Could Vitamin D Affect Your Biological Aging Process?
They say you're only as old as you feel. There is definitely some truth to that. A 50-year-old who feels like 70 is probably not very healthy. But a 70-year-old who feels like 50 is probably healthy as a horse.
None of us can press the pause button on aging. But a recent study at a university in Berlin reveals that you can estimate a person's age by studying their epigenetics. Your "epigenetic age" may reflect your "biological age."
And this might tell you more about how certain things affect you – such as lifestyle, environment and diseases – than your chronological age.
"How does this affect me and what can I do about it?" you might ask. Well, that's the purpose of today's communication. But I'll give you a hint. New evidence published in the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences points to Vitamin D as an influencer.
What Is Epigenetics?
Before we go any farther, let's define epigenetics. Here's how the CDC describes it:
It's the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. This is not to be confused with genetic changes, which are irreversible.
Although your genes play an important role in your health, so too do your behaviors and environment. Examples are what you eat and how active you are.
Epigenetic changes do not change your DNA sequence. We can't lose or gain genes. But there are biological "on" and "off" switches for each of them. Epigenetic changes can affect how your body reads a DNA sequence.
Because your behaviors and environment (diet and exercise) can result in epigenetic changes, the connection between your genes and those behaviors and environment are easy to observe.
Types of Epigenetic Changes
There are three main types of epigenetic changes. They are DNA methylation, histone modification and non-coding RNA. Histones are proteins that provide structural support for chromosomes. RNA is a nucleic acid present in all living cells.
Methylation is a chemical reaction in the body. DNA methylation adds a chemical group to DNA. It blocks proteins that attach to DNA to "read" the gene. Methylation usually turns genes "off," while demethylation turns them "on."
Histones are proteins providing structural support for chromosomes. When histones are packed together tightly, the gene is turned "off" because proteins that read the gene can't access DNA easily. But when histones are loosely packed, more DNA is exposed and the gene is turned "on."
DNA provides instructions for making coding and non-coding RNA. Coding RNA is used to make proteins. Non-coding RNA breaks down coding RNA so it can't be used to make proteins. In this way, non-coding RNA helps control gene expression.
Cells Have Different Functions
Here's a practical example of how epigenetics works as your body develops. All your body's cells have the same genes. But those cells look and act differently.
As your body grows during childhood, epigenetics steps in to determine the functions cells will have. Some will be heart cells, some nerve cells and some skin cells.
Muscle cells and nerve cells work differently, though they contain the same DNA. A muscle cell has a structure that helps body movement. A nerve cell sends information to other body cells.
Once again, epigenetics comes into play. It allows muscle cells to turn "off" genes that are important for a nerve cell's job and turn "on" genes to make proteins essential for its job.
Low Vitamin D = Biologically Old
OK, enough of the technical stuff. Let's get back to Vitamin D, which we're all more familiar with.
We already know that Vitamin D has a positive influence on bone health. In the Journals of Gerontology study mentioned above, the epigenetic patterns of 1,600 participants were examined.
Those with low levels of Vitamin D in their bloodstream were discovered to be "biologically older" than people with adequate levels.
In addition, chromosomes appeared younger in people with adequate Vitamin D levels than in those with low levels.
To be clear, the authors don't suggest that adequate Vitamin D levels will make someone look or feel younger. But rather that Vitamin D may help prevent accelerated aging.
A Plethora of Benefits
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. Your body requires it for the growth and development of strong bones and teeth. It's a fat-soluble vitamin that functions like a steroid hormone in the body.
It helps your body absorb and maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphate. And it facilitates normal immune system function. Which aids in protecting against health problems.
As well as brain and nervous system health. Plus lung function and cardiovascular health, and regulating insulin levels.
People need Vitamin D to allow the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium. And to reclaim calcium the kidneys would otherwise excrete.
A great source of Vitamin D is Patriot Vital4. Three other essential nutrients your body needs to function and thrive are also included in Vital4. They are choline, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium.
These four nutrients support a strong heart, sharp mind, strong bones and muscles. And vibrant health and vitality.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been tied to nearly every major health challenge adults face. Especially if you're over 50.
Studies show Vitamin D can protect against bone loss. As well as reduce your risk of falling and support your heart and blood pressure levels. And protect against aches and pains.