Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Prescription to Reverse Aging

A recent clinical trial demonstrated that an 8-week diet and lifestyle program can reverse biological aging in otherwise healthy adult males, ages 50-72.  The intervention included prescriptions for exercise, sleep, stress management, diet, and supplements. 

The interaction of our genetic makeup, our DNA, with our environment can change our health.  Epigenetics is the study of how our environment impacts our gene regulation, which is how our genes are switched on or off.  DNA methylation, a chemical process that adds a methyl group to DNA, typically leads to gene silencing and is implicated in the aging process. 

Scientists have developed a way to measure aging called the Horvath DNAmAge clock.  It predicts age by assessing 51 healthy tissues and cell types and estimating DNA methylation.  Participants in the intervention treatment group scored 3.23 years younger than the control group, as measured by the Horvath DNAmAge clock.  Over the course of the 8-week study, the control group participants aged by 1.27 years and the intervention group participants reversed their aging by 1.96 years, making 3.23 years the total difference between the groups.

Takeaway: The intervention prescriptions included

  • Exercise: at least 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, at 60-80% of maximum exertion
  • Sleep: Average of 7 hours per night
  • Stress Management: Breathing exercises twice a day
  • Eat: dark greens, cruciferous and colorful vegetables, beets, low-sugar fruit, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, 6oz of animal protein including eggs and liver
  • Avoid: sugar, dairy, grains, and beans
  • Supplements: PhytoGanix® and UltraFlora® Intensive Care, each twice a day

The entire intervention prescription can be found on page 9 (Table 2) of the study, which is the last source on the list below.

Sources

Debra S. Austin, Drink Like a Lawyer: The Neuroscience of Substance Use and its Impact on Cognitive Wellness, 15 NEV. L.J. 826, 833 (2015), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2503021.

Epigenie, DNA Methylation: Establishing the Methylome, https://epigenie.com/dna-methylation-establishing-the-methylome/.

Steve Horvath, DNA Methylation Age and the Epigenetic Clock, https://horvath.genetics.ucla.edu/html/dnamage/.

Kara Fitzgerald, et al., Potential Reversal of Epigenetic Aging Using a Diet and Lifestyle Intervention: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial, Aging-US, https://www.aging-us.com/article/202913/pdf.

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