It has been decades since scientists have understood that in order to understand, slow, halt or reverse the process of aging, we will need reliable and valid biomarkers of aging that can expand our understanding of a person’s age. Chronological age has been used for too long but the fact is that it is an imperfect measure of aging because different people age at different paces. Many people succumb to age-related diseases before they turn 70 while some people can be healthier even at 90. Therefore, scientists have looked towards biological markers as ways to measure to understand and measure aging. The United States National Institute on Aging started a program in 1988 with the objective of identifying different biomarkers associated with age in model organisms like rats and mice. Research in this area has been ongoing ever since. Many compounds liked to age-related diseases have been found to be chronically elevated or deficient in individuals. Many scientists believe that inflammatory components form certain patterns in our blood that can be identified and interpreted to tell us whether we are at risk of developing diseases related to aging. So, in a way, these components can point towards our biological age.
That is what a team from Stanford University School of Medicine did when they made iAge: an aging clock that tracks the patterns of inflammation in your blood. Nazish Sayed and her team explained iAge as the “inflammatory clock of aging (iAge) tracked with multimorbidity, immunosenescence, frailty, and cardiovascular aging”. iAge can track cardiovascular aging and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in individuals who are otherwise healthy. The researchers suggested that iAge can be helpful in informing physicians regarding the overall health of a patient.
Prediction of Frailty and Age Using Patterns of Inflammation-Causing Compounds
The study conducted by Sayed and her team collected blood samples during 2007-2016 from a total of 1001 participants. The researchers conducted two studies on participants who ranged from 8 to 96 years in age. One study was conducted on chronic fatigue syndrome while the other was focused on aging and vaccination. The researchers profiled the blood samples for various inflammatory and immune molecules. This included various measures such as seropositivity to cytomegalovirus (CMV), the response of cells to multiple stimuli, subset composition of cells, serum cytokine levels, and gene expression. Out of the 1001 participants, 902 participants also answered a health assessment comprised of a 93-feature clinical questionnaire.
With the help of immunization and inflammatory molecules data, the researchers developed a model for chronic inflammation related to age that could summarize the cumulative burden of inflammation on an individual. This model was named iAge by the authors. The researchers then tested the abilities of iAge in predicting frailty and age and found encouraging results.
iAge score correlated with the chronological age of the participants. As the chronological age increased, so did the iAge scores. The researchers also checked whether iAge was able to correctly predict functional deterioration for the participants of the study. Since the study comprised a total of seven years, the researchers were able to map the functional deterioration of the older adults from the year 2010 to 2017. They found out that the model was able to predict frailty in older adults quite successfully through its predictions of frailty score. It must be noted here that the model was more successful in predicting the frailty score as compared to the prediction of the chronological age of the participants.
The researchers highlighted that the use of iAge can allow us to predict whether a person is going to be frail or not, seven years before it happens. That means that doctors can run a range of interventions before that happens.
In Figure (a) above, the chronological age was predicted by iAge using 50 immune proteins from the circulatory system. In Figure b, the same model predicted the 2017 frailty score of patients in 2010, seven years before the fact.
The above figures show that centenarians predominantly had a low iAge score while control older adults have a higher iAge score.
Low Inflammatory Burden and Longevity
After that, the researchers examined the relationship between longevity and iAge scores by exploring the data of 37 participants from Bologna, Italy. Out of these 37 participants, 18 belonged to the control group of 50-79 years of age while the remaining 19 were centenarians (100 years of age and above). Out of these 19, 13 participants had a low iAge score while 6 had a higher one. From the control group, 14 had a high iAge score while only 4 ranked in the low iAge score group. This shows that iAge can predict longevity quite successfully without taking chronological age into account. The researchers pointed towards the fact that centenarians show a remarkable level of immune age as compared to the control group. On average, their immune age is 40 years younger than what we would expect to be normal. They also cited an example of a 105 years old outlier man who possesses an immune system at par with a 25 years old person. Thus, biological markers provide a better picture of the health of individuals instead of the chronic age.
Age-related Diseases and Chronic Inflammation
The gold standard in the research related to anti-aging right now is multimorbidity because it is representative of the physiological damage present in a person. It is also a top priority for global health right now. That is why Sayed and her team studied if there was a correlation between multimorbidity and iAge. The researchers performed analysis on 10 physiological systems including psychiatric, cardiovascular, and cancer dysfunctions.
The iAge score increased with an increase in age-related diseases for adults older than 60. These results show that inflammation is fundamental to the process of aging as it emerges in places with higher physiological damage. The results also indicate that the inflammatory clock can be considered a metric for measuring the health of individuals because it is linked to a range of age-related diseases. The researchers further said in a news release that they identified a small immune protein that is associated with cardiac aging and chronic inflammation, along with many other metrics that predict aging. This provides an opportunity to detect dysfunction and provide a map for intervention before the pathology occurs.
