What is a Biological Age Test or Body Clock Test?
Most people are fully aware of how old they are in a chronological sense, since they know precisely how long they have been alive for. However, there is an important distinction to be made between your chronological age and your biological age or body clock age. Your biological age is much harder to calculate, as it is not a measurement of the length of time you have been alive for, but rather a fundamental measurement of how physically ‘aged’ your body is. Ever wondered why some people appear to be much younger or much older than their actual chronological age? The answer is very simple, it is because they have the body of someone who is much younger or older than they normally would at their current age. They themselves have physically aged faster or slower than average, and hence they appear to have physical and mental characteristics which are at odds with their chronomical age. A biological aging test is designed to determine your current biological age, by comparing physiological characteristics of your body to the average population in order to determine how quickly you are aging.
Why is biological age so important?
Biological age is a direct indicator of your general health, as well as being the most powerful tool to date for predicting overall lifespan. What is even more important to realize is that your biological age and the rate at which your biological age changes over time is in no way fixed, and can actively change depending on how you treat your body. There is undoubtedly a large genetic component at play, but there are numerous lifestyle factors which play a significant role in how quickly you age. Smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and poor diets have all been shown to significantly increase the rate at which individuals age. By extension, positive lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising, and decreasing personal levels of stress have been shown to help slow the biological aging process. If your biological age is higher than your chronological age, this would indicate that you are aging at an accelerated rate, which in turn means that you are likely to have both a shorter life expectancy and be more likely to suffer from age related diseases. Biological age testing can help you to identify the rate at which you are aging, and in turn allow you to make the necessary lifestyle changes to slow your rate of aging. Even if your biological age is less than your chronological age, further testing can always be utilized to further improve your rate of aging in order to maximize your health and longevity.
What types of Biological Aging tests are available?
There have been many different forms of biological aging tests throughout the years, however today there are two main ways in which biological age is measured.
The first of these tests is known as an Epigenetic Age Test, which is commonly referred to as an Epigenetic Clock test, or GrimAge testing. By far the most accurate form of this test is called the Horvath Clock developed by Dr Steve Horvath, which is commonly considered to be the most accurate form of biological age testing currently available, and has been proven to be the most accurate predictor to life expectancy currently developed. The Horvath Clock works by measuring age related changes in your DNA sequences, specifically measuring the rate at which your DNA is modified through the addition and subtraction of methyl groups to your chromosomes as you get older. Horvath Clock testing requires nothing more than a small sample (0.5ml) of capillary blood, which can be collected either in a clinical or via a home testing kit.
The Second commonly used form of biological age testing is known as PhenoAge Test. Instead of examining an individual’s DNA, PhenoAge testing measures common age-related biomarkers, which is known to change during aging. PhenoAge testing involves a simple blood test which examines nine common age related biomarkers (Albumin, ALP, Creatinine, Blood Glucose, CRP, Lymphocyte percentage, White Blood Cell Count, Mean Corpuscular Volume, and Red Cell Distribution Width). Collectively these results can then be used to calculate your biological age. Although this form of testing is less accurate when compared to epigenetic testing, PhenoAge testing is still regarded as a valuable indicator of biological age, and is often used alongside epigenetic biological age testing in medical research.