279: Younger You? Reducing Your Biological Age - Dr. Kara Fitzgerald

On Air with Ella - podcast episode 279

Dr Kara Fitzgerald YOUNGER YOU

Yes, You Can Reduce Your Bio Age & Live Longer, Better

Dr. Kara Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine. She is engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention. She has published a consumer book, Younger You, and an app-based program, 3YY, based on the study. She is medical director of a large, integrative virtual and in-person clinic based in Connecticut.


Your genes don't dictate your fate, and age doesn’t dictate how you feel. The root cause of all diseases is not driven by genetics.

In this episode:
  • Aging appears to be driven by DNA methylation – a process that influences which genes are turned on and which are turned off.

  • We use DNA methylation as an epigenetic clock to measure biological age.

  • DNA methylation changes as we age (to our detriment), so it appears to be not just a surrogate marker of aging, but a driver of aging.

  • There are predictable DNA methylation patterns from in utero to centenarians, so you can very reliably predict how old someone is using these patterns.

  • Life expectancy in the United States is on the decline. Not only are we living a shorter time, according to the World Health Organization, although we have a life expectancy of 79.3 years, the average age for developing a serious illness is 63.1 years old, meaning many spend the last 16.2 years of life ill (!!)

  • A whopping 80% of adults over sixty-five have one chronic disease, and a full 68% have at least two! The scientific and medical communities have responded to this rise in disease incidence by researching and treating diseases one by one, but our growing understanding of epigenetics suggests that we can reduce the risk of all diseases at once by reducing bio age.

  • Your genes don't dictate your fate: age doesn’t dictate how you feel; the root cause of all diseases is not driven by genetics. Study after study suggests it is our rate of aging which affects disease creation, and we can change that. Even a strongly determined genetic condition—like BRCA gene associated breast cancer—is potently influenced for better or worse by your lifestyle choices.

  • Specific foods and lifestyle practices have been shown to favorably influence DNA methylation. By improving DNA methylation patterns (and reversing bio age) we might, be increasing longevity (health span and lifespan) .

  • You can take care of your epigenetic expression at every life stage, from infancy through midlife and your later decades, leading to less suffering, more years of quality life, and lower medical expenses

  • Lifestyle practices such as exercise, meditation, supplements, and cuddling which have also been shown to impact DNA methylation and biological age.

  • Address stress as if your life depends on it because it DOES—on the bio age clock, a full 25% that makes it tick is driven by the stress hormone cortisol.

  • “Biological embedding” explains how our emotional/psychological experiences (i.e. PTSD in adulthood or an adverse childhood experience) are translated into DNA methylation marks on our DNA, thereby affecting genetic expression and influencing our risk of chronic diseases.

  • Foods that benefit DNA methylation and lower your biological age include turmeric, beets, cruciferous veggies, green tea, shiitake mushrooms, and eggs. Kara's book lists many more best practices!


Younger You Book

Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better



CONNECT WITH DR. KARA FITZGERALD

 

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