This blog will be in three parts: 1) The sales pitch, 2) The Back Story, and 3) The Fine Print
——————— 1) The Sales Pitch
This biological clock technology was licensed from the discoverer, UCLA scientist Dr. Steve Horvath, and since improved by Zymo Research and its subsidiary, Epimorphy Inc. It looks at the methylation (epigenetic changes) of over 500 genes to estimate your biological age. The correlation between this measurement is around 95% and the premise is that if you have a benchmark and make changes, you can see how well those changes are impacting your biological age. The following is from the company brochure:
“What is the myDNAge™ Test?
Epimorphy LLC, in collaboration with Zymo Research, brings you myDNAge™ Epigenetic Aging Test. Epigenetics affects how genes are expressed, and changes with age and lifestyle. Based on the aging clock discovered by UCLA professor Dr. Steve Horvath, myDNAge™ detects epigenetic markers to determine biological age. The reversible and dynamic nature of epigenetic modification makes myDNAge™ an ideal test to monitor lifestyle interventions.
We quantify over 500 markers distributed across your genome to precisely quantify your biological age. These markers, located on chromosome 1 through 22, are shown as bars in the above plot.
myDNAge™ reveals distinct aging rate among seperate populations. Accelerated aging1 is shown in HIV-positive patients and Down syndrome patients, normal aging2 in general populations, and slowed aging3 in offspring of centenarians (person who is 100 years or older).
(end of company brochure)
At $49.99, including shipping both ways, this is a great deal and there are no other options that I know of as the Osirus Green site is currently not accepting new orders. The Cygenia.com test uses only 3 gene loci and I would consider this not valid.
Act now because the promo price may not be available for much longer and there is no other blood test with the high degree of accuracy in predicting biological age than this one. Go to www.mydnage.com and apply promo code “smartAGING” upon checkout. I do recommend this to any of my patients who are taking telomerase activators although you should read section 3 for caveats.
———————– 2) The Back Story
A couple of months back, I attended 3 hours of lectures by the discoverer of the Horvath epigenetic clock and his colleagues. I came away with the conclusion that using data mining, these scientists had discovered a highly accurate “clock” for inferring chronological age from methylation assays of human chromosomes. To find a straight line correlation with 95% predictive value is truly astounding in biology and although the underlying nature of those specific gene loci and their true relationship to biological aging remains uncertain, the test appears to be pretty accurate.
To test the validity, I lied and told the company that my urine was from a 20-year-old. They informed me that the cells in my urine, mostly urinary tract but also other types, showed a DNA methylation age of a 44yo. I was busted and if you look at the chart, just slide my 20yo self to the right to find my 44yo results on their straight line graph.
Now as a ten-year user of a telomerase activator, I told myself that my -7 yr advantage was likely the result of this intervention. Maybe…maybe not. But I don’t take any other supplements or medications and have no chronic disease. So I choose to believe what I want.
Having said that, I will be taking the advice of my more bold patients and adding some new things now that my 10-year trial has slowed but not halted my aging. I still have no reading glasses, the same number of grey hairs (about 15 on my chin and 20 on my head) but I can’t touch my knees to my nose in yoga any longer so it feels like time to heed the advice of my intrepid patients. Stay tuned for specific, non-monetized recommendations in future blog posts as I add them into my lifestyle.
As fate would have it, I have become acquainted with the scientists who developed and are selling this MyDNAge test and I can vouch for their total professionalism, integrity, and reliability. If you are interested in finding your epigenetic age, I strongly recommend doing the test for a reasonable $49 price tag.
————————-3) The Fine Print
As I explain in this blog, the best measure of biological age remains one’s chronological age. As with used cars, there is simultaneous and asymmetric damage being incurred just by driving the vehicle and you would never consider a car with 10,000 miles to be equivalent to one with 200,000 miles despite the surface appearance and maintenance record.
The use of data mining to create a robust and predictive model of aging assumes that the organs of interest throughout the body are highly correlated with the easily measured cellular DNA from blood and urine. This may be more true if they “stem” from the same source of aging mesenchymal stem cells and less true if there is localized stem cell divergence and survival.
The absence of insight into the stepwise sequence of methylation and practical significance of this altered gene expression might be a cause for concern. The fact that progerics with classic accelerated aging phenotypes from telomerase dysfunction do not show advanced epigenetic clock age tells me that the gross DNA damage from telomere erosion that occurs to stem cells is not being measured by the clock. See this blog for a alternative and critical interpretation of the Horvath clock.
All that said, I cannot predict whether generally, the epigenetic clock will correlate positively or negatively with your subjective age while using telomerase activators. I would like to have positive feedback and will consider alternative interpretations for negative feedback.
For the time being, the popularity of an epigenetic biological clock is on a definite upswing and if we can ever parse out its relationship to stem cell ecology and meaningful gene expression as a function of aging, it may have some very profound significance as a practical measure of our interventions.
At this price point, I recommend the test. Buyer beware and don’t forget to use your practical measures of health and wellness to temper any negative results. If I had gotten a biological age of 58 (or +7) instead of the opposite, I might not be so sanguine. Nevertheless, I would love to have some feedback from my patients about what their epigenetic clocks are showing and since the test is $250 less than telomere measurements, why not give it a try?
For a general review of epigenetics, please see this video I did on the subject from two identical twins, Bill and Ben: