leads to low-grade systemic inflammation, which can speed up the process of aging and increase the risk for many diseases.

GlycanAge test to determine biologicals age

The GlycanAge test looks at the glycosylation pattern of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecule. IgG is the most prevalent antibody type in our blood and is especially important in controlling inflammation and pathogens.

You can order the test kit from the company website or through partners like The Dove Clinic, The Root Cause Clinic, SomaOmnia, and some other sellers.

GlycanAge is the only test that responds to lifestyle changes that will allow you to, actually, follow up and evaluate your health status.

Telomere Length: A Review of Methods for Measurement

Glycans Are a Novel Biomarker of Chronological and Biological Ages

Here is a list of companies that provide services to determine biological age, data analysis, and recommendations for health improvement toward longevity:

Evaluating your biological age gives you a powerful snapshot of your current health.

An accurate aging clock developed from large-scale gut microbiome and human gene expression data

Aging clocks & mortality timers, methylation, glycomic, telomeric and more. A window to measuring biological age

Cell-type-specific aging clocks to quantify aging and rejuvenation in neurogenic regions of the brain

Turning back time with epigenetic clocks

DNA methylation aging clocks: challenges and recommendations

Development of a novel aging clock based on chromatin accessibility

PS: How did you rate along these dimensions of age? How much do they agree, and how do they relate to your chronological age?

Now you can take one more test of your age—a test that may be the best of all. Ask yourself this very simple question: How old do you feel? Forget what the calendar says, and even forget what your test results are.

The age you feel is the most important factor determining your health and longevity. 

What is next?

Aging and longevity are fast-developing areas of healthcare. New research studies and achievements are published every day. We will keep updating the information related to new tests and methods for aging evaluation. Be sure to check back.

We  are sending our monthly Newsletter with all new updates to our subscribers. If you are interested, please subscribe below.

This website is dedicated to all aspects of longevity with educational and inspirational purposes only. Understanding of the biological basis of aging is important since it gives us ideas on how to slow down and, possibly, even reverse the changes in our bodies leading to aging and illnesses.

We accumulate so-called positive traits of old age during our whole life, such as knowledge, experience, wisdom, empathy, and freedom. Too late! We are approaching our time to die. However, it doesn’t need to be this way.

If you have an opportunity to live active life longer without pain, disease, or cognitive decline, would you? Imagine a possibility to enjoy and watch your family growing beyond grandchildren, travel the world, realize your skills and experience in something you always wanted to do down to perfection. Sounds not bad, does it?

Well, according to science, it is quite possible!

Where do you stand on your longevity?

Definitely, when it comes to our body and mind, everyone has a right to a personal choice on how to maintain health, treat the problems, or take steps for further improvement. We defined three different levels for longevity approaches depending on your condition (perfectly healthy or have pre-existing conditions), your goal (maintain or improve your health), and the complexity of life extension methods (easy, moderate, or advanced).

Level 1 – Simple

You can choose to maintain or improve your health by easy and cheap methods such as healthy eating, herb therapy, or general supplement arrangements (vitamins, minerals, etc.). You can find information on these methods in our “What Can You Do” Category or go to the “Anti-aging methods and techniques” page.

Level 2 – Moderate

If you wish to take a step further, you may consider IV therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or extreme fasting. You can find information on these methods in our “What Can You Do” Category or go to the “Anti-aging methods and techniques” page. The cutting-edge achievements can be found on the “News & information” page.

Level 3 – Advanced

At this level, you must be totally dedicated to your longevity and target the most advanced treatments toward lifespan extension (regenerative medicine such as stem cell treatment, cartilage regeneration, platelet-rich plasma therapy, prolotherapy, etc.). Most of these methods are being used now and show even greater promise for the future. “News & information” page.

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