My Biological Age Test is Coming Soon – So Why am I Worried?
After publishing my detailed overview of biological age tests, my own test is on the way.
I was not expecting the worry.
You see, there are multiple reasons why I might be biologically older than my fifty-two chronological years. While I have been actively building on healthy habits for two years now, there are some skeletons in the closet. Each of these will have contributed to ageing.
What I don’t know is by how much.
The reasons are below, after that I’ll return to the psychology (and to the positives).
- Celiac (coeliac) Disease: Undiagnosed until eight years ago.
- Smoking: From 16 to 39 I was a regular pack per day smoker (ugh!)
- Drinking: There were times in my life when I drank far too much.
- Sugar: My current low-sugar / low-carb diet is a major contrast to years gone by.
A little more on each:
Ageing Effects from Celiac Disease:
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. My immune system thinks that gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) is an invader, and attacks it with gusto.
I found out I had celiac disease late. Serious anaemia left me with just 10% of the normal blood iron, along with significant weight loss. Nausea compounded things. After ruling out far worse conditions, celiac disease was confirmed.
That immune defence had degraded my stomach lining to the point I was unable to absorb nutrients from my food.
An immediate switch to a 100% gluten free diet (and short-term IV iron) resolved things within months. These days, I rarely think about gluten outside of restaurant visits. Having to be fussy in public is not my style, and sometimes feels uncomfortable. I always remind myself that those symptoms could have been for a far, far worse condition…
Celiac disease caused inflammation every time I ate for decades, which can’t be good for ageing. Absorption issues for vitamins and minerals as my stomach lining was gradually degraded will have put multiple pathways off balance too.
Ageing Effects of Smoking:
Some people can light up at a party, then not smoke for the rest of the week.
Not me, it was an addiction – and a full-time one. Looking back now it feels ridiculous, though at the time I enjoyed it, and it did not cross my mind to quit. I gave up around 13 years ago. Since then, part of my left lung had to be removed after a PTX.
The current version of me cringes thinking about the self-inflicted damage to my DNA.
Strangely, telling the Mark of twenty years ago this fact would simply not have worked. I’d simply have ignored you, lit up a smoke and looked puzzled over my whiskey glass. I’m keeping this in mind in my writing at the Age Well Times. There is no point trying to convince people to take on healthy ageing habits if they are not open / ready for them.
Ageing Effects of Booze:
I’ve always had a complex relationship with booze.
From the hedonistic teenager to the hard drinking musician. From the corporate guy drinking to unwind, to the budding entrepreneur celebrating wins and numbing the pain of setbacks.
These days, the occasional glass of red wine feels worth fighting for (though I admit that even that will need to go at some point).
Alcohol ages us in multiple ways. From damage to the gut microbiome to liver wear, from sugar spikes to disrupted / poor quality sleep.
Ageing Effects of Sugar
I still battle the sugar cravings today, though compared to seven or eight years ago – I have them under control.
At one point there was a basket in the food cupboard, especially for chocolate bars and other poisonous snacks. My celiac diagnosis at least helped with sugar from bread, pasta, and pastries.
Sugar creates insulin resistance over time, damages cells and proteins – and triggers fat storage (creating ageing via inflammation).
After years of bingeing, I can’t help but think sugar has contributed to my biological ageing.
Testing My Biological Age: The Positive Side of my Personal Balance Sheet
It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to my biological age test results.
I’ve been incrementally developing longevity habits for two years and getting smarter about health and fitness for several years before that.
Things I hope will keep my bio-age lower:
- Exercise: I was a runner for many years, and now work out every day (including extras like a quick 30 push-ups and 1 minute plank each morning before my shower).
- Low Carb Diet: Salad for lunch, cauliflower instead of rice and lower sugar than ever.
- Low BMI: I have always enjoyed a low BMI, undiagnosed celiac disease may have contributed…
- Intermittent Fasting: My eating window is 12pm to 6pm, and I’m strict on it. This avoids temptation for snacks, and keeps my circadian rhythm in synch.
- Focus on Sleep: Morning sun, set routine and blue light blockers all help.
- Lower Toxins: Far less booze, no smoking, no sunburn, processed foods or chemicals.
Sure, there is more to do… I have not even included supplements and longer fasts here. This journey will be documented right here on my blog.
Psychology and Biological Age Tests
Even after writing down the myriad reasons my biological age tests could show that I’m older than my fifty-two-year chronological age – I’m optimistic.
This got me wondering whether anticipation of biological age is the same as self-assessment of driving skills? 80% of people consider themselves to be above average drivers. Do 80% of people also assume that their biological age is lower than their chronological age?
If my results show I’m biologically older, then there are positive outcomes even from this.
That result my spur on my efforts developing habits. Whereas a lower age could lead to complacency on pushing them. Some feedback that my newfound habits work (via a lower score) would be welcome.
I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m worried.
Maybe it is my natural state. Don’t get your hopes up too far in case they are crushed is a defence mechanism which might sound familiar to those of us born in the 1970’s.
When the test is returned, I’ll come back and blog about the results.
Who I Chose for My First Biological Age Test and Why
While fascinated with the science behind GlycanAge – I went with an epigenetic test from DoNotAge.
Money was a factor; the DoNotAge test was at the value end of the spectrum. I’d love to compare multiple tests, and look forward to doing that when my finances permit.
The other factor is that DoNotAge.org actively fund research projects into longevity / healthy ageing. This includes Brad Stanfield’s proposed Rapamycin trial.
I’ll cover the testing process along with my results in a future blog post.