Nine Hallmarks of Aging and Inflammation
iAge is certainly not the first tool attempted at determining age. Research has identified nine hallmarks of aging.
- Altered intracellular communication
- Stem cell exhaustion
- Cellular Senescence
- Mitochondrial dysfunction\
- Deregulated nutrient sensing
- Loss of proteostasis
- Epigenetic modifications
- Telomere shortening
- Genomic Instability
David Furman, one of the founders of the company utilizing iAge, said the following about hallmarks of aging, “If you’re chronically inflamed, you will have genomic instability as well as mitochondrial dysfunction and issues with protein stability. Systemic chronic inflammation triggers telomere attrition, as well as epigenetic alterations”. He further said that all of these hallmarks of aging are triggered by inflammation. That is why inflammation can be considered the 10th hallmark of aging.
The biggest advantage of using iAge over other biological clocks is that iAge can make accurate predictions. All the other hallmarks are able to explain aging but they do not make mechanisms to alert actionable predictions upon which interventions could be designed. iAge provides a mechanism where inadequate responses from the immune system in the short term raise the iAge score and thus help the doctors track the aging symptoms in the patient.
Natural Organic Substances that Lower Inflammation
Having established that lower inflammation is correlated with longevity and better health, it is important to look at the substances that can help lower inflammation naturally. There are many foods that can help you lower inflammation such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
Other than that, fatty fish, avocados, broccoli, peppers, green tea, and mushrooms were also identified as foods that help lower inflammation in the body. All of these foods contain substances that have anti-inflammatory properties.
However, the problem with eating these types of foods is that the anti-inflammatory substances are present in small amounts, and to have any real benefits, you would have to eat massive amounts of these foods.
Scientists have identified resveratrol as a substance found in most anti-inflammatory foods. This organic substance is available in supplement form and can be vastly helpful in lowering inflammation in the body. Many studies have identified its anti-inflammatory properties.
Resveratrol Supplements Available in the Market
Since there are a large number of resveratrol supplements in the market, it is important to look at the ones that are more prominent and likely to be beneficial for you. Following is a small list of supplements that can help you buy good quality Resveratrol to help lower your inflammation and improve your health span.
LIPO Resveratrol – Powdered Liposomal Resveratrol Capsules
The first product on the list is LIPO Resveratrol from a leading anti-aging brand Alive by Science. The company is famous for its liposomal supplements in the anti-aging niche. The liposomal delivery method used by a number of products of this company is a revolutionary method where the active ingredient is kept safe from the highly acidic environment of the stomach with the help of liposomal coating. The ingredient is delivered directly to the cell with the help of the bloodstream. This way, the ingredient, in this case, resveratrol, is much more bioavailable than traditional delivery methods.
LIPO Resveratrol comes in a 90 capsules bottle where each capsule contains a high concentrated dose of 125 mg of resveratrol. The cost of each bottle is $41.95. The product page also emphasizes the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of the supplements. In addition, the product page also provides a third-party certificate for three tests, indicating that the product has gone through acceptance testing, product assurance testing, and stability testing.
Resveratrol by Toniiq
The second product on the list is Resveratrol by Toniiq. The product comes in a 60-capsule bottle costing $19.97 with 600 mg of resveratrol in each capsule. The product page does not have any third-party test certificates while the company claims that the product has been tested on its own. It is important to note here that the cost of this product is significantly lesser than the first one, probably because it does not employ the liposomal delivery method discussed above.
Pure Trans-Resveratrol Powder with Natural Vitamin E
The last product on the list is Resveratrol with Vitamin E by Micro Ingredients. This product contains a blend of resveratrol and Vitamin E both. The supplement comes in powder form where each packet comes in 5 oz (142 g) of resveratrol and vitamin E. The cost of each packet is $23.95. The product page does not specify the ratio of resveratrol and vitamin E. Many users have voiced this concern in comments. However, upon investigation, it has been revealed that the product contains 284 mg of resveratrol per serving of 500 mg. The product is not based on liposomal technology. Considering the low amount of resveratrol, the cost of the product seems high. However, if you also take vitamins regularly, this can be a good choice for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following is a list of most frequently asked questions about resveratrol.
1. Is resveratrol safe for consumption?
Many studies have identified resveratrol as a safe substance for majority of adults. However, it is important to consult with your doctor if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Also, women with conditions where estrogen sensitivity is reported should not take resveratrol.
2. What is the recommended dosage for resveratrol?
The correct doses for resveratrol would be different for different people, depending upon the reason behind their consumption. Many studies have found that it is perfectly safe to consume resveratrol even in high doses. One such study confirmed that when taken in lower amounts, resveratrol can help main health whereas high doses can even kill tumor cells while also help getting rid of the unwanted healthy cells in the body.
3. Are there any side effects of taking resveratrol supplements?
Studies have shown that people taking resveratrol in low doses (up to daily dose of 500 mg) showed no side effects. However, people who took a higher dose (1000 mg or above everyday) showed some mild to moderate side effects such as flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.