My recent bloodwork revealed my biological age… I definitely feel younger than my chronological age, but I wasn’t sure if my head was on the same page as my body. I was happy to find out that I’m 5 years younger! YAY!!! So does that mean I can answer 43 now? Ha!
Regular blood testing and recalibrating your body is crucial for achieving optimal longevity and well-being. Why do I get regular testing done? Blood biomarkers are objective indicators of your health status that can fluctuate over time in response to lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress response, and sleep quality. Some specific blood biomarkers are particularly linked to the aging process, and it's essential to monitor these closely to ensure you maintain a healthy and youthful body. At Body Tonic, we look at 5 key factors as a basis of your health and longevity. Here’s a breakdown of what they are and why we analyze these important markers.
1. Vitamin D
Optimizing vitamin D levels can provide a range of benefits for overall health and longevity. Vitamin D helps boost the immune system, which can help fight off infections, illnesses, and inflammation. As we age, our immune system naturally weakens, but maintaining optimal vitamin D levels can slow this decline and help preserve immune function.
In addition to immune support, vitamin D has been shown to directly impact muscle health. It can increase protein synthesis and muscle mass while reducing muscle fiber breakdown, leading to greater strength and physical function. Vitamin D can also help maintain healthy testosterone levels, which is important for muscle mass, strength, and red blood cell production, particularly in aging males.
Vitamin D supplementation has also been linked to improved cholesterol levels, including reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Additionally, vitamin D may improve sleep quality, as low vitamin D levels have been associated with less efficient and restful sleep.
Overall, optimizing vitamin D levels can have a wide range of health benefits, including improved immune function, muscle health, hormone balance, cholesterol levels, and sleep quality, which can all contribute to a longer and healthier life.
hsCRP is a broad indicator of inflammation that can serve as a sign of aging. Inflammation is a natural response that occurs in the body to protect against injury, damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens. It plays a crucial role in preserving immune system function and heart health, helping to maintain overall well-being. However, excessive or prolonged inflammation can be harmful to health and lead to various health problems.
The presence of long-term inflammation has been linked to age-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, although the specific mechanisms behind this association are still being studied. When the heart is under stress, it can trigger an inflammatory response, which can lead to further health issues. It is also known that internal inflammation is linked to oxidative stress and accelerated aging. Therefore, managing inflammation should be a priority, as high levels of hsCRP, a general marker of inflammation, can increase the risk of illness.
In addition to its impact on heart health, high inflammation levels have been associated with an increased risk of developing age-related conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. By keeping inflammation levels in check, individuals may be able to extend the number of disease-free years they experience throughout their lives, contributing not only to longevity but also to a longer healthspan that preserves overall physical, biological, and mental health as they age.
3. Blood glucose + HbA1c
When you fast for at least 12 hours, the level of glucose in your blood is known as fasting blood glucose. While glucose levels tend to vary throughout the day, particularly after meals, elevated levels of fasting glucose may suggest a problem with the body's glucose processing. Failure to utilize glucose immediately may cause it to combine with hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a measurement of the average glucose level in your blood over the last 90-120 days. Optimizing blood sugar markers can offer several advantages.
Regulating glucose levels is crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism as it serves as the primary source of energy for the body. The process of metabolism is the conversion of calories from food into energy. When glucose levels remain high, it can negatively impact metabolism. Impaired insulin, which helps to maintain blood sugar levels, is associated with poor sleep, especially when sleep is lost or deprived. As a result, morning blood glucose levels can increase. However, for individuals who have experienced chronic sleep deprivation, getting more sleep can help improve blood sugar levels. Additionally, research and customer data reveal that glucose regulation may decline with age. A strong correlation exists between age and blood glucose, with lower glucose levels associated with younger age and vice versa. Maintaining optimized HbA1c levels is associated with optimal glucose levels and increased longevity.
4. Low LDL to HDL ratio
A low LDL to HDL ratio is an important biomarker for longevity because it is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other age-related chronic diseases. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol because high levels of LDL can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is often called "good" cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from the bloodstream, reducing the risk of these diseases.
A high LDL to HDL ratio is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other age-related chronic diseases, while a low ratio is associated with a reduced risk. Moreover, research suggests that a low LDL to HDL ratio is also associated with a longer lifespan, which is likely due to the protective effects of HDL against cardiovascular disease and other age-related illnesses. Therefore, maintaining a low LDL to HDL ratio is an essential biomarker for healthy aging and longevity.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that exists in the bloodstream and serves as the primary storage form of fat in the body. The body stores excess energy in the form of triglycerides. Although glucose serves as the body's primary source of fuel, triglycerides are utilized for energy during fasting periods or between meals. Consuming more calories than the body burns, especially calories from simple carbohydrates and saturated fat, can lead to higher levels of triglycerides than optimal.
While maintaining some fat stores is necessary, high levels of triglycerides in the blood increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which thickens the walls of arteries, and high blood pressure, which negatively impacts heart health. Dyslipidemia, which is the elevation of triglyceride or cholesterol levels, is linked to various age-related diseases. Maintaining optimal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol as you age can promote quality of life and preserve your ability to perform daily activities. Therefore, it is essential to maintain optimal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, not too high or too low, to promote longevity, heart health, and overall well-being.
What do we do with this information?
A lot. If you are interested in learning more about your health and how you can improve your quality of life, call us to schedule your wellness appointment. We will get your labs ordered, help you understand where you are at, how you can improve, and measures you can take to correct any course that is veering off path. At Body Tonic, we care about the comprehensive approach to your health and beauty. Let us help you achieve the very best of yourself!