Last Updated on April 16, 2020
People often wonder how much of aging is genetic, and what determines the rate of aging. Generally speaking, many people will look like their parents as they age when it comes to skin and features (barring any unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as sun exposure, alcohol use, and smoking), but that only refers to genes responsible for aging that are skin-deep. There are other genetic factors that contribute to aging that are important to note. While these are only theories, they are science-backed and contain interesting information about possible outcomes. Read on to learn about how much of aging is genetic and more about these different theories.
How Much of Aging Is Genetic: Is Aging Mostly Genetic?
While there are many aging theories, the general consensus is that aging is mostly genetic. There are many individual theories under the umbrella of the genetic aging theory, which claims that our lifespan (our entire life) is essentially predetermined by the genes that we’ve inherited. This theory is backed by science, saying that the DNA that occurs at the end of chromosomes determine the lifespan of a cell. These segments are called telomeres, and scientists say these are the key to determining how much of aging is genetic. Over the lifespan, they divide, and at some point, they can no longer divide, which accounts for aging. There is no one “aging gene,” however, these pieces of DNA occur in every chromosome.
How Much of Aging Is Genetic: Causes of Aging
Under the primary genetic aging theory are many subtheories that are meant to determine the root cause of aging. If you are wondering, “how do genetics affect aging,” these theories try to answer that question. This is where scientists and researchers differ greatly on the cause. Some say that aging is actually an “accident,” while other scientists say it is an intentional phase that the body travels through, such as puberty. “Accidental” theories include the wear and tear theory, the rate of living theory, and the free radical theory, while more intentional theories include the programmed longevity theory and the endocrine theory. All of these theories try to explain how much of aging is genetic. However, no one theory has entirely been proven to be correct.
How Much of Aging Is Genetic: Anti-Aging Gene Therapy
Because of the research performed on genetics and aging, there have been several initial studies, including one at Harvard University, to see if aging can be reversible by using anti-aging gene therapy. One study, led by synthetic biologist Dr. George Church, combined gene therapies into a vaccine-like shot. The initial test was only performed on mice, followed by dogs. Some test results were inconclusive, while others brought hope that eventually, aging can be reversed.
How Much of Aging Is Genetic: Your Skin
There is a separate issue when it comes to aging, and that is the issue of your skin. Generally speaking, if you’re female, you’ll likely age like your mother, and if you’re male, you’ll age like your father, but proper skincare is a must because there are other factors than just genetics that come into play with your skin and how it ages. As you age, make sure that you:
- Don’t smoke.
- Minimize sun exposure and always wear sunscreen.
- Don’t constantly try new diets (this takes a toll on your skin).
- Don’t consume too much alcohol or caffeine (this dehydrates).
- Minimize stress.
- Eat a healthy diet and meal plan.
- Moisturize and adopt a skincare routine.
Not following proper skincare can override genetics and force your skin to age faster than it should, so it’s important to keep this advice in mind.
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