PORTLAND, Ore. — Can your body really be biologically younger without using drugs in less than two months? It may sound like an advertisement for some anti-aging cream, but a new study reveals people can actually reverse the aging process through simple diet and lifestyle changes.
In a groundbreaking clinical trial, scientists discovered that by balancing DNA methylation, participants reduced their biological age by over three years in just eight weeks. Researchers say aging is the main driver of chronic disease. Therefore, turning back the clock in a person’s DNA can help them stay healthier and live longer.
Basically, DNA methylation is the process that switches gene off. Study authors explain that methylation is the pattern of accumulating damage leading to greater and greater loss of cell function. This damage comes from the stress and strain of aging and disease.
Which lifestyle changes can reverse the aging process?
Over eight weeks, researchers monitored the results of a treatment program focusing on diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation guidance, and supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients. The randomized controlled clinical trial involved 43 healthy men between the ages of 50 and 72. Results show committing to these lifestyle changes produced “statistically significant” reductions in the biological aging of cells.
“The combined intervention program was designed to target a specific biological mechanism called DNA methylation, and in particular the DNA methylation patterns that have been identified as highly predictive of biological age,” study leader Kara Fitzgerald says in a media release.
“We suspect that this focus was the reason for its remarkable impact. These early results appear to be consistent with, and greatly extend, the very few existing studies that have so far examined the potential for biological age reversal. And it is unique in its use of a safe, non-pharmaceutical dietary and lifestyle program, control group, and the extent of the age reduction. We are currently enrolling participants for a larger study which we expect will corroborate these findings.”
McGill University’s leading epigeneticist, Moshe Szyf PhD, adds this natural approach to de-aging the body specifically targets the methylation process in the human body. Szyf notes the results may lead to additional therapies which target the body’s genetic makeup, without resorting to medications.
“What is extremely exciting is that food and lifestyle practices, including specific nutrients and food compounds known to selectively alter DNA methylation, are able to have such an impact on those DNA methylation patterns we know predict aging and age-related disease,” Dr. Fitzgerald concludes.
“I believe that this, together with new possibilities for us all to measure and track our DNA methylation age, will provide significant new opportunities for both scientists and consumers.”
As for the prescriptions required for participants in the treatment program, here is what each person adhered to during the study:
|Dietary Prescription||Guidance per week:
3 servings of liver
•(1 serving = 3 oz)
•Ideally free-range, organic, omega-3 enriched
Guidance per day:
2 cups of dark leafy greens
•Measured raw, chopped, and packed
•Including kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, dandelion, mustard greens
•Does not include salad greens such as romaine, iceberg, Spring mix
2 cups cruciferous vegetables
•Measured raw, chopped, and packed
•Includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, kale, mustard greens, watercress, rutabaga, kohlrabi, radish, Swiss chard, turnip
3 additional cups colorful vegetables of your choosing (excluding white potatoes, sweetcorn)
1-2 medium beet
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds (or pumpkin seed butter)
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds (or sunflower seed butter)
1+ serving methylation adaptogens, choose from:
•1/2 cup berries (wild preferred)
•1/2 tsp rosemary
•1/2 tsp turmeric
•2 medium cloves garlic
•2 cups green tea (brewed 10 minutes)
•3 cups oolong tea (brewed 10 minutes)
6 oz animal protein
•Grass-fed, pastured, organic and hormone/antibiotic-free
2 servings of low glycemic fruit
Organic preferred over conventional
Don’t eat between 7pm and 7am
Include “healthy” oils
•Balance types of fat
•E.g. coconut, olive, flaxseed and pumpkin seed oil
Avoid added sugar/candy, dairy, grains, legumes/beans
Minimize plastic food containers
|Supplement Prescription||PhytoGanix®, a combination of organic vegetables, fruits, seeds, herbs, plant enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics at a dose of 2 servings daily, divided
UltraFlora® Intensive Care, containing Lactobacillus plantarum 299v at a dose of 2 capsules daily, divided
|Exercise Prescription||Minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day for at least 5 days per week, at an intensity of 60-80% of maximum perceived exertion|
|Sleep Prescription||Average a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night|
|Stress Management Prescription A||Breathing exercise Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response developed by Herbert Benson MD, twice daily|
The full study appears in the journal Aging.