An 8-week methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program was found to significantly decrease biological age in a case series of women, suggesting that such interventions may affect underlying mechanisms of aging rather than disease-driven aging, and be effective for both sexes.
A new research paper published in the journal Aging examines the impact of a special diet/lifestyle program.
A case series of six women who underwent a methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program, aimed at affecting DNA methylation and measures of biological aging, was reported on by researchers Kara N. Fitzgerald, Tish Campbell, Suzanne Makarem, and Romilly Hodges. These researchers are associated with the Institute for Functional Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the American Nutrition Association.
“The modifiable lifestyle intervention used by participants in this case series was first investigated in a pilot clinical trial in which participants (all men between the ages of 50-72 years) reduced their biological age by an average of 3.23 years as compared to controls. The case series reported on herein was conducted to further the investigation of a modifiable lifestyle intervention that was largely the same in other populations; importantly in women.”
The team carried out an intervention consisting of an eight-week program. This program included guidance on diet, sleep, exercise, and relaxation, supplemental probiotics and phytonutrients, and nutritional coaching. DNA methylation and biological age analysis (Horvath DNAmAge clock (2013), normalized using the SeSAMe pipeline) were conducted on blood samples at baseline and at the end of the eight-week period.
Five of the six participants exhibited a biological age reduction of between 1.22 and 11.01 years from their baseline biological age. There was a statistically significant (p=.039) difference in the participants’ mean biological age before (55.83 years) and after (51.23 years) the 8-week diet and lifestyle intervention, with an average decrease of 4.60 years. The average chronological age at the start of the program was 57.9 years and all but one participant had a biological age younger than their chronological age at the start of the program, suggesting that biological age changes were unrelated to disease improvement and instead might be attributed to underlying aging mechanisms.
“This case series of women participants extends the previous pilot study of this intervention in men, indicating that favorable biological age changes may be achievable in both sexes. In addition, the investigation of otherwise-healthy individuals, rather than those with diagnosed disease, suggests an influence directly on underlying mechanisms of aging instead of disease-driven aging.”
Reference: “Potential reversal of biological age in women following an 8-week methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program: a case series” by Kara N. Fitzgerald, Tish Campbell, Suzanne Makarem and Romilly Hodges, 22 March 2023, Aging.
This was a tantalizing little tidbit of information, but where do we get more information on this diet, and these lifestyle changes?
In the paper
A methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle is a program that aims to impact DNA methylation and measures of biological aging. DNA methylation is a process that involves adding a methyl group (CH3) to a DNA molecule, which can affect gene expression and cellular function. Methylation is influenced by various factors, such as genetics, nutrition, environment, and lifestyle³.
A methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program may include the following components¹²:
– A diet rich in natural folate and B vitamins, which are methyl donors and critical for normal methylation. Some examples of foods that provide these nutrients are leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
– A diet low in processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, which can interfere with methylation and increase oxidative stress.
– A diet high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory foods, which can protect DNA from damage and support cellular health. Some examples of foods that provide these benefits are berries, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onion, turmeric, ginger, green tea, and olive oil.
– A probiotic supplement and fermented foods, which can support gut health and microbiome diversity. The gut microbiome plays a role in modulating methylation and influencing gene expression.
– A regular exercise routine that includes both aerobic and resistance training, which can improve cardiovascular health, metabolism, muscle mass, and mitochondrial function. Exercise can also stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports neuronal growth and survival.
– A good sleep hygiene that ensures adequate duration and quality of sleep, which can regulate circadian rhythms and hormonal balance. Sleep is essential for DNA repair and cellular rejuvenation.
– A relaxation practice that reduces stress levels and promotes mental well-being. Stress can impair methylation and increase inflammation. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or massage can help lower cortisol levels and enhance mood.
A recent case series of six women who completed an 8-week methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program reported a significant decrease in their biological age as measured by the Horvath DNAmAge clock¹. Biological age is an estimate of how old a person is based on various biomarkers of aging. The participants reduced their biological age by an average of 4.60 years compared to their chronological age. This suggests that such interventions may affect underlying mechanisms of aging rather than disease-driven aging¹.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/6/2023(1) How to Support Methylation + Why It’s Important for Your Health. https://draxe.com/health/methylation/ Accessed 4/6/2023.
(2) Turn Back Time: Lifestyle Program Reverses Biological Age. https://scitechdaily.com/turn-back-time-lifestyle-program-reverses-biological-age/ Accessed 4/6/2023.
(3) Diet and Lifestyle Program Reverses Biological Age. https://neurosciencenews.com/diet-lifestyle-aging-22929/ Accessed 4/6/2023.
(4) Biological Age Reversed by Lifestyle Program – Bollyinside. https://www.bollyinside.com/news/fashion-lifestyle/biological-age-reversed-by-lifestyle-program/ Accessed 4/6/2023.