Why Doesn’t SpectraCell Put Biological Age on the Telomere Report?

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Why Doesn’t SpectraCell Put Biological Age on the Telomere Report?

Short Answer:  Telomere length is only one of many physiological factors that affect biological age.  Other factors that affect cellular aging include levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial function, epigenetics, metabolic efficiency and more.  To reduce biological age to just telomere length is somewhat misleading.  Although it is a good marketing tactic, reporting a biological age based solely on telomere length is a gross oversimplification of cell physiology.  SpectraCell chooses to err on the side of scientific validity so we do not include biological age on telomere reports.

Long Answer:   That said, there is a way to extrapolate your telomere score to get a general sense of your biological age range.  Where your telomere score intersects with the reference population (the black line on the telomere graph) is approximately the range your biological age would fall.  However, there is one big caveat worth noting.  When the telomere score is either very good (top quartile) or very poor (lower quartile), you lose the ability to infer a biological age range because the reference population is smaller.

What is the difference between chronological and biological age?

Chronological age is simply the age in years a person is depending on the date they were born.   If you were born in 1950 and it is currently 2023, your chronological age is 73, give or take a few months depending on the actual day of the year.  We intuitively know our chronological age.  This is what appears on our driver’s license and what we tell people when they ask us “how old are you?”

Of course, we all know there are some people who seem to appear or feel older than their chronological age and those who seem to look and feel younger.   If you could look inside their cells, you might find they are, in fact, “younger” or “older” than their chronological age.   They would have a different “biological” age, if you were to physically quantify their internal age.   Biological age is the age at which a person’s cells are compared to either a reference population in their same chronological age group, or the age at which their cells function, from a biological perspective.

Put simply, a person born in 1980 has a chronological age of 43 in the year 2023.   But if that person has telomeres that are longer (meaning healthier) than the average 43-year-old, then their biological age would be younger – perhaps 30-35 years old.   Conversely, if their telomeres are much shorter than a typical 43-year-old’s telomeres, for whatever reason (smoking, obesity, stress, genetics, etc.), then their biological age may be higher – perhaps 50-55 years old.  

However, as mentioned above, many factors besides telomeres go into a person’s biological age, so it is not possible to accurately calculate a true biological age, strictly speaking, from just telomere length.  But in general, you want your biological age to be less than your chronological age.  That would mean that, at the cellular level (which is where it matters) you are aging well.   This would manifest as vigor, health and wellness well into chronologically advanced years.

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