What is Methylation Disorder and How to Heal Your Adrenal Gland Disorder with This Strategy
What is Methylation Disorder?
A new study has found a connection between patterns of DNA methylation and life span. In a study of more than 5000 people for as long as 14 years, researchers have discovered that patterns of methylation – or methylation disorder – may offer insight into a person’s life expectancy.
These findings identify a new indicator of aging, which improves the accuracy of estimating lifespan beyond predictions based on such factors as smoking, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, according to senior author Ian Deary, University of Edinburgh researcher.
The study is published in the January 30, 2015 issue of Genome Biology. The study used two methods of comparing chronological age with DNA methylation to determine longevity. The researchers discovered that DNA methylation that appeared five years or more older than the individual’s chronological age increased the risk of premature death by about 16%.
We can think of DNA methylation as a sort of epigenetic clock that measures biological age which may not always match chronological age, and may provide information on life expectancy. The results suggest that epigenetic markers, including DNA methylation, work much like other complex traits in that they are affected by hereditary and environmental factors, and linked to health outcomes.
It is important to not to confuse the correlation between DNA methylation disorder and mortality with the suggestion that DNA methylation causes early mortality. It is possible that factors contributing to DNA methylation may also increase the risk of mortality, in which case these factors could be the reason DNA methylation is linked to mortality. For example, if some disease such as diabetes, changes the patterns of DNA methylation, as well as increasing the risk of premature death, this could explain the association.
The aging process changes the body on a molecular level. Further research is needed to identify new biomarkers that may indicate more or less rapid aging on which predictive tests can be developed.
Dr. Lam’s Perspective on Methylation Disorder
There are a great many effects of, and contributors to the aging process. Many of the consequences of daily living, such as increased stimulant use and stress at work are known to have negative effects on health and longevity. Often these effects become apparent when the body begins to break down with afflictions such as metabolic diseases or adrenal gland disorder.
The finding that DNA methylation is linked to mortality is a very interesting correlation, but by itself is only a pointer in the direction research should be done, and not alone useful clinical sign. We have to match it with the benchmarks of aging and health we do understand at our current level of knowledge. Adrenal gland disorder or metabolic disruptions are more useful to us now because we understand they indicate certain causes or underlying conditions and give us insight into the body’s health.
A useful perspective to understand how stress is connected to symptoms throughout the body is via the neuroendometabolic (NEM) model of stress response. The NEM model describes how the body’s many functional parts including metabolism, the immune system, and hormone systems are all involved in the reaction to stress, and therefore signs of wear in different systems and parts of the body may point to a history of dealing with stress.
Chronic stress, as seen in adrenal fatigue, could prove destructive with regard to DNA methylation. When stress occurs, our body automatically defends itself with the NEM system. With chronic and prolonged periods of stress – as in adrenal fatigue – the body’s NEM becomes dysregulated and can actually cause weakness and a myriad of negative consequences. Based on this new research, one of these effects could include cellular damage. This new measure of aging is especially important to those suffering from adrenal fatigue because recovery could have a positive effect not only on health but our DNA structure and life expectancy.
As more research is done in health and physiology, and a lot more needs to be done, we will begin to understand more about DNA methylation and other physiological markers; whether they are causes, or if they are merely symptoms of the factors that cause us to age and our bodies to deteriorate more rapidly.
Source: Riccardo E Marioni, Sonia Shah, Allan F McRae, Brian H Chen, et al. “DNA methylation age of blood predicts all-cause mortality in later life.” Genome Biology 2015, 16:25, 30 January 2015.