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February 17, 2022
What Is Biological Age? (Plus 7 Effective Tips on How to Reverse It)
Did you know that you have two different ages?
You have a Chronological Age and a Biological Age.
Chronological age is the total number of years you’ve been alive, whereas biological age is a bit more complex…
In this article, we’ll dive into the main differences between chronological and biological age; how to calculate biological age; and 7 effective tips on how to slow down the aging process so that you can look and feel better—for longer.
Chronological Age vs. Biological Age: What’s the Difference?
Chronological age is the total number of days, months, and years you’ve been on the earth. The number of candles on your birthday cake this year? That’s your chronological age.
Biological age, also known as physiological age or functional age, factors in things like diet, exercise, environment, and stress levels to determine one’s “body” age—how old their body (including skin cells, joints, muscles, bones, and organs) appears to be (1, 2).
For example, if you’re a 30-year-old woman who eats fast food 5 nights a week, doesn’t move much throughout the day, sleeps 5 or 6 hours a night, and has high-stress levels, then your biological age is likely 35, or even 40 years old.
On the other hand, if you’re a 30-year-old woman who eats 4 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, exercises three days a week, sleeps 8 hours each night, and manages her stress with yoga or meditation, then your biological age is likely around 25 years old.
In short, one’s biological age is determined by the following factors:
- Chronological age: How many years have you been alive?
- Genetics: How healthy are you at a cellular level?
- Nutrition: Do you avoid processed, sugary foods and drinks?
- Sleep: Do you get 7 to 8 hours of high-quality sleep each night?
- Stress levels: Do you actively manage your stress, or do you let it get out of control?
- Relationships: Do you cultivate and maintain healthy relationships?
- Environment: Do you live in an area with high pollution?
Using the above guidelines—along with various mathematical equations—medical professionals are able to determine your “biological age”, or how old your body appears to be.
How to Calculate Biological Age
Although it’s possible to get a ballpark estimate of your biological age, the reality is that your tissues and organs all age at different rates. And it’s the combination of these biological ages that reflect the overall age that your body is expected to look, feel, and function.
To put it in a simpler, non-sciencey way, think of it like this…
You have a pantry full of ingredients and a cookbook full of recipes, with your genes being the ingredients and your epigenetics being the cookbook.
Now let’s say your body needs to create a new skin cell…
It will read the cookbook’s “Skin DNA” recipe and use the corresponding ingredients to create new skin cells.
The genome (ingredients) for your skin will always stay the same, whereas your epigenome (the recipe) will change over the course of your lifetime.
And as that recipe changes, the epigenome (recipe) will mark the genome (ingredients) via a natural aging process called DNA methylation (3).
So, in order to calculate one’s true biological age, scientists will take a sample of cells and look at specific sites along the genome to see what proportion of cells are marked with DNA methylation.
The more DNA methylation one has, the older they’ll look and feel.
The good news is that DNA methylation can be reversed (3). Read on to find out how…
7 Effective Tips on How to Reverse Aging
Believe it or not, it’s possible to reverse—or at least slow—aging. You just need to know (and practice) 7 basic principles…
1. Get 7 to 8 Hours of High-Quality Sleep Each Night
Did you know that sleep is one of the most effective anti-aging remedies?
There’s one sleep stage, in particular, that’s critical for these anti-aging effects…
The third stage of your sleep cycle is the deepest part of your entire cycle. It may as well be called the healing stage—because that’s exactly what happens. It’s the miraculous period in which your body restores itself—rewinding the clock of time for your cells, taking years off your biological age.
Which means their rate of aging is sped up, rather than slowed down.
If you’re one who…
- Takes longer to fall asleep than you used to
- Spends less time asleep
- Wake up several times during the night
- Spends too much time in bed
- Is unsatisfied with your nighttime sleep
- Has daytime sleepiness
- Naps more often and for longer periods of time
…then you may be in need of an all-natural sleep solution…
With a dreamy blend of collagen, GABA, L-theanine, magnesium, and melatonin, you’ll fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and experience that deep, quality sleep that you’ve been yearning for. All while reversing the hands of time.
2. Eat Alkaline Foods
Most symptoms that seem to arise with aging actually arise from a poor diet. A diet made up of acidic foods like processed meats, hard cheese, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, soda, sugar, legumes, corn, rice, sunflower seeds, and more.
The more acidic a diet is, the more ailments you’ll feel: Arthritis, back pain, inferior memory or brain health, altered organ function, high blood pressure, loss of muscle and bone density, and stroke (6, 7).
Alkaline foods are the opposite of acidic foods, and therefore produce opposite results like better digestion, improved memory and cognition, cardiovascular health, and greater bone and muscle health.
Alkaline foods to incorporate into your diet include (8):
- Egg whites
- Nuts: Almonds, chestnuts, and pine nuts
- Grains: Flax and quinoa
- Seeds: Sesame and flax
- Green beans
- Most fruits
- Cold-pressed, unprocessed oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
- Grass-fed butter or ghee
- Natural sweeteners like raw honey
In short, humans require a tightly controlled pH level (about 7.4) to survive (8).
To ensure this pH level stays in balance, it’s important to consume the above list of foods each day.
3. Get Moving
There’s a section of DNA—called a telomere—that can actually determine your age…
How, you ask?
Well, every time a cell copies itself, your telomeres get shorter. And in time, telomeres become too short to do their job, causing cells to age and stop functioning properly. Thus, telomeres act as a biological clock for every single cell in your body (9).
Here’s the cool part: You can lengthen your telomeres—whether you’re 33 or 73.
And one of the ways to do so is by exercising.
Studies show that older adults who partake in physical activity can, in fact, successfully combat age-induced loss of telomere length (10).
Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to effectively lengthen telomeres. This can include exercises like running, swimming, walking, burpees, mountain climbers, flutter kicks, jumping lunges, lifting, and more (10).
4. Take Collagen
As one ages, their natural collagen levels decline by 1 to 2% each year.
So, what once was a body with 100% collagen is now a body with 50% collagen by the time one is 50-years-old.
This results in wrinkled, crepe-like skin, achy joints, thinning hair and nails, weakened bones, and more.
So, how can you increase your collagen levels?
Luckily, it’s as simple as taking a high-quality collagen powder each day.
What’s important to understand is that you need to take the RIGHT amount of collagen powder.
One scoop is likely not going to cut it.
When it comes to collagen supplementation, there are two phases I recommend: Collagen Loading and Collagen Maintenance.
Collagen Loading consists of 20 to 40 grams of collagen daily for 4 to 8 weeks, whereas Collagen Maintenance consists of 10 to 20 grams of collagen daily, indefinitely.
When supplementing like this, you’re successfully rebuilding your collagen levels. This, in turn, will enhance your youthful glow, relieve achy joints and bone-on-bone irritation, thicken hair, strengthen nails, improve bone density, and more.
5. Drink Enough Water
We all know that we need to drink water each day. But do you know how much you should be drinking?
Dr. Chad Walding, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Co-Founder of NativePath, recommends consuming half your body weight in water each day. So if you’re 150 pounds, you should consume approximately 75 ounces of water (or just over 9 cups).
However, water consumption varies depending on factors like exercise, environment, weather, and genetics, too. This is important to keep in mind—as recommendations aren’t necessarily the requirements you need (13). If you’re active or live in a warmer climate, you may need to drink more water than someone who’s sedentary and lives further from the equator.
6. Eat Healthy Fat (to lose fat)
Despite what our culture has been telling us since the 1950s, fat is good—healthy even.
To be clear, we’re not talking about fats like canola oil, sunflower oil, or stick margarine…
We’re talking about healthy fats: Avocados, coconuts, grass-fed ghee…
And there’s one fat, in particular, that has radical fat-fighting abilities that, in turn, produce radical anti-aging outcomes…
MCTs—or medium-chain triglycerides—are a type of saturated fat derived from coconuts. What makes them so unique is that they go directly from the gut to the liver, where they’re quickly converted into ketones (a type of chemical that your body uses for energy and that also breaks down fats).
In layman’s terms, MCTs not only give you quick energy, they also help fight that pesky pudge around your waistline.
In one 2010 study, 31 men and women consumed either MCT oil or olive oil for 16 weeks. Bodyweight and circumference were measured weekly, and fat tissue was assessed at the end of the 4 months.
As expected, those supplementing with MCT oil experienced a greater reduction in total fat mass (14).
And as we know, when belly fat decreases, the risk of health issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure decrease, too (15)
7. Reduce Stress
Stress ages people.
Just look at the real-life example of a president beginning his four-year term and that same president four years later. More often than not, they look much older, grayer, and fatigued.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that stress speeds up the aging process by adding years onto individual immune system cells (16).
The above study assessed the telomeres and stress levels of 58 healthy premenopausal women.
The astonishing result: The highly stressed women’s immune system cells aged by an extra ten years. Yikes!
Because we live in a culture where stress is the norm, how can one effectively reduce the exhaustion, high blood pressure, and anxiety that accompanies stress?
Well, the above five tips are a fantastic start…
In addition to sleeping, eating, and moving well; taking a collagen supplement; drinking plenty of water; and eating healthy fats, you can focus on cultivating healthy relationships, practicing breathwork, and spending time doing a hobby you love.
The Bottom Line
There are two types of age: Chronological Age and Biological Age.
Chronological age is determined by the number of birthdays you’ve had, whereas biological age takes into consideration factors like chronological age, environment, stress levels, and exercise to determine the age at which your body appears to be.
In short, aging goes beyond just wrinkles and gray hair…
Your cells, tissues, and organs all age at different rates. Fortunately, there are 7 effective ways to turn back the hands of time so that you can look and feel like your healthiest, youngest self (no matter what chronological age you are).
Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.