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By Kelley Herring

It is common knowledge that the lifestyle choices you make – from the foods you eat (and those you avoid) to the frequency and intensity of your exercise, and dozens of other factors – play a significant role in how long and how well you live.

It is also well understood that your genes play a role in your “healthspan” (how long you stay healthy) and your lifespan (how long you live).

However, outside of very rare genetic mutations that make deformity and disease inevitable… your genes are NOT the “fixed-and-final” forces many people believe them to be. In fact, the growing field of epigenetics demonstrates that you are able to turn your genes on and off, based on a wide variety of environmental and lifestyle influences that are well within your control.

And in today’s article, we highlight a recent study, published in the journal Aging, which set out to determine which specific lifestyle interventions can reduce your epigenetic age.

 

Improve Your Lifestyle: Reduce Your Epigenetic Age


In this eight-week, randomized trial, the researchers recruited 43 healthy white and Asian males between 50 and 72 years of age. The subjects were divided into one treatment group and one control group.

The treatment group followed what most of us would consider a “Paleo Diet” template. Their diet was restricted in carbohydrates and avoided grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and unhealthy oils. It also included daily animal protein, liver, and eggs.

These foods were specifically selected for the co-factors they offer to methylation – the important biochemical process that impacts detoxification, DNA repair, and more. 

In addition, the diet also offered a range of nutrients and co-factors from whole foods including alpha-ketoglutarate, vitamin C, vitamin A, curcumin, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), betaine, rosmarinicacid, quercetin, and luteolin.  

The treatment group also participated in mild intermittent fasting.

At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that the group which followed the dietary intervention described above enjoyed a 3.23-year decrease in epigenetic age, compared to the control group. These subjects also experienced an increase in folate levels and a reduction in triglycerides.

This new study also produced more than twice the decrease in aging compared to a previous year-long study, which attempted to demonstrate the anti-aging effect of following a Mediterranean diet.

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The Epigenetic Diet & Lifestyle Protocol to Turn Back Time


Here’s a breakdown of the protocol, including diet and lifestyle interventions:

Animal Foods

3 ounces liver / 3 times weekly
5-10 eggs per week
6 ounces of animal protein per day (grass-fed, organic, and hormone / antibiotic-free)

 

Vegetables

2 cups dark leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, dandelion, and mustard greens)
2 cups cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
3 cups colorful vegetables (no potatoes or corn)
1-2 medium-sized beets

 

Fruit

2 servings of low-glycemic fruit 

 

Nuts, Seeds, and Oils

4 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
4 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
Coconut, olive, flax, and pumpkin seed oils for cooking and drizzling

 

Methylation Adaptogens

1 serving methylation adaptogens per day, including ½ cup berries, ½ tsp rosemary, ½ tsp turmeric, 2 cloves garlic, 2 cups green tea or 3 cups oolong tea

 

Avoid

Sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, plastic food containers 

 

Mild Intermittent Fasting

Eating window between 7 AM and 7 PM. No eating outside these hours.

 

Supplements & Probiotics

Only minimal supplements were allowed. High-dose multivitamin/mineral products are not allowed, due to the potential long-term risks related to cancer. Fish oil (up to 1 gram/day), vitamin D (up to 6,000 IU/day), vitamin C (up to 1g/day), and vitamin E (up to 400 IU/day) were permitted, but not recommended or prescribed.
Subjects were also given a fruit and vegetable powder, as well as 40 million CFU of L. plantarum – a folate-producing probiotic.

 

Exercise

30 minutes of exercise per day for at least 5 days a week (intensity of 60-80% maximum perceived exertion).

 

Sleep

Minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night.

 

Breathing

Breathing exercise Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response by Herbert Brenson, MD, twice daily.
 

 

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To Improve Your Longevity, Eat the Way Mother Nature Intended


We’ve long known that eating a diet outside of our evolutionary context can have disastrous consequences on our health and lifespan. The Standard American Diet of grains, unhealthy oils, and processed foods set off a biochemical chain of events that leads to inflammation, aging, and disease.

However, by living and eating the way Mother Nature intended – like the reduced carbohydrate, Paleo template diet in the study above – you can optimize your genes to slow the aging process and ward off disease, for years to come!


 

kelley herring

Kelley Herring

Love comfort foods, but not the carbs? Check out Kelley’s FREE new book – Carb Lover’s Keto – with 100 recipes for all of your favorite comfort foods. From Chicken Parmigiana and Coconut Shrimp to Buffalo Wings and Pizza. Discover how you can indulge – 100% guilt free!


References

[1] Fitzgerald KN, Hodges R, Hanes D, Stack E, Cheishvili D, Szyf M, Henkel J, Twedt MW, Giannopoulou D, Herdell J, Logan S, Bradley R. Potential reversal of epigenetic age using a diet and lifestyle intervention: a pilot randomized clinical trial. Aging (Albany NY). 2021; 13:9419-9432. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202913. 

[2] Gensous N, Garagnani P, Santoro A, Giuliani C, Ostan R, Fabbri C, Milazzo M, Gentilini D, di Blasio AM, Pietruszka B, Madej D, Bialecka-Debek A, Brzozowska A, Franceschi C, Bacalini MG. One-year Mediterranean diet promotes epigenetic rejuvenation with country- and sex-specific effects: a pilot study from the NU-AGE project. Geroscience. 2020 Apr;42(2):687-701. doi: 10.1007/s11357-019-00149-0. Epub 2020 Jan 24. PMID: 31981007; PMCID: PMC7205853. 

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