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By Christopher Campbell | Unsplash
By Christopher Campbell | Unsplash

This Test Will Tell You How Well You're Really Aging

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 4 April 2017

Everybody wants to stay youthful for as long as humanly possible, but the cosmetic signs of aging aren’t necessarily a reliable indicator of how well you’re faring on a cellular level. Enter TeloYears, a simple DNA test that aims to reveal how fast you’re actually aging compared to your peers.

The convergence of health and technology has birthed a slew of companies that provide fascinating insights into your biology, from the diseases you’re genetically predisposed to develop, to the diet and fitness approach best suited to your individual constitution.

Founded by the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, TeloYears focuses on examining the length of your telomeres—the protective caps on the end of your DNA strands which tend to fray and shrink with age. Each year your cells must divide and reproduce in order to replace worn-out ones, enabling healing and growth. Your telomeres bear the brunt of this process, depleting with each renewal as they work to protect your DNA.

While telomere length is certainly connected to aging, studies examining its association with overall health have had contradictory findings, with some linking telomere shortening to earlier disease onset and decreased lifespan and others finding no correlation between telomere length and mortality risk whatsoever.

The TeloYears test is based on the research that suggests telomere shortening can be reversed. Unlike ancestry-based health tests like 23andme, that outline factors like your carrier-risk status, the data from Teloyears is actionable.

“One of the most frequent misunderstandings is that telomere length is fixed,” explains Dr. Douglas Harrington, clinical director of the lab for TeloYears. “Telomeres are dynamic and change over time, and since telomere length can be affected by many contributing factors, TeloYears results can inspire positive lifestyle changes.”

With the right improvements you can begin to rebuild your telomere length, potentially slowing down and even reversing the aging process on a cellular level.

Many of TeloYear’s recommended healthy lifestyle tweaks are the same science-backed tips we’ve all heard (and maybe ignored) before, but perhaps being faced with the stark reality of our so-called cellular age (and, let’s face it, the associated repercussions for our appearance) will be the incentive needed to actually implement them this time.