DNA Methylation and Aging

DNA Methylation

DNA methylation is a natural process in which gene expression is regulated by the addition or removal of methyl groups to strands of DNA. The system can seem complex but think of it as a way your body tells your cells which genes should be expressed or not expressed. It is important to understand the effects of DNA methylation as we age because of its correlation to age-related diseases, such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

This short video shows how methyl groups typically attach to DNA and affect genetic function produced by the University of Delaware.

Methylation Decreases with Age

As we age, DNA methylation decreases, which results in the deterioration of our cells from a biological standpoint. When the methylation process slows down, our genes are more susceptible to disease and damage. Major factors that contribute to the demethylation process include our environmental pollution, smoking, and diet.

In more scientific terms, DNA methylation plays a crucial role in gene regulation and cell differentiation. We have known for a long time that DNA methylation is essential to genomic imprinting, which differentiates paternal and maternal alleles in mammals, but we now know it also assists in the X-chromosome inactivation, suppression of aging and carcinogenesis.

Diseases Associated DNA Methylation and Aging

The conditions that have been linked to demethylation include cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes. The most influential factor on DNA methylation is the environment, whether it be pollutants, UV radiation, genetic effects, or lifestyle choices. All of these will affect the methylation process in individuals differently, but what is important to know is how we can slow the aging process.

  1. What can you do to maintain a healthy methylation status?
  2. ​Can you actually reverse the aging process by changing your diet and lifestyle?
  3. ​Are you ready to take action today?

Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding known carcinogens plays a major role in the health of your DNA, but can be hard to adopt if you don’t have the supporting environment. There are extra measures you can take to protect your genome. As the field of epigenetics advances, many are working on different methylation age tests since methylation has been proven to be the most reliable indicator of biological age.

Methylation Age Test

Horvath’s aging clock is considered to be the gold standard of age tests. Steve Horvath’s test was created using thousands of samples of methylation data and has been replicated by many companies. Epimorphy is a distributor of myDNAge, based off Horvath’s clock, which determines your biological age based on the epigenetic modifications of your DNA using either a urine or blood sample.