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The Epigenetics of Your RealAge: Predicting Cancer Risk

The Epigenetics of Your RealAge: Predicting Cancer Risk

Jane Fonda, 78, may appear to have found the Fountain of Youth -- but we think she owes her amazing vitality to a lifelong regimen of exercise and a great attitude: “We need to revise how we think of aging,” says Fonda. “The old paradigm was: You’re born, you peak at midlife, and then you decline into decrepitude. Looking at aging as ascending a staircase, you gain well-being, spirit, soul, wisdom…”

A study from Northwestern University agrees: You can make your Real Epigenetic Age a lot younger than your chronological age by making smart choices. You see, the way genes are turned on and off (that’s epigenetics) can be modified for good or bad by your exposure to toxins; chronic stress responses; weight; exercise; diet, etc.

The researchers measured 71 DNA methylation markers (molecules that make genes more or less receptive to biochemical signals and determine your epigenetic age) of 442 people from 1999- 2013. They then determined that for every year your epigenetic age is older than your chronological age the risk of getting cancer within three years goes up 6 percent and your risk of death from cancer within five years goes up 17 percent. 

The blood test for your epigenetic age isn’t available just yet. But you can figure out your RealAge and find out how to make it younger than your chronological age. Hint: Ditch the Five Food Felons, walk 10,000 steps daily, sleep 7-9 hours nightly, and meditate 10 minutes a day. You’ll be fonda the results!

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