Ten years ago, two significant breakthroughs in aging research changed how we measure and understand the aging process. On October 7, we marked the 10th anniversary of epigenetic clocks and glycans discoveries and their role in quantifying biological age. These two mechanisms have transformed our understanding of aging, with profound implications for our health and longevity.
October 7th, 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of epigenetic clocks and glycans discoveries in the context of quantifying biological age.
Epigenetic clock and glycans offer a precise window into the biological age, enabling personalized interventions and predictions of age-related diseases.
Leading scientists are committed to advancing research in the pursuit of healthier aging, as demonstrated by their collaborative spirit at the Longevity Symposium in Rovinj.
Leading scientists, including Drs. Steve Horvath, Tim Spector, and Gordan Lauc, gathered to present their most recent findings and future research plans at the Longevity Symposium in Rovinj, Croatia, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of these discoveries. This gathering symbolized a shared commitment to advancing the field and a belief in the potential of these mechanisms to help improve lifespans and health spans.
The epigenetic clock
A decade ago, Dr. Steve Horvath unlocked a door to understanding the aging process that had long eluded scientists. His epigenetic clock relies on changes in DNA methylation patterns to gauge biological age, providing insights into the pace of one's aging. It's a time machine for our cells, revealing whether we're aging faster or slower than our chronological age, and it's accurate beyond imagination.
Supporting research for the epigenetic clock
Researchers have since developed numerous iterations of epigenetic clocks, and their efficacy is staggering. These clocks not only tell us our biological age but also forecast our susceptibility to age-related diseases, such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer. They're invaluable tools for navigating the road to better health and longevity, offering insights into how lifestyle and environmental factors affect the aging process. It’s important to note that before choosing the right biological test for you, be sure to consider several factors, such as price, accuracy, and the data provided to best fit your needs.
What are glycans?
Glycans, complex sugar molecules, have emerged as another powerful mechanism in the field of aging research. Just as our epigenetic makeup changes with age, our glycan profiles shift too, serving as biological markers.
The glycan clock estimates an individual's biological age by quantifying these changes and has proven highly effective in predicting one's risk of age-related diseases such as cancer, chronic inflammation, neuronal diseases, and diabetes. It is a tool that could be used in personalized medicine, enabling medical professionals to customize treatments according to each patient's particular aging profile.
In his presentation, GlycanAge's chief science officer and molecular biologist, Dr. Gordan Lauc, emphasized the precision of glycans in the context of disease prediction. “I'm very happy to see that the Biomarkers of Aging Consortium, in the paper they published very recently, clearly identified glycans as the only biomarker of age that is currently being used to monitor lifestyle interventions and that is predictive of multiple diseases,” Dr. Lauc said.
"Testing glycans can also be predictive of perimenopause as the IgG glycome integrates with estrogen in several weeks."Dr. Lauc
Beyond age quantification
Quantifying age was not the only topic covered by the conference speakers. In his presentation, Dr. Tim Spector, director of the Twins UK study and a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, discussed how tailored nutrition may affect aging, hopefully slowing it down.
Through his research, which has mostly involved twins, he has found that even though two individuals may share a similar genetic makeup, how they react to sugar or fat in food can differ greatly. One thousand people took part in the study, and they were all given the same diet. Subsequently, the researchers assessed a range of biomarkers, including microbiome, triglycerides, blood sugar, exercise, and sleep.
He clarified that they discovered that the way typical people react to food differs tenfold.
“We saw that identical twins, actually, weren’t very similar for this response to food. It wasn’t genetics. Genetics was only a small part of this. With many identical twins - one would have a good response to fat, the other would have a bad response to fat.” Dr. Spector explained.
Future research will unveil even more
The prospect of healthier and longer lifespans is becoming more and more real as research on biomarkers of aging advances and scientists learn more about them. We are approaching a new era in which we may have more control over the biological clock of aging than ever before, thanks to the collaborative efforts of visionaries like Drs. Steve Horvath, Tim Spector, and Gordan Lauc, as demonstrated at the Longevity Symposium in Rovinj.
The remarkable discoveries of glycans and epigenetic clocks have opened the door to personalized interventions and treatments, offering a chance for everyone to age more gracefully and ward off the shadows of age-related illnesses.
- Cell. Biomarkers of aging for the identification and evaluation of longevity interventions.
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Glycosylation Biomarkers Associated with Age-Related Diseases and Current Methods for Glycan Analysis.
- Cellular Immunology. Immunoglobulin G glycosylation in aging and diseases.
- Plos One. Glycosylation of immunoglobulin g: role of genetic and epigenetic influences.
- Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. Heritability of the glycan clock of biological age.
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- Genome Biology. DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types.
- Nature Medicine. Human postprandial responses to food and potential for precision nutrition.