Biomarkers: An Introduction To An Exhaustive Review

Nearly 20 years ago, researchers William Evens, PhD & Irwin H. Rosenberg, M.D. wrote Biomarkers: The 10 Keys to Prolonging Vitality.  Biomarkers tell you your “biological age”…how old you are, if you didn’t know how old you are.  The negative changes to these biomarkers, the researchers argued, are what was responsible for the frailty that comes with aging. These biomarkers are:

1)      Muscle Mass
2)      Strength
3)      Basal Metabolic Rate
4)      Body Fat Percentage
5)      Aerobic Capacity
6)      Blood-sugar Tolerance
7)      Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
8 )      Blood Pressure
9)      Bone density
10)   Ability to regulate Internal Temperature

From this list, the researchers coined the term “sarcopenia” to describe the inactivity-mediated muscle loss that comes when we start to voluntarily “slow down” due to age. As a result, the researchers showed in a landmark study that strength training had the largest impact, positively influencing all 10 biomarkers listed above.

And yet we still find ourselves looking for pharmaceutical interventions to problems that can be solved with a little elbow grease. That’s not to say that there aren’t pathological reasons for a pharmaceutical solution, after all we had a reason to move beyond herbs and other remedies. However if lack of strength feeds forward into a reduction of movement, which feeds forward into dementia or type-II diabetes…it seems to me that this should be job 1 of any healthcare intervention.

So what I’d like to do with this series is take a look at each biomarker and explore the literature that supports (and possibly refutes) the idea that these most directly link to area on the the curve longevity. There has been more studies than you can shake a stick at in the past 20 years on these topics and our aged population that a review is in order. Also I’d like to propose 2 new biomarkers that I feel should be included in the discussion for how to measure age, but also interventions to prevent the unnecessary ravages of age.

It should be a blast!

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10 thoughts on “Biomarkers: An Introduction To An Exhaustive Review

  1. Is biological age the same thing as metabolic age? Metabolic age has a wikipedia entry, biological age doesn’t. I’m not saying that makes one more legit than the other, but just putting that in perspective. Just curious because they sound similar, especially the first 5 aspects.

    • Ben,

      Sorry for the late reply (such is the holiday season!). Metabolic age can be wrapped up into a few of the components that are part of the biomarkers, specifically muscle, body temperature regulation, and aerobic fitness.

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