According to the Blood Test, Our Bodies Aging with Three Different Changes
In terms of biological aging, our bodies change three times in our lifetime.
These three times are actually the main limits of our lifespan at 34, 60 and 78 years, new research indicates. In other words, there is evidence that aging is not a long, continuous process that moves at the same pace throughout our lives.
Findings of the Study
The findings may help us better understand how our bodies begin to break down as we age, and explore how to better address certain age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s or cardiovascular disease.
The same study also revealed a new way of estimating people’s age with no margin of error, using the protein levels in their blood, the proteome (all the proteins expressed by the genomes of nuclei and organelles).
In their paper, the researchers said: “By examining the aging plasma proteome in depth, we have identified the fluctuating changes that occur over the human lifetime. These changes were the result of protein clusters acting in different patterns, resulting in the emergence of three waves of aging.”
Protein Analysis Results
The team analyzed data from the blood plasma of 4,263 people aged 18 to 95, looking at the levels of about 3,000 different proteins that act in patterns in these biological systems. And as a result of this analysis, it was found that 1,379 of the proteins that act as a snapshot of what is going on in the body change with age.
While these protein levels remained relatively stable overall, the researchers found large changes in studies of various proteins during young adulthood (34 years), late middle age (60 years), and old age (78 years).
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Why is it Important?
It is not yet clear why and how this happens; only if the proteins can be traced back to their source; for example, it may allow a doctor to warn you that your liver is aging faster than the average person. It also highlights the link between aging and blood, something identified in previous studies.
Neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) explains: “We’ve known for a long time that measuring certain proteins in the blood can tell you about a person’s health status.
For example, in order to understand the cardiovascular health status, lipoproteins should be looked at. But the idea that the levels of many different proteins (about one-third of what we looked at) change significantly with advancing age has not been sufficiently appreciated.”
In about three years, the researchers were able to build a system that could be used to precisely predict someone’s age with a mixture of 373 selected proteins in the blood. Interestingly, when the system fails by estimating very young age ranges; people were generally quite healthy in their age period.
Gender Difference in Aging?
Another finding from the study provides ample evidence to a question long suspected: men and women age differently. Of the 1,379 proteins found to change with age, 895 (about two-thirds) were significantly more predictive for one gender than for the other.
These are still early findings. The researchers say that any clinical application may still not occur for 5-10 years. They also note that much more work needs to be done to understand how all of these proteins are markers for aging and whether they actually contribute.
Still, it’s a possibility that one day could increase your odds of obtaining a blood test that can measure how well and healthily you’re aging, at least at the cellular level. The more we know about aging, the more we can do to counteract aging.
This can encompass everything from knowing what to drink and eat, to being able to potentially add a few years of life to our lives, to identifying treatments to eliminate some of the worst age-related ailments.
Wyss-Coray had this to say about the situation:
“Ideally, of course you want to know how almost everything you take or do affects your physiological age.”