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Why you should be using biological ageing as an indicator of client health

As part of the launch of our new partnership with GlycanAge, Nikolina Lauc and scientist Dr. Marina Martinic Kavur have kindly co-written this guest blog post. Keep reading to discover why biological age might be a more useful indicator of your clients’ health than chronological age and how you can combine this data with FDX blood testing and reporting for improved client health outcomes.

The pace of ageing is a crucial determinant of health but not all ageing clocks give you the full picture

Chronological age is determined from the day of birth and it increases in a linear fashion, with the passing of time. Increased chronological age is deemed a primary risk factor for chronic diseases, mortality, and other impairments to bodily functions, such as hearing and memory loss.

However, every human being is born unique. Our inherited genetic code is further shaped by lifestyle and environment; that determines our capacity for a long and healthy life. That capacity for a long and healthy life is what is called biological age. This measure takes into consideration a number of factors, beyond merely the date of birth, through which we can estimate our health. Biological age is measured through ageing clocks that are based on different molecular biomarkers. Researchers from Europe and the US recently published an article on how biological ageing estimated by several ageing clocks associates with different health outcomes.

What's involved in measuring biological ageing?

The ageing clock is a mathematical model which predicts the pace of biological ageing. It is based on different prognostic biomarkers of health condition like DNA methylation, telomere length, facial morphology, neuroimaging data, metabolomics, glycomics, proteomics and immune cell count. A feature of a good biomarker of biological age is that the difference between chronological and biological age should correlate with known markers of an unhealthy lifestyle. Increased biological age should be considered an indicator, a warning light, or an early sign of disease development.

Researchers believe that by measuring biological age, we can create a more accurate prognosis of health and functional capacity of a person than by looking at the chronological age. People who have higher biological ages than their chronological ages also show faster deterioration of health.

According to the study mentioned above, the pace of biological ageing as measured by the majority of ageing clocks is associated with disease risk factors like total cholesterol, cardiovascular disease risk score, systolic blood pressure, and C-reactive protein – an indicator of general inflammation in the body.

Complex multi-omics ageing clocks could prove useful in fields that require precise estimation of chronological age (such as forensics), but biological age measurements might benefit from a focused approach. In fact, with the right set of biomarkers, we might  be able to estimate either the overall health or biological age of individual organs like the heart, liver, kidneys etc.   

Why is biological ageing important to your clients and your practice?

The world population doubled in the last 50 years. UN reports indicate that by 2050, there will be around 10 billion people on earth. In many countries, the majority of that population will be comprised of elderly individuals. We live longer thanks to improved nutrition, healthcare services and medical advances. That kind of lifespan demands that people remain active participants in society deep into old age. Achieving this goal requires timely prevention of harmful changes in the body, thereby postponing age-related disease development.

Mitigating ageing and extending human health into older age has become the number one challenge of modern societies.

Individual differences in the pace of biological ageing are intriguing and explain why some people stay healthy until a very late chronological age, while others age faster and have a shorter life expectancy. Skin wrinkles, greying hair, limited cognitive and physical functions are all characteristics of older age in humans. However, these obvious changes are only the front of a molecular avalanche that exhausts our body’s resources.

As we age, our cells accumulate faults on the level of our genetic code, as well as on the structure and function of the molecules responsible for maintaining our bodily functions: proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Together with DNA, these molecules make up 4 basic building blocks necessary for a healthy balance; so-called homeostasis. Disruption of the homeostasis by DNA damage, metabolic dysfunction, altered protein function and inflammation appear to be the pillars of ageing.

Are your clients looking to take preventative action on their health and concerned about the impact of ageing on their vitality? You can now add a GlycanAge report onto any FDX panel for the clearest possible picture of your clients’ health.

Log in to your practitioner account today to order your panels and get an unparalleled view of your clients’ health by adding on a GlycanAge test.

GlycanAge is your key to healthy ageing. It is the only biological age test that accurately measures your unique response to lifestyle change.