A Vegan Diet Lowers "Biological/Epigenetic Age" In Just 8 Weeks

There are hundreds of research studies identifying the benefits of a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet. The holy grail would be if a WFPB diet actually slowed or reversed aging. New science has been published that suggests this may be the case and in only 8 weeks. The research study is featured in a new 4 part series on Netflix called "You Are What You Eat".

THE STUDY

Geroscience has emerged as a field focusing on interventions to attenuate molecular changes associated with aging. While lifestyle modifications, medications, and social factors are recognized influencers of the aging process, a comprehensive understanding of the intricate molecular mechanisms necessitates an in-depth exploration of the epigenetic landscape. Notably, the specific epigenetic clock and predictor effects of a vegan diet, compared to an omnivorous counterpart, remain inadequately explored, despite indications of potential impacts on aging-related outcomes.

This study addresses this knowledge gap by examining the impact of an eight-week entirely plant-based or healthy omnivorous diet on blood DNA methylation in paired twins.

Results show distinct responses, with the vegan cohort solely exhibiting significant decreases in overall epigenetic age acceleration (PC GrimAge, PC PhenoAge, DunedinPACE), including among specific systems (Inflammation, Heart, Hormone, Liver, and Metabolic), aligning with anti-aging effects of plant-based diets.

Analyses of methylation surrogates of clinical, metabolite, and protein markers indicate diet-specific shifts, while exemplifying DNA methylation markers in predicting complex traits influenced by diet. Comprehensive epigenome-wide analysis unveils diet-specific differentially methylated loci, offering insights into influenced pathways.

CONCLUSIONS

This study sheds light on the advantageous aging benefits of a healthy vegan diet, while providing a foundation for future personalized interventions using epigenetic age clocks in promoting overall well-being.

The authors commented:

"These groundbreaking findings underscore the potential of epigenetic clocks as real-time biomarkers, offering valuable insights into physiological changes, exemplified by weight loss in this study," explains Dr. Lucia Aronica of Stanford University.

According to  Varun Dwaraka, PhD of TruDiagnostic, the test chosen for age assessment: "The fact that there was a significant decrease in multiple biological age clocks within eight weeks in the vegan diet is encouraging for short term diet application, and highlights the sensitivity of this test in nutrition."

Author
Dr. Joel Kahn

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