Epigenetics 101: the longevity science

By Aisha Branch, April 21, 2022

For decades, scientists have studied the secret to a longer, healthier life. Previously, we believed genetics played a major role in which diseases you would get, how healthy you would be, and ultimately, your life expectancy.

Now, scientists are changing the narrative using epigenetics, or what we like to call “Longevity Science.”

What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is one of the most revolutionary scientific discoveries of the 21st century. This science explores how genes are modified by biological and environmental conditions, or “markers.” Essentially, these “markers” tell proteins within a cell to process parts of DNA in certain ways. This process impacts how the cells behave and carry out various life functions, without actually changing the underlying DNA sequence.

Nature or nurture?

Simply put, epigenetics controls genes and can be influenced by both nature (as a fetus develops into a baby) and nurture (environmental stimuli that cause genes to be turned on or off). Whether or not you’re practicing healthy habits by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, managing your stress, getting enough sleep, or interacting with people that have a positive impact on your mental health—all of these factors can eventually cause chemical modifications around your genes that will turn those genes on or off over time.

Think of it this way, your genetics are like a movie script, while epigenetics is the director. Each actor (cell) is reading from the same script, but the director (epigenetics) tells the actor how to (or not to) act it out.

Unlike genetics, which remain fixed throughout your lifetime, epigenetic changes can occur based on a person’s environmental and lifestyle factors, such as air pollution, sun exposure, sleep, diet, exercise, emotional trauma, and tobacco use.

How lifestyle impacts longevity

At FOXO, we are focused on understanding how our everyday lifestyle choices affect our overall longevity. We believe there is a way to look from the inside out to give everyone the key to a longer, healthier life. As we study the science of longevity, we see 4 major pillars we must consider for an accurate overview of our epigenetics-based health:

  • Biological Age – How are you aging based on your epigenetic health vs your calendar age?
  • Metabolic Health
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Inflammation Levels
  • Indulgence score

Understanding your epigenetic health & lifespan

We’ve developed a longevity product that scores you in each of these areas and provides an in-depth overview of your health and wellness. Curious to know how you are aging? Sign up to get early access into what we are building and hear about the latest updates on our product launch.

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