Stay younger for longer.
Join Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, leading voice in the intersection of nutrition, epigenetics, and aging, as she discusses her research in the realm of biological aging. She offers an inside look into the science behind aging, how DNA methylation affects biological aging, and what you can do to prolong life and prevent aging.
Listen now to start living a longer, healthier life!
Imbalanced DNA methylation is happening in many chronic, acute, and infectious diseases, blocking protective genes from turning on or expressing genes that are harmful. When you look at the impact your lifestyle choices have on DNA methylation, there are extraordinary tools that can you can use to support the right methylation through a functional medicine lens.
When Dr. Kara first started in this field of study, there was almost no evidence biological age could be reversed. However, she was confident she and her team were favorable in changing epigenetics. Looking at DNA methylation and gene expression in chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, etc, the predictable patterns of aging overlap with these diseases.
Healthy living only works when it becomes a habit, yet we underestimate the impact of accountability. Ed and Wendie encourage all their patients to see their staff nutritionist on a regular basis. Not just to learn about nutrition, but to create accountability. Knowing they’regoing to be talking to someone about your diet and nutrition helps keep their patients on track. Dr. Kara implements a similar strategy in her practice and she’s never once had a patient express that working with a nutritionist was a waste of their time.
There’s also a huge distinction between small bursts of stress, such as the stress before an exam or from exercise, and chronic stress. Short instances of stress can actually be very strengthening and empowering. But chronic stress is profoundly aging and one of the biggest variables impacting our day-to-day lives. In fact, 25% of the Multi-Tissue Age Predictor developed by S. Horvath to estimate DNA methylation age is influenced by the stress response. Stress is a huge issue many people aren’t receptive to talking about. But it’s physiologically incredibly toxic and we need to have that conversation.
We know that we can change gene expression relatively quickly. In some instances, such as exposure to pollution, this change can happen in a matter of a few hours. We can also see how a single exercise or mediation event can favorably change gene expression. So the more you practice a habit, the more likely you are to spread that expression to generations of cells.
Pets, diet, lifestyle, and community, can all prolong longevity. Professionals also recommend a minimum of seven hours of sleep per day, so going to bed on time to get sufficient sleep is very important. It’s extraordinary how beneficial exercise is to prolonging life and preventing disease.
Listen now to learn how to prolong life and minimize aging!
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, IFMCP, is the first-ever recipient of the Emerging Leadership Award from the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute in recognition of her work on DNA methylation. As a leading voice in the intersection of nutrition, epigenetics, and aging, her work has been featured in media outlets such as Prevention, Fast Company, MSN, Everyday Health, and many more. Receiving her doctorate from National University of Natural Medicine, she is on the faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and is an IFM Certified Practitioner with a clinical practice in Newtown, Connecticut.
RadioLab Episode: Inheritance: https://radiolab.org/episodes/inheritance-2204