A fascinating 2021 study shows it can be done
And with the nutrients and lifestyle advice we have been recommending for years.
[Ref: Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial - PMC (nih.gov)]
As I reported in the book Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100 there are now tests to show the effect of lifestyle changes on epigenetic markers of ageing.
Colin Rose is a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He is the Founder and Director of Research and Innovation of Uni-Vite Healthcare and author of a recent book: Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, where he reveals how to slow ageing and, therefore, help prevent later-life illness.
Switch good genes on and bad genes off
Let me explain ‘epigenetic’. Genes are positioned along your DNA in each cell. While your genetic code (DNA) is fixed at conception, (and unique to you), the way those genes are expressed can be changed by nutrition, environment, and lifestyle.
Not all of your approximate 23,000 genes are switched on or off ('expressed') at any one time or indeed ever. Which is why identical twins can have different life spans and health spans because they eat different diets and live different lifestyles.
Genes produce the proteins that run your body. There are genes that protect your DNA and genes that protect you from cancer – like tumour suppressor genes. You’ll obviously want those switched on or ‘dialled up’.
Equally, there are genes that make you more vulnerable to cancer – called onco-genes. You’ll definitely want those dialled down or ideally switched off entirely.
One major aim of nutritional supplementation, exercise regimes and lifestyle interventions like stress reduction is to alter gene expression in a positive way.
The clinical trial
The study in question aimed to see whether a comprehensive lifestyle programme could change gene expression to slow biological ageing or even reverse it. The measurement they used was called an epigenetic clock – in this case the Horvath DNAmAge clock.
Here’s what they did.
43 healthy adult men between the ages of 50 and 72 were enrolled in the trial. Half were put into the "treatment group" and half were in the untreated control group.
Food plan and multi-nutrient supplement
The treatment group participants were given a food plan very similar to the one we recommend – and which you can get at the end of this article. It included a lot of plant foods and limited nutrient-dense animal proteins like liver and egg.
The study diet restricted carbohydrates and included mild intermittent fasting consisting of not eating for 12 hours overnight. Both are designed to stabilise blood sugar levels and lower excess variations in insulin response, which is damaging and ageing.
The treatment group also received a supplement rich in folate, betaine, vitamin C, and polyphenols including curcumin, epigallo-catechin-gallate from green tea extract (EGCG), plant extracts like grapeseed extract plus flax seed for Omega 3 content. These are all in NutriShield – although our Omega 3 comes from fish oil because it is better metabolised.
Lifestyle guidance including exercise/activity
Lifestyle guidance in this study included a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise/activity per day on at least 5 days per week at an intensity of 60-80 percent of maximum perceived exertion. [In my view, this regime can even be improved by adding a few minutes a day of core strength exercises – which we describe at the end.]
Twice-daily breathing exercises were prescribed for stress reduction. Details of this are also at the end. The study also recommended at least seven hours sleep nightly.
Probiotic (single-strain) supplement
Finally, the treatement group also received two capsules a day of a daily single-strain probiotic containing a total of 40 billion CFUs of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum (also known previously as Lactobacillus plantarum). This adds an interesting intervention – and was probably added because this probiotic strain has been shown to increase the body’s internal level of antioxidant activity.
[Ref: A novel approach to Lactiplantibacillus plantarum: From probiotic properties to the omics insights - ScienceDirect]
My reading of the ever-increasing literature on probiotics is that having a variety of strains in a probiotic is generally preferable to having a very high count of one strain.
Having said that, we do include Lactobacillus plantarum in Uni-Vite's multi-strain probiotic Microbiotic Plus.
The researchers, using the ‘epigenetic clock’, reported that after just 60 days (2 months):
“... those in the treatment group scored an average 1.96 years younger, at the end of the program compared to the same individuals at the beginning.”
Two years younger biologically in just 2 months is impressive.
Even so, the researchers acknowledged that other elements known to slow biological ageing could have been included – and specifically mentioned vitamin D3 supplementation.
They also referred to another epigenetic study that proposed increasing the energy molecule NAD+ through Nicotinamide Riboside.
Critics of this fascinating study will complain that you can’t really tell which intervention caused the reversal of biological ageing.
I – and I believe most people – will reply that what matters is that it showed the importance of synergy – combining nutritional supplements with a good diet, regular activity and time for relaxation. Which is exactly what we have been recommending ever since we introduced our own healthy ageing supplement NutriShield Premium.
Summary – Combine nutrition, activity and relaxation for anti-ageing
The RELAXATION factor
Relieve stress and relax with this instant breathing exercise. Try it now!
FOR THREE (3) MINUTES
SIT comfortably, ideally looking upwards
BREATHE in through the nose and out through pursed lips (like blowing out a candle)
BREATHE IN for 4 seconds, letting your tummy expand
HOLD for 5 seconds
BREATHE OUT for 5 seconds, letting your tummy contract
YOU'LL FEEL CALM AND WONDERFULLY RELAXED
Thanks for reading
I spend my time researching the new science of healthy, successful ageing. And how to extend health span rather than just lifespan.
And if you enjoyed it, please send the link of this article to any friend or family member who might benefit.
NutriShield Premium Health Supplement
NutriShield Premium was originally designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
It contains 6 different capsules, combining a total of 43 powerful nutrients to support healthy ageing and has been updated and improved every year since 2002 based on the newest longevity research.
Delay Ageing book explains the ageing process and how you can postpone it
Medical researchers agree that if you slow ageing, you also delay the onset of age-related disease. And we know that it’s not just nutrition. Sleep, reducing stress and cardio and strength exercise are also essential to longevity and ageing well.
My book Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, published in 2020, explains the latest ageing science in an accessible way.
It’s been rated 5-star and I am sure you will get a lot of benefit from it, as so many have already.