DNA Methylation

What is DNA Methylation?

DNA methylation is a biological process that modifies the DNA in our cells by adding a methyl group, affecting how genes are turned on or off without altering the DNA sequence itself, thus impacting the expression of certain genes. Imagine each section of DNA as a recipe in a cookbook. Methylation is like a note added to a recipe page, suggesting when and how often the recipe should be used. This process plays a critical role in various biological processes, including development, aging, and the regulation of gene expression.

Predicting Biological Age with DNA Methylation

Our biological age, which may differ from our chronological age, gives a more accurate picture of our health and longevity. Scientists have discovered that measuring DNA methylation can predict biological age very accurately. This is based on the "epigenetic clock," a method that analyzes the methylation levels of specific DNA sites. These changes in methylation patterns over time correlate with aging, allowing scientists to estimate the biological age of a person, which can reflect their overall health status more accurately than just the number of years they have lived.

Why is Understanding Your DNA Methylation Important?

Understanding your DNA methylation levels can provide insights into your biological age, which is a powerful indicator of overall health, disease risk, and longevity. It can help identify if your body is aging faster than it should be, potentially due to lifestyle choices, environmental factors, or genetic predispositions. This knowledge allows for early intervention and personalized lifestyle modifications to improve health outcomes and possibly extend lifespan.

Interpreting Your DNA Methylation Results

When you receive your DNA methylation test results from SiPhox Health, you'll get an estimate of your biological age. If your biological age is significantly lower than your chronological age, it suggests a healthy lifestyle and potentially lower risk for age-related diseases. Conversely, if your biological age is higher, it may indicate a higher risk for certain conditions or that your body is under more stress than is typical for your chronological age. These results are a powerful motivator to adopt healthier habits.

Improving Your DNA Methylation Results

Improving your DNA methylation patterns and, consequently, your biological age, is possible through lifestyle changes and interventions:

  1. Nutrition: A colorful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, and lean proteins can positively influence methylation patterns. Foods high in folate, vitamin B12, and polyphenols are particularly beneficial.

  2. Physical Activity: Regular exercise has been shown to positively affect DNA methylation, contributing to a healthier biological age.

  3. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can negatively impact methylation patterns. Practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can help manage stress.

  4. Avoiding Toxins: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins such as smoke, pollution, and certain chemicals, which can adversely affect DNA methylation.

  5. Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining healthy methylation patterns.

Where Can I Learn More?

CDC - What is Epigenetics?

University of Glasgow - Most accurate test to date developed to measure biological aging

Scientific Literature for Further Reading:

Aanes, H., Bleka, Ø., Dahlberg, P.S. et al. A new blood based epigenetic age predictor for adolescents and young adults. Sci Rep 13, 2303 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-29381-7

Jylhävä J, Pedersen NL, Hägg S. Biological Age Predictors. EBioMedicine. 2017 Jul;21:29-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.03.046. Epub 2017 Apr 1. PMID: 28396265; PMCID: PMC5514388.

Bocklandt S, Lin W, Sehl ME, Sánchez FJ, Sinsheimer JS, Horvath S, et al. (2011) Epigenetic Predictor of Age. PLoS ONE 6(6): e14821. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014821