Issue #151: The Aging Issue

Okay, let’s be honest: the concept of “hacking your DNA” is sooner to conjure up notions of a far-off, sci-fi-esque future than it is to have you thinking about lightening up on your nightly wrinkle-reducing retinol cream application. But the fact of the matter is that you actually can hack your DNA in the not-far-off-at-all and not-very-sci-fi-esque present – it’s hardly as intense as it sounds, and really just comes down to a healthy lifestyle – and that by doing so, you can actually slow down your body’s aging process.

So what are a few things you can do to hack your DNA and prolong your youthful years, you wonder? Here, Ira S. Pastor, the CEO of biotech company Bioquark, offers up a few of the top tips to achieve some body-wide “youthfulness” hacking:

Exercise more.

For starters, exercise helps extend lifespan in the obvious ways, namely that it reduces blood pressure, blood lipids and glucose, reducing body fat, and determining gene expression. But then there’s a psychological side to the equation as well, since exercise will boost your positive mindset, and that can extend youthfulness.

“Psychobiologic benefits have to do with an increasing amount of evidence in the neuroscience literature on how positive thoughts can impact “downstream” physical and chemical manifestations,” says Pastor. “The brain, its respective signals, and its connection to the many other systems within the human body can stimulate positive alterations to our organs, tissues, cells, and even the level of DNA.”

Plan your diet accordingly.

A healthy diet is crucial regardless of what your wellness goals may be, but when it comes to relying on your diet to boost your youthfulness, Pastor says it’s all about taking that “evolutionary” approach. “Even though we are humans, and we possess a human genome, our genome contains the evolutionary past of all species that came before us,” he says. “Every disease that is responsible for the degeneration and death of human beings has some particular genetic property from the evolutionary past, which was a benefit to another species’ survival.” To that end, Pastor says that focusing on the usual dietary recommendations – less sugar and fewer inflammation-causing foods like dairy and red meat, for example – can go a long way when it comes to extending your youthfulness.

Embrace randomness.

Okay, so here’s where a little bit of a twist comes in. Though you should be exercising and dieting regularly, it’s also important to throw your body for a loop every now and then by deviating from your usual routine. “Varying diet and exercise routine, and occasionally fluctuating dose levels of supplements so that the body never gets ‘stale’ and so the core biologic regulatory states of your cells, tissues, or organs ‘learn’ to deal with natural fluctuations when they do occur in your life, is extremely important,” says Pastor, who notes that this ultimately prepares your cells to protect themselves, or bounce back, when negative changes happen.