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Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
Why You Should Pay Attention to Biomarkers for Longevity
Measuring biomarkers for longevity associated with healthy aging is an important strategy for combating the diseases of aging.
Biomarkers for longevity are important because they can detect a problem well in advance of symptoms, so you can correct the problem before it becomes a serious disease.
It’s getting a handle on how your body is functioning beneath the surface.
Which biomarkers are the most beneficial, and how can they help you live a longer and healthier life?
While not comprehensive, here are some of the most important blood tests and how they can help you.
How the Biomarkers for Longevity Can Help with Healthy Aging
1. C-Reactive Protein
CRP is a protein made by your liver, and it’s a broad measure of inflammation in your body.
The reason this is a good biomarker for longevity is because keeping your CRP levels low can reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Fortunately, you can lower your CRP with diet and supplements.
High homocysteine levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and also contribute to the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
If your blood test shows too much homocysteine, it can also make the complications of diabetes worse.
Supplementing with Vitamins B2, B6, Folate, and B12 may reduce your homocysteine levels.
Fasting insulin levels can help determine insulin resistance, and people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance may have elevated fasting insulin levels. Low fasting insulin levels may be indicative of type 1 diabetes.
During insulin resistance, insulin does not facilitate getting glucose into the tissues and cells, resulting in high blood glucose.
Consistently elevated fasting glucose levels increase heart attack risk. With age, fasting glucose levels tend to rise due to a decline in insulin sensitivity. So it’s important to monitor this biomarker for longevity. You have a number of options for lowering fasting glucose levels that you can discuss with your physician.
5. Hemoglobin A1C
Hemoglobin A1C testing can provide a better picture of your blood glucose levels over a period of months than a simple blood glucose test. Hemoglobin A1C can tell you if you’re at risk for diabetes.
Measuring hemoglobin A1C can give you a good idea of how much glycation is occurring in your body.
And glycation is the creation of nonfunctional proteins that have reacted with serum glucose.
Women – Progesterone
Women must maintain the proper balance of progesterone and estrogen to help balance blood sugar levels, increase bone mass, lessen anxiety, and contribute to healthy sleep.
In addition to the reason above, annual blood testing for progesterone may predict other potential health problems associated with improper progesterone levels, including osteoporosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and cancer.
Men – Free and total testosterone
Men’s testosterone levels fall gradually after age 30.
Low testosterone levels are associated with depression, muscle atrophy, increased fat mass, heart disease, and decreased libido.
Even if your testosterone levels come back low in your annual blood testing, your physician will probably not prescribe testosterone replacement unless you’re having symptoms.
You may want to explore boosting your testosterone levels naturally.
7. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is extremely important for your immune system, as well as healthy teeth, bone density, a healthy heart, and cognitive function.
If your annual blood testing shows your vitamin D levels are low, this is an easy one to supplement to make sure your blood levels are optimal.
You can find inexpensive vitamin D supplements at the health food store or drugstore. It’s also easy to add to your diet with foods like salmon, tuna, egg yolks, and many fortified foods.
In addition to supplementation and diet, 30 minutes of sunshine generates about 10,000 IU of vitamin D in your body.
8. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB)
Apolipoprotein B is the major component of every non-HDL cholesterol in blood. It’s also integral to lipid metabolism.
Three different forms of possibly dangerous forms of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), and very low-density lipoprotein – (VLDL) are associated with the ApoB protein.
Your risk of heart attack and arterial calcification go up as your apolipoprotein B levels go up.
Measuring ApoB in your annual blood testing may be better than a standard lipid profile for predicting heart disease.
What to do Next
Unfortunately, the annual blood tests that most physicians order are not always sufficient for identifying the relevant disease risk markers that you need for healthy aging and longevity.
The good news is that you can manage much of your annual blood testing on your own at a very reasonable price.
Life Extension offers a wide array of blood tests.
You can purchase the blood tests online or over the phone. You will be mailed a doctor’s order to have your blood drawn at LabCorp.
When you get the test results, you should take them to your doctor to discuss them and have them added to your chart.
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