Dr. Morgan Levine: You have two ages. It matters

I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Morgan Levine, one of the world’s leading researchers in biological aging.  And now thanks to a report from  CNN you can have insights into her work.  WATCH CNN VIDEO HERE.

Dr. Levine published a seminal research paper in 2018 entitled “An epigenetic biomarker of aging for lifespan and health span.”  This work builds from the research published by Dr. Steve Horvath on predictive human longevity.  Dr. Levine takes that research to another level looking more precisely at biomarkers which indicate risk of early mortality.

According to Levine’s research, essentially, everyone has two ages: a chronological age, how old the calendar says you are, and a phenotypic or biological age, basically the age at which your body functions as it compares to average fitness or health levels.

“People of the same chronological age aren’t all at the same risk for developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or even dying,” Levine said. “What [the biological age] does is actually give us a better idea of where someone stands for their age.”

The article importantly points out — that unlike results from genetic testing — the biomarkers measured by Dr. Levine can changed. The biomarker science Dr. Levine is studying is epigenetics.  Knowing you can change your epigenetics can empower individuals to make changes to lifestyle, diet, exercise and sleep habits, and hopefully take steps to lower the risk and improve their biological age.