These Women Reduced Their Biological Age Up To 11 Years (Yes, Really!)
In a new case series from Aging that features six healthy women between the ages of 45 and 65, researchers determined that nutritional and lifestyle interventions designed to support DNA methylation helped reverse participants' biological ages up to 11 years—and in just eight weeks!
But before we dive into the specific diet and longevity-supporting habits these women followed to essentially age backward, let's quickly review what DNA methylation is and why it matters when it comes to epigenetics.
DNA methylation & healthy aging
DNA methylation is the biological process in which methyl groups attach to certain segments of DNA.
It's a key component to epigenetics (i.e., how changes in diet, lifestyle, and environment can impact your health trajectory by physically altering your DNA).
Maintaining healthy DNA methylation is quite a feat all on its own, but over 50% of Americans1 have the additional challenge of an MTHFR gene variant that can directly impact their body's ability to activate folic acid, homocysteine levels, and methylation cycle overall. Beyond DNA and longevity outcomes, suboptimal methylation can impact whole-body health and well-being.
The methylation-supportive diet & lifestyle program
The eight-week methylation-supportive diet and lifestyle program was designed to support DNA methylation in hopes of reversing biological aging. It included the following interventions:
- Diet: Foods high in known epinutrients (i.e., dietary nutrients that support DNA methylation) such as eggs, clean animal protein, liver (or encapsulated liver supplement), methylation adaptogens (e.g., turmeric, green tea, rosemary, berries), and plenty of nutrient-dense plants (e.g., dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, beets, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds) were included.
- Water: Participants were asked to drink eight cups of water per day.
- Supplements: Probiotics and a greens powder were taken daily.
- Lifestyle habits: Participants were asked to exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, sleep a minimum of seven hours per night, fast 12 hours after their last meal daily, and practice deep breathing twice throughout the day.
Average adherence to all interventions was 82%. Researchers found it was easiest for participants to adhere to the diet and supplementation protocols and most difficult to adhere to the lifestyle habits (particularly, the deep breathing practice).
Biological age was analyzed using an epigenetic clock called Horvath's clock. One of the six participants saw no change in biological age; of the remaining five participants, an average decrease in biological age of 4.6 years was observed. The minimum biological age reduction was 1.22 years, and the greatest reduction was 11.01 years.
A new case series finds that a methylation-supportive diet and supplementation regimen rich in epinutrients plus lifestyle interventions (e.g., quality sleep, proper hydration, regular physical activity, and a consistent deep breathing practice) can yield a significant reduction in biological age in as short as eight weeks.
In addition to probiotics and greens powder, a targeted methylation support supplement like mindbodygreen's methylation support+ that includes key epinutrients featured in this case series (i.e., B vitamins methylfolate, riboflavin, B6, and methylated B12 plus betaine) can help further support DNA methylation and overall longevity efforts.*
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.