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Science and Aging: Beauty Really Does Come from Within

Date: Jul 21, 2015 · Posted in: Beauty
Science and Aging: Beauty Really Does Come from Within

As you may have already learned from my esteemed colleague Monica, the effects of aging begin at the molecular level (click here for a refresher) and are quite apparent at the whole body level. Aging affects our body systems over time and age-related changes to the organs (which are unnoticeable to the naked eye) tend to precede the onset of chronic disease. Recently, research has been conducted to attempt to quantify the manner in which a population ages. 

How Can Aging be Quantified?

A team of researchers followed over 1000 young adults over the course of their lives to determine whether an increased rate of aging was associated with impaired physical and cognitive functioning. The researchers measured 18 biomarkers which are known to be associated with chronic disease and used them to measure “biological age” which is the age the body appears to be, based on how well the body systems are functioning. The biomarkers mainly aimed to quantify the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar & cholesterol, cardiovascular fitness & lung function, changes in body composition, changes in DNA (i.e. telomere shortening), kidney function and gum health. If you think about it, these are all functions which are known to become less efficient as we age. 

The Link Between Science and Aging

So what did the researchers find? Individuals which were actually 38 years of age demonstrated biological ages between 28 and 61 years and that the individuals with higher biological ages were already experiencing limitations on physical and mental capacities even at the young age of only 38. Those individuals with higher biological ages also described themselves to be in poorer health and appeared to look older than their biologically younger counterparts. 

This study goes to show that aging occurs at different rates, that aging is associated with impaired physical and mental functions and that these impairments can occur when one is still in his or her thirties. So the take home message for me is to live an active, healthy lifestyle by making choices to help reduce exposure to risk factors of chronic disease and that scientific evidence really does support the idea that beauty comes from within.