Biological age is becoming an increasingly important metric for health, and it may be more telling of our overall health than the age we will celebrate on our next birthday. Biological age could be called a true ‘health age’ and is determined by various personal bio markers. This biological age won’t necessarily match our chronological age in terms of health and longevity.
The question is, how do we know the way our bodies are aging on the inside? How do we know if we are aging healthily, at 30 or 40 years old or even at 60-70 years old?
Why is biological age important?
Dr. Morgan Levine, a leader in the field of phenotypic age (biological age) at The Yale School of Medicine has helped bring attention to the fact that we are able to accurately understand an individual’s true health age, and lower it, hopefully slowing down the aging process. In the recent CNN article You have two ages, chronological and biological. Here's why it matters she explained:
"People of the same chronological age aren't all at the same risk for developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying,"
Simply put, someone 60 years old could have a biological age several years younger. This may be due to their genetics, healthy diet or from avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and alike. A younger biological age will likely mean a longer lifespan, one that isn’t tethered to chronological age.
While the idea that our health is unique to our genetic makeup, our lifestyle and our environment isn’t new, quantifying the state of our health through the lens of biological age is new. Having a clear understanding of how our bodies are aging inside offers new power for individuals to potentially extend life.
Fitness trackers have become popular tools for those eager to improve their health, with Statista reporting some 310 million fitness tracking wearables in the form of wristbands and watches sold worldwide since 2014. But what are those fitness trackers really telling users about their internal health? Fitness trackers measure what a person is doing, not how that action is affecting their internal health. Measuring biological age directly may be more powerful in telling us about our health, and how to improve it. Moreover, it has the potential to be a better way to monitor your health compared to other metrics like heart rate, blood pressure, weight or others.
We are entering a new world of personalized healthcare, where access to technology like DNA sequencing or health tracking wearables allow us to look inside our bodies and understand the unique markers that make up our individual health as we age.
These advancements are helping biological age emerge as a new, powerful total health metric.
The future implications of biological age could affect retirement financial planning, influence pharmaceuticals, better inform health coaching, insurance, and even social security or the retirement age. These sectors of the health industry are currently tied to the more traditional chronological measure of age but could soon be innovated by adopting biological age as the standard. The biggest impact however will be the power this new metric has in helping extend life.
How is biological age measured?
There has been a lot of progress in our ability to calculate biological age. There are a variety of online questionnaires available that determine biological age available to individuals online. DNA sequencing is able to determine our ‘true age’ through the telomere length that extends from the ends of our DNA strands. An array of blood tests can also be used to examine aging of vital organs and use those markers to determine the biological age result. Measuring Aortic Stiffness is a non-invasive method that proves even one simple marker can accurately quantify biological aging.
The science is clear that our biological age can be lowered, it is a metric that reacts to our lifestyle choices, and potentially through a host of health and wellness coaching, or through medical intervention. The power to measure, understand and potentially decrease our true biological ‘health age’ might be the catalyst for a profound move forward in the health industry—and the business of living longer.
Measure your lifespan, and then extend it. Learn how you could find out your biological age in 30 seconds by measuring aortic stiffness.
